VALOIS D'ORVILLE, Adrien-Joseph de (1713-1780)

VALOIS D'ORVILLE, Adrien-Joseph de (1713–1780)

Adrien-Joseph LE VALOIS D’ORVILLE (1713–1780). Born in Rouen, the son of a State treasurer, Le Valois d’Orville was the author of a poem entitled Les Nouvelles Lanternes (1746) but he was better known for his several parodies of operas – especially ones by Rameau – that were presented at the fair theatres. He agreed to revise the libretto of Platée, which Rameau had purchased from Autreau, in order to bring out the unusual comic aspect of the work in the spirit of Mouret’s Les Amours de Ragonde, which had been very successfully revived in 1742. However, his name was not mentioned in the different editions of the libretto of Platée, nor even in the critical appreciations of the work. Indeed, the articles that appeared in the Mercure de France on its many performances targeted him but left him nameless: ‘While there are features in the libretto that may lead us to suspect the person who revised M. Autreau’s text of not always being capable of elegance, almost every aspect of the music proves the fruitfulness of M. Rameau’s genius.’ Collé’s view, expressed in his Journal, was similar but more extreme: ‘While the music is admirable, we have to admit that it is hard to endure the tedium and inanity of the words.’ An unfair and biased opinion, no doubt, for Le Valois d’Orville’s text is delightful in its drollery.
[Patrick Florentin]