Ballet by Teet Kask
The original music by Timo Steiner and Sander Mölder.
World premiere in the Estonian National Opera on November 19, 2021
“I have come here to inform you of my wishes! My chancellor will handle the rest.” That is what the confident 4-year-old child king Louis XIV said once upon a time – the Sun King who will soon dance the central role in the historical ballet of monarchical Europe.
To compare one’s life to dance, the phrase “dance of life” is very well suited to characterise the life of Louis XIV. Ballet has been a symbol of brilliance and wealth at the court of Louis. He himself danced in nearly 80 ballet roles, in addition to being a generous supporter of the ballet art and the arts in general. Ballet is a secret language for Louis to communicate with the noblewomen.
The canvas of memories depicting Louis contains more than just bright tones and happiness. There is also plenty of anger, selfishness, suffering, ennui, powerlessness…The following kings will only know an empty treasury, restless people, and a weak royal power. And yet, it is a very fine canvas.
Tõnu Õnnepalu: “The king is a fairy-tale character, but also a real – living and ruling – king. Louis XIV was a grand king. However, even he was born as an infant child and felt both insecurity and fear when he was young, as the times were confusing. As a young man, he decided to change things and do something quite unprecedented – create the State. An Almighty State that must not only be feared but also admired. We inherited the state from him, as well as the castle and gardens of Versailles. And ballet. Even dancing was a means of showing the king’s glory. The state is a theatre. Power is a theatre. Then again, theatre is a vanishing art where the performance has to start again each day, just like the sun has to rise for the day to come again. The cunning courtiers, upon realising that the King will hold all the reins of power, named him, without any attempt of mockery, le Roi Soleil – the Sun King.”