gloire (ou machine d'aplomb)

English translation: glory (or descending cloud machine)

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:gloire (ou machine d\'aplomb)
English translation:glory (or descending cloud machine)
Entered by: Dianajoy

10:37 Dec 8, 2016
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Cinema, Film, TV, Drama / theater
French term or phrase: gloire (ou machine d'aplomb)
This is from a museum brochure description of stage machinery in the 18th century, cited in Pierre Boullet's "Essai sur l’art de construire les théâtres, leurs machines et leurs mouvemens". It's pretty technical and I'm not sure about the right term to use in English.

"Gloire ou machine d'aplomb" is the title of an etching depicting that particular machinery. And here is the passage that accompanies it:

"(Boullet) publia un ouvrage de référence à l’usage des concepteurs de théâtre. Le texte, clair et précis, est jalonné de descriptions souvent très techniques qui renvoient à treize planches pliées en fin de volume. La planche XI donne le dessin à l’échelle d’une *Gloire* et de sa machinerie spécifique, *la machine d’aplomb*. Une *Gloire* est le nom donné à une nacelle qui descend des cintres sur des nuages mouvants pour magnifier un personnage figurant une divinité."

And later on: "...la reconstitution d’une charpenterie de théâtre en coupe permet de mieux comprendre les effets de nuées et de **gloires**, qui se meuvent grâce à un système ingénieux de poulies."

I found these links from old books describing what a gloire is if that helps: https://books.google.fr/books?id=hGMUAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA75&lpg=PA...

https://books.google.fr/books?id=BZII_PxlLpAC&pg=PA289&lpg=P...

I basically understand the concept now, it's a kind of vertical lift system using pulleys, but not sure how to translate it. I'm thinking of leaving the term "gloire" in French, since it's pretty specific and there is a fair bit of description after. Or perhaps using "flying machine", which I came across pretty often in my research (such as http://homepage.smc.edu/martin_ben/TheaterHistory/Restoratio... and https://spectacle.appstate.edu/models/theatre). Or keep gloire and just use "flying machine" for "machine d'aplomb"? Or "vertical lift"?

I don't know anything about theater machinery, so any help in this area would be appreciated!!!
Dianajoy
France
Local time: 07:18
glory (or descending cloud machine)
Explanation:
The technology described here was by no means new in the time of Boullet (machiniste at the Paris Opera in the late eighteenth century), and neither was the term gloire. It was in common use under that name in seventeenth-century court theatre (and also in Spain, where it was called a gloria), and is already listed in the Academy dictionary of 1694. A machine to lower and raise characters, usually by ropes, pulleys and couterweights, harks back to the deus ex machina tradition of classical times.

As you have found in your reading, "flying machine" (despite Tony's misgivings about aeroplanes), is really the standard generic term for a stage machine that enables people to move above the stage. However, I think we need to be more specific here.

For gloire I would use "glory", which theatre historians quite often do. I think I would put it in inverted commas. This option has the advantage of reflecting the specificity of this particular type of machine. Although your descriptions don't mention it, a gloire was usually lit (with candles).

"In fact, La Gorce's evidence suggests that while France borrowed the concept of opera from Italy, early Bourbon court ballets determined its look and to some degree its charcter. Jupiter, Apollo, Cybele and Venus and other gods appear, sometimes in a glory on a heavenly setting"
Franklin Brooks, "New Glimpses of Louis XIV's Court Spectacles"
http://se17.bowdoin.edu/filemanager/active?fid=81

"Zephyrs suspended in a Glory above the stage"
Rebecca Harris-Warrick, Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera: A History, 116
https://books.google.es/books?id=pr-SDQAAQBAJ&pg=PA116#v=one...

"Machinery of a glory in its fully extended position, hanging from the flies"
Donald C. Mullin, The Development of the Playhouse: A Survey of Theatre Architecture from the Renaissance to the Present, 16
https://books.google.es/books?id=ZwamBxGGWWIC&pg=PR16#v=onep...

Sometimes people call it a "glory machine":

"this marked the first traditional appearance of a glory machine in a ballet de cour"
https://www.taj.tau.ac.il/index.php/back-issues/2-issues/1-2...

But I'd be inclined not to use that, since it has acquired other theatrical connotations thanks to Villiers de L'Isle Adam.

"Machine d'aplomb", on the other hand, is a term associated with Boullet. The sources you've quoted in the question make it clear that it means a machine that moves vertically, as opposed to a "machine de travers", which allows for lateral movement. Again, this technology was already in use in the seventeenth century. This is one reason why I wouldn't use "flying machine", which doesn't specifically mean vertical flight only and in fact tends to suggest lateral movement. I think "cloud machine" is the best term to use here. "Cloud machine" is a term very much associated with Sabbatini, and implies vertical movement, but to make the distinction clear I would be inclined to add "descending". See this very useful page, where there's an illustration of Sabbatini's machine with the caption "Gloire":
http://italian-renaissance-theatre.weebly.com/italian-renais...

