Up until the present, every historical account has stated that the career of Marie-Justine Duronceray (1727-72) began with her arrival in Paris early in 1745. This includes the known biographical sketch by Charles-Simon Favart, who outlived her. New evidence shows that both Justine and her mother appeared on stage as dancers at the Lyons Opera in 1744. The Duronceray family were in the artistic service of Stanislas, king of Poland, at Lunéville; but there may well have been family links with the south of France. Between 1739 and 1744 Nicolas Bergiron was director of productions at Lyons, staging various tragédies and ballets from the Paris repertory. The names 'Mlle Duronzeray fille' and 'Duronzeray mère' appear in the cast-lists for 'Les Caractères de la Folie' by Charles Duclos, music by Bernard de Bury (January 1744), and for 'Médée et Jason' by Simon Joseph Pellegrin, music by Joseph François Salomon (March 1744). (The 1744 Lyons libretto for Bertin de La Doué's 'Ajax' is lost.) The relevant roles are discussed, and a sketch offered of Marie-Justine's and her mother's likely experiences before arriving in Paris in late January or early February, 1745.
- Favart, Charles, Favart, Marie-Justine, Lyons, French opera, Lunéville, court of Stanislas, ballet