Marie Antoinette [Maria Antonia Josefa Johanna ]
- Elisabeth Cook
[Maria Antonia Josefa Johanna ]
(b Vienna, Nov 2, 1755; d Paris, Oct 16, 1793). Queen of France and patron of opera . The daughter of Emperor Franz I of Austria, she received her early tuition from Gluck (clavecin and singing) and Noverre (dance and deportment). As dauphine (1770) and later queen of France (1774), she supported a great many artists working within the field of opera. The success of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide at the Opéra in 1774 was due largely to the presence of the entire court at the première and to the dauphine’s enthusiastic applause for individual numbers. Accused of favouring Austrian interests too overtly, she was obliged to welcome Piccinni to Paris, and later favoured Sacchini until further criticism forced her to support native composers: for celebrations at Fontainebleau in 1786 Lemoyne’s Phèdre was staged in preference to Sacchini’s Oedipe à Colone. Works by Grétry (...