Gabriel Astruc

Last updated
Gabriel Astruc
Gabriel Astruc.jpg
Gabriel Astruc
Born14 March 1864
Died7 July 1938(1938-07-07) (aged 74)
OccupationJournalist, agent, promoter, theatre manager, theatrical impresario, playwright

Gabriel Astruc (14 March 1864 – 7 July 1938) was a French journalist, agent, promoter, theatre manager, theatrical impresario, and playwright whose career connects many of the best-known incidents and personalities of Belle Epoque Paris.

Contents

Biography

Born in Bordeaux, to the Astruc family, he was the son of Élie Aristide Astruc (1831–1905), the Grand Rabbi of Belgium from 1866–1879, and began his career working for publisher Paul Ollendorff, and as a columnist from 1885 through 1895. As a regular at Montmartre's prototypically bohemian Le Chat Noir cabaret, he befriended a young Erik Satie and wrote articles and theater pieces under the pen name Surtac. [1] In 1897 he founded a music publishing company with his father-in-law Wilhelm Enoch, by 1900 he had introduced the luxury magazine Musica, and by 1904 had become a concert promoter.

In this period he was the booking agent for Mata Hari. Astruc booked Hari into the Paris Olympia in August 1905, and would manage her appearances for the next ten years, through the height of her considerable fame. He also served as booking agent for Feodor Chaliapin, Arthur Rubinstein, and Wanda Landowska, but not Isadora Duncan, whom he considered too subtle to attract a sizable audience. [2]

From 1905 through 1912 Astruc brought a long list of musical giants to Paris under the banner "Great Season of Paris", including an Italian season with Enrico Caruso and Australian soprano Nellie Melba in 1905, the creation of Salome under the baton of Richard Strauss in 1907, the Ballets Russes of Diaghilev in 1909, the Metropolitan Opera conducted by Arturo Toscanini in 1910, and Debussy's Le martyre de Saint Sébastien (text by Gabriele D'Annunzio) in 1911.

In 1913 Astruc tried to parlay his success by commissioning Auguste Perret to build the innovative Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in the Avenue Montaige. This building is an architectural landmark of early reinforced concrete. After a brilliant and scandalous first season, climaxed by the famous riot at the May 29 premiere of The Rite of Spring, Astruc found himself financially ruined within six months. He was also the target of anti-Semitic attacks from Léon Daudet and others of the Action Française. [3]

After World War I, he worked in the field of radio and advertising, and in 1929 served as the manager of the Théâtre Pigalle for Philippe de Rothschild. Astruc and Marcel Proust were friends, having helped proofread the first edition of Swann's Way, [4] and Proust returned the favor by helping Astruc prepare his memoirs, Le pavillon des fantômes, appearing in 1929.

His papers reside at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Dance Collection.

Sources

Related Research Articles

Erik Satie French composer and pianist

Éric Alfred Leslie Satie, who signed his name Erik Satie after 1884, was a French composer and pianist. Satie was an influential artist in the late 19th- and early 20th-century Parisian avant-garde. His work was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music, and the Theatre of the Absurd.

Marcel Proust French novelist, critic and essayist

Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu, published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927. He is considered by critics and writers to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.

Cabaret venue for a mixed variety show of music & theatrical revue

Cabaret is a form of theatrical entertainment featuring music, song, dance, recitation, or drama. It is mainly distinguished by the performance venue, which might be a pub, a casino, a restaurant, or a nightclub with a stage for performances. The audience, often dining or drinking, does not typically dance but usually sits at tables. Performances are usually introduced by a master of ceremonies or MC. The entertainment, as done by an ensemble of actors and according to its European origins, is often oriented towards adult audiences and of a clearly underground nature. In the United States striptease, burlesque, drag shows, or a solo vocalist with a pianist, as well as the venues which offer this entertainment, are often advertised as cabarets.

Aristide Bruant French singer

Aristide Bruant was a French cabaret singer, comedian, and nightclub owner. He is best known as the man in the red scarf and black cape featured on certain famous posters by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He has also been credited as the creator of the chanson réaliste musical genre.

Winnaretta Singer American socialite

Winnaretta Singer, Princesse Edmond de Polignac, was an American-born heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. She used this to fund a wide range of causes, notably a musical salon where her protégés included Debussy and Ravel, and numerous public health projects in Paris, where she lived most of her life. Singer entered into two marriages that were unconsummated, and openly enjoyed many high-profile relationships with women.

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées theatre and concert venue at 15 avenue Montaigne in Paris, france

The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is an entertainment venue standing at 15 avenue Montaigne in Paris. It is situated near Avenue des Champs-Élysées, from which it takes its name. Its eponymous main hall may seat up to 1,905 people, while the smaller Comédie and Studio des Champs-Élysées above the latter may seat 601 and 230 people respectively.

Le Chat Noir 19th-century cabaret in Paris, France

Le Chat Noir was a nineteenth-century entertainment establishment, in the bohemian Montmartre district of Paris. It was opened on 18 November 1881 at 84 Boulevard de Rochechouart by the impresario Rodolphe Salis, and closed in 1897 not long after Salis' death.

Théâtre de la Ville theater building in Paris on the Place du Châtelet

The Théâtre de la Ville is one of the two theatres built in the 19th century by Baron Haussmann at Place du Châtelet, Paris, the other being the Théâtre du Châtelet. It is located at 2, place du Châtelet in the 4th arrondissement.

Gustave Schlumberger French historian

Léon Gustave Schlumberger was a French historian and numismatist who specialised in the era of the crusades and the Byzantine Empire. His Numismatique de l'Orient Latin (1878–82) is still considered the principal work on the coinage of the crusades. He was awarded the medal of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1903. A large portion of his extensive Crusader coin collection is housed in the Cabinet des Médailles a department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.

Pierre Trimouillat French chansonnier and singer

Pierre Trimouillat was a French songwriter, comedian and singer who was active in the cabarets of Paris in the 1890s.

<i>La Diva de lEmpire</i> composition by Erik Satie

La Diva de l'Empire is a French popular song with music by Erik Satie and lyrics by Dominique Bonnaud and Numa Blès, composed in 1904. Along with Je te veux (1903) it is probably the best-known example of Satie's cabaret or "café-concert" idiