1686. Quinault and Lully once again combine their genius to entertain Her Majesty: the story of the fatal love affair between Armide the magician and the crusader Renaud. A beautiful plot for a sumptuous show with the fascinating Stéphanie d'Oustrac.
Armide is first and foremost a variation on the legend of Pentheles and Achilles that Tasso incorporates into his Jerusalem Delivered. It is a story of impossible love: the meeting and then the separation of two people who would be worthy of each other if they did not belong to two opposing camps. The outcome of this battle is already decided in the prologue, where Wisdom and Glory agree to sing the praises of the Monarch together. And this is what intrigued Dominique Pitoiset when he decided to take on this new part of his exploration of the "war of the sexes" after Così fan tutte. For this prologue emphasises that this Armide is not only a gift to the king, but also a message from him.
Why, then, did Louis XIV choose to have this very plot told at his Court - that of a seductress whose all-powerful staging defeats all but one? What did he intend to show by deciding not to appear at the performances? After this final masterpiece, Quinault and Lully no longer worked together. The librettist would only think of the salvation of his soul. And the composer died a few months later, carried off by gangrene, without the enigma having been cleared up.