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La tentation de la Pologne : le « manuscrit de Varsovie » (1766)

Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), un artiste européen au siècle des Lumières
Marie-Thérèse Mourey
Université Paris IV-Sorbonne
While the libretti of Noverre’s ballets and of course his Lettres sur la Danse are well known, two of the most important sources for his works have been little studied till now. The present paper offers an overview and a first analysis of the « Warsaw Manuscript », consisting in eleven splendid volumes which Noverre sent to the king of Poland Stanislas Poniatowski in 1766 in order to find a new position as a choreographer, after it was clear that he would have to leave the court of Wurtemberg. These volumes offer an almost complete documentation on Noverre’s broad activity in Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg, i.e. before the Viennese period, with theoretic reflections on the art of dancing (excerpts of the Lettres sur la danse), ballet-libretti, musical scores and over 400 costume designs by Boquet. It should thus be compared to the latter unpretentious « Stockholm Manuscript » from 1791.