The Comédie Italienne, the Italian commedia dell’arte, took up residence in Paris in the mid-17th century, incorporating French chansons and Italian arias into their performances. The troupe was banished from France in 1697 as punishment for satirizing the regime of Louis XIV. In 1715, the crown passed to Philippe II d’Orléans, who served as Regent until Louis XV attained his majority in 1723. An accomplished musician and composer of three operas, Philippe was in constant attendance at the Opéra, and even conducted royal business in a loge. In 1715, the year Watteau made his etching, Philippe reinstated the wildly popular Comédie Italienne.
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