Festival Opening

2018 Edition > Music > festival opening
The Royal Concert of the Night
The Birth of the Sun King – World première

A modern re-construction of a lost masterpiece by Ensemble Correspondances

Schedule and venues
6 May 2017, 8:00pm
$580 / $460 / $340 / $240

“Daucé has intelligently reworked incomplete sketches made 40 years after the work’s performance, interpolating some passages from Francesco Cavalli and others, all sung and played with tremendous verve by the suave singers and players of the Ensemble Correspondances” The Guardian

A mixed media live concert rediscovering the Sun King’s first ballet

At the age of 15, His Majesty Louis XIV – France’s Louis the Great or Sun King (1638–1715) – danced to this magnificent piece in the Salle du Petit-Bourbon at Paris’ Louvre Palace. Based on the idea of a ballet within a ballet, the event lasted for 12 hours. Through five ‘dreams,’ the whole universe of the night is rolled out until dawn, before announcing the unequalled glimmer of the Sun King.

The best artists at the time from France and Italy were commissioned by Cardinal-Duke Mazarin (only recently appointed Louis’ Chief Minister) to create a unique piece to glorify young Louis’ transformation into ‘Sun King’ and in boasting of the superior status of the French Monarchy, the event acted as a political statement. With this ‘Concert’ the dazzling artistic cultural policy of the “century of Louis XIV” was launched.

The première was such a success that seven repeat performances had to be given and its reputation was firmly engraved in popular memory during Louis XIV’s entire 72-year reign. However, the score was only partly transcribed and then only 50 years later by the King’s librarian, who left the largest part of the ballet’s music unknown to future generations.  Now, nearly 400 years later, the music has been rediscovered by Ensemble Correspondances’ artistic director and conductor Sébastien Daucé, who has re-constructed the piece after three years of research and reconstruction. The ballet’s modern revival was widely celebrated in 2015 at the Festival de Saintes and at the Royal Opera of Versailles when the ‘lost’ ballet was brought back to life.

Especially for Le French May Arts Festival, Daucé has commissioned French video artist Etienne Guiol to create a video projection based on the iconography of costumes, marquetry from the 17th century and today, enabling us to travel back in time to one of the most marvellous spectacles of King Louis XIV’s reign.


Jean de Cambefort (c. 1605–1661)
Antoine Boesset (1587–1643)
Louis Constantin (1585–1657)
Michel Lambert (1610–1696)
Francesco Cavalli (1602–1676)
Luigi Rossi (1597–1653)

Ensemble Correspondances
Sébastien Daucé musical reconstruction & direction
Etienne Guiol motion graphic

The performance will last for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes including one interval.


Post-Performance Sharing
Open to every ticket-holder of the performance.

Open Rehearsal – FULL!
6 May, 4:30pm-5:30pm

“Le Grand Siècle” Lecture
7 May, 11:30am-1:30pm
FREE ADMISSION. To register, please click here.

More Details here


Ensemble Correspondances & Sébastien Daucé

Founded in Lyon in 2009, Correspondances takes its name and inspiration from the poetry of Baudelaire and is an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists mainly performing 17th-century sacred music. Artistic director Sébastien Daucé has a passion for discovering hidden music, as well as forging close links between music and other arts.

Correspondances has recorded 7 CDs (including Le Concert royal de la nuit – The Royal Concert of The Night) to great acclaim and has performed at leading French and foreign concert halls and festivals.

Sébastien Daucé is a talented harpsichordist and organist who studied with Yves Rechsteiner at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Lyon. Daucé has recently been made associate artist at the Fondation Royaumont.

Etienne Guiol

Etienne Guiol is a painter as well as a video designer, graduated from Emile Cohl’s school in Lyon in 2010.

Since 2012, he has been working extensively in video creation and live performances for theater, international opera productions and urban mapping. His creations are performed on international stages like Scala de Milan, Athens Opera House, Karlsruhe, Basel and Geneva, Cairo, Budapest and main operas houses in France. Three of them were awarded as Best opera creation (Maria Republica in 2016) and Best Stage Concept (Docteur Atomic and Le Coq d’Or in 2015).

He founds in 2012 BK, a studio specialized in video mapping and creation based in France. BK takes part regularly in international mapping festival and international private events in Lyon, Paris, Dubaï, Bucarest, Roma, Marrackech, Casablanca…

Find out more about Ensemble Correpondances
Find out more about Etienne Guiol

Schedule and venues
6 May 2017, 8:00pm
$580 / $460 / $340 / $240






Room 403,4/F, Shun Tak Tower,
200 Connaught Road, Sheung Wan

T: (852) 3678 0150   E: info@frenchmay.com