"Gloires" don't always have clouds but they usually do, as your sources indicate.

(I used to teach Spanish court theatre, by the way, but I don't know so much about the French equivalent.)


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Note added at 4 hrs (2016-12-08 15:09:18 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Another example of "glory", in a translated passage but in a respectable professional source:

"[...] more than three hundred persons suspended, either in a cloud or in a glory, and that makes the loveliest symphony imaginable [...]
[...] plus de trois cents personnes suspendues ou dans des nuages ou dans une gloire, et cela fait la plus belle symphonie du monde [...]"
John S. Powell, " The Metamorphosis of Psyché", Paper given for the conference Opera and Politics in the Ancien Régime under the aegis of The UCLA Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies
http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~john-powell/ConferencePresen...

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Note added at 1 day1 hr (2016-12-09 12:06:28 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

I'm very glad you found it helpful, Diana. I have been a bit torn on whether to use "glory" or to leave it as "gloire"; both are done and really either could be justified. I still think I would put "glory" in inverted commas, and "gloire" would need to be italicised.

On a personal note, I very much enjoyed being made to look again at this material, with which I used to be quite familiar. Unfortunately, I was dealing with it almost exclusively in Spanish and didn't have to worry about how to translate the terms!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 days22 hrs (2016-12-12 08:42:57 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

That seems a good plan to me. From my point of view there was an element of amour propre in this; I felt it was something I ought to know!
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 07:18
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4glory (or descending cloud machine)
Charles Davis
Summary of reference entries provided
other refs
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
'Magic Flute'
Tony M

Discussion entries: 15





  

Answers


4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
gloire (ou machine d\'aplomb)
glory (or descending cloud machine)


Explanation:
The technology described here was by no means new in the time of Boullet (machiniste at the Paris Opera in the late eighteenth century), and neither was the term gloire. It was in common use under that name in seventeenth-century court theatre (and also in Spain, where it was called a gloria), and is already listed in the Academy dictionary of 1694. A machine to lower and raise characters, usually by ropes, pulleys and couterweights, harks back to the deus ex machina tradition of classical times.

As you have found in your reading, "flying machine" (despite Tony's misgivings about aeroplanes), is really the standard generic term for a stage machine that enables people to move above the stage. However, I think we need to be more specific here.

For gloire I would use "glory", which theatre historians quite often do. I think I would put it in inverted commas. This option has the advantage of reflecting the specificity of this particular type of machine. Although your descriptions don't mention it, a gloire was usually lit (with candles).

"In fact, La Gorce's evidence suggests that while France borrowed the concept of opera from Italy, early Bourbon court ballets determined its look and to some degree its charcter. Jupiter, Apollo, Cybele and Venus and other gods appear, sometimes in a glory on a heavenly setting"
Franklin Brooks, "New Glimpses of Louis XIV's Court Spectacles"
http://se17.bowdoin.edu/filemanager/active?fid=81

"Zephyrs suspended in a Glory above the stage"
Rebecca Harris-Warrick, Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera: A History, 116
https://books.google.es/books?id=pr-SDQAAQBAJ&pg=PA116#v=one...

"Machinery of a glory in its fully extended position, hanging from the flies"
Donald C. Mullin, The Development of the Playhouse: A Survey of Theatre Architecture from the Renaissance to the Present, 16
https://books.google.es/books?id=ZwamBxGGWWIC&pg=PR16#v=onep...

Sometimes people call it a "glory machine":

"this marked the first traditional appearance of a glory machine in a ballet de cour"
https://www.taj.tau.ac.il/index.php/back-issues/2-issues/1-2...

But I'd be inclined not to use that, since it has acquired other theatrical connotations thanks to Villiers de L'Isle Adam.

"Machine d'aplomb", on the other hand, is a term associated with Boullet. The sources you've quoted in the question make it clear that it means a machine that moves vertically, as opposed to a "machine de travers", which allows for lateral movement. Again, this technology was already in use in the seventeenth century. This is one reason why I wouldn't use "flying machine", which doesn't specifically mean vertical flight only and in fact tends to suggest lateral movement. I think "cloud machine" is the best term to use here. "Cloud machine" is a term very much associated with Sabbatini, and implies vertical movement, but to make the distinction clear I would be inclined to add "descending". See this very useful page, where there's an illustration of Sabbatini's machine with the caption "Gloire":
http://italian-renaissance-theatre.weebly.com/italian-renais...

