Tafelmusik and Musica Viva bring the court of The Duc D’Orleans to Australia.

Philippe’s home was a cultivated place. The west wing of the Palais Royale held his art collection, the best in Europe of its kind. The east wing held the theatre of the Paris Opera. The Duc D’Orleans had his own box, and could slip directly from his living quarters into the opera. For his wedding anniversary, Marin Marais wrote the opera Alcyone, based on a tale from Ovid’s Metamorphosis.

At around the same time, the Duke published a three-volume set of etchings in a limited edition. It was the 18th-century version of a coffee-table book, enabling the well-heeled to page through facsimiles of the west wing paintings – many of which were also based on Ovid’s stories.

Fast forward three centuries. Some of the Duke’s books have made their way to the rare books room of the Royal Ontario Museum, where double-bass player Alison Mackay can page through them.  “The Palais Royale has really changed since then,” says Mackay. “Inside, it is nothing like it was in the 17th century. But technology allows us to take pictures of the rooms that the music would have been...

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