In 1748, the great powers of Europe signed the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, ending the War of Austrian Succession. The settlement resolved nothing: France gave up the Netherlands and ceded Madras to Britain, in exchange for a pirate’s cove in Nova Scotia. In order to sell the lousy deal to the public, King Louis XV did what any savvy monarch would do: He commissioned a ballet. Baroque superstar Jean-Philippe Rameau had already established his reputation with a series of hit operas that drove rival composer Jean-Joseph Moret insane with jealousy and ultimately to an early and bitter death. But even Rameau’s Surprises de l’Amour could do little to mollify a resentful public, and the French and Indian War broke out soon after. Paris baroque ensemble Les Paladins—featuring soprano singer Isabelle Poulenard—performs this and other works by both composers, as well as court favorites Cassanéa de Mondonville, Lully, Destouches, and Rebel and Francoeur.

THE PERFORMANCE BEGINS AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE FRENCH EMBASSY’S MAISON FRANÇAISE, 4101 RESERVOIR RD. NW. $20. (202) 944-6091.

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