"Gloires" don't always have clouds but they usually do, as your sources indicate.

(I used to teach Spanish court theatre, by the way, but I don't know so much about the French equivalent.)


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 hrs (2016-12-08 15:09:18 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Another example of "glory", in a translated passage but in a respectable professional source:

"[...] more than three hundred persons suspended, either in a cloud or in a glory, and that makes the loveliest symphony imaginable [...]
[...] plus de trois cents personnes suspendues ou dans des nuages ou dans une gloire, et cela fait la plus belle symphonie du monde [...]"
John S. Powell, " The Metamorphosis of Psyché", Paper given for the conference Opera and Politics in the Ancien Régime under the aegis of The UCLA Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies
http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~john-powell/ConferencePresen...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day1 hr (2016-12-09 12:06:28 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

I'm very glad you found it helpful, Diana. I have been a bit torn on whether to use "glory" or to leave it as "gloire"; both are done and really either could be justified. I still think I would put "glory" in inverted commas, and "gloire" would need to be italicised.

On a personal note, I very much enjoyed being made to look again at this material, with which I used to be quite familiar. Unfortunately, I was dealing with it almost exclusively in Spanish and didn't have to worry about how to translate the terms!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 days22 hrs (2016-12-12 08:42:57 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

That seems a good plan to me. From my point of view there was an element of amour propre in this; I felt it was something I ought to know!

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 07:18
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Notes to answerer
Asker: This is perfect, thank you!!! I wasn't able to find any mention of "glory" myself, so these references are great. I was a little concerned about leaving out the notion of "aplomb", so I love your suggestion of descending cloud machine, which and goes well with the image I have. Thanks again!

Asker: I might submit both choices (glory or gloire) to the client and have them choose. And glad you enjoyed tracking down the response, you definitely put a lot of work into it! I certainly found it interesting as well, even though I know nothing about theatre... Given how much time I spent on this one term, I'm glad to at least have a satisfying response!

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Reference comments


1 hr
Reference: other refs

Reference information:
http://www.grandpalais.fr/fr/system/files/field_press_file/d...

"98-Pierre Boullet

Essai sur l’an de construire les théâtres, leurs machines et leurs ;nouve;nens, Paris, Ballard, an IX (1801), ouvert à la planche XI: Une Gloire ou Machine d’Aplomb

Gravure à l’eau-forte, rehaussée de lavis beige, rose, bleu, dans livre in-4 0relié
Paris, Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris, 104 027

Pierre Boullet Q-1804), auteur de ce traité, fit une carrière de machiniste aux Menus-Plaisirs. La planche XI de son essai montre la structure d’un groupe de nuages, appelé gloire», descendant des cintres et permet d’imaginer l’effet que produisait sur scène l’apparition de telles nuées.

Although this next source is in German, I'd searched with "machine d'aplomb" + "boullet" and this came up, with a diagram :

http://architekturzeichnungen.museum-kassel.de/7876/

Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Note to reference poster
Asker: Thanks, that's definitely the kind of machinery we're talking about, but still not sure what to call it!

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24 mins
Reference: 'Magic Flute'

Reference information:
For a charming use of one, see Bergman's film of 'The Magic Flute' from Drottningholm court theatre, using period stage equipment.

You might have to ferret around a bit, but you ought to be able to find the relevant scene(s) on YouTube, where there are certainly extracts.

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Note added at 1 heure (2016-12-08 11:59:34 GMT)
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Here's one period refercne that mentions a simialr device and calls it a "flying chariot":

English Court Theatre, 1558-1642

https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=0521640652

John Astington - 1999 - ‎Literary Criticism

Jones's theatre machinery was largely ready to hand, in the Works ... The windlass in the plan powered a flying chariot containing two performers which 'came ...

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Note added at 4 heures (2016-12-08 15:19:30 GMT)
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Here's a fascinating reference, this time from Italy:

https://books.google.fr/books?id=XvhKBgAAQBAJ&lpg=PA31&ots=0...

Here they describe the 'heaven float' (which may be the word you need for 'nacelle'), as well as the 'heaven(-like) machine' or 'heavenly machinery' — Ingegni del Paradiso. Fascinating to realize just how sophisticated staging techniques were even back then — and considering all this was installed on a temporary basis in churches, rather than in some purpose-built premises!

Tony M
France
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 386
Note to reference poster
Asker: Thanks, will try to have a look when I have more time, though not sure if will give me any vocab ideas...

Asker: Thanks for this link. Unfortunately the image doesn't look anything like a chariot (sorry I can't post it), it definitely is more of a platform. But your source does mention "flying machine/device" several times, so that's probably a good direction to go in.

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