The ballets of François-Hippolyte Barthélemon
The Bordeaux-born violinist and composer François-Hippolyte Barthélemon arrived in Londonunder the auspices of the musical dilettante, Thomas Erskine, the 6th Earl of Kelly some time in 1764; he is recorded at the 5 June benefit concert for Mozart and his sister. He married into the English musical scene in 1766, to Mary (known as Polly) Young, and they performed together frequently. His output included much theatre music, including his serious opera Pelopida, a burletta Orpheus, and a comic opera La fleuve Scamandre. During the early 1780s he led the ballet orchestra at the King's Theatre, contributing several scores of his own. These included The Amours of Alexander and Roxana, The Pastimes of Terpsycore, The Slaves of Conquering Bacchus, Le réveil de bonheur, and Le tuteur trompé. These all had scenarios by either Dauberval or Lepicq, with the exception of one by Nivelon and one, Les petits riens, by Noverre; the last also had contributions from the young Mozart. This paper surveys Barthélemon’s years at the King’s, and considers his input into the development of narrative ballet.