Madame de Sainctonge composed what was the first opera ballet. She probably decided to publish her work, Les Charmes des saisons, just after the creation of a rival opera, precisely to prevent her contribution to the development of a new melodramatic genre from being ignored by posterity.
“She was the one who, in 1695, prepared a true revolution of the lyric genre with the first opera ballet of our history: ‘Les Charmes des Saisons’, whose ‘cabals’, terms with which she designated the conjunction of Colasse and the abbot Pic supported by Lully, forbade the creation opposing their own ballet of the ‘Saisons’ (Seasons) (1695), a perfect prologue to the genre. Surely Mme de Sainctonge wasn’t lacking of imagination or invention: these misfortunes prove it. She takes perhaps this inventive spirit after her Hispanic origins, largely speaking. On her mother’s side, she is part of the proud Portuguese nation and to the antic family of the counts of Vimioso who opposed to the annexation by Philip II of her native country.” (F. Moureau, La Plume et le plomb, pp. 184-188).
This first edition of the Poésies galantes was composed of ‘les Charmes des saisons’ ballet, three idylls in dialogue, a few epistles, elegies, enigmas, epigrams and a lot of drinking songs and Bacchic parodies. The ballet of the ‘Saisons’ wasn’t presented because the abbot Picque (named Pic by Rousseau in his epigrams), put on his ballet of the ‘Saisons’ in 1695.
Louise-Geneviève Gillot de Sainctonge (1650-1718), a French woman of letters, was the daughter of Mme Gillot de Beaucour, better known as Mme Gomez de Vasconcelle, a woman of letters herself. She was married to a lawyer named Sainctonge. She wrote epistles, eclogues, madrigals and songs, two comedies, two operas.
A precious copy of this rare compilation finely bound in red morocco by Capé.
3 copies have been located in France: Nantes, Rouen, B.n.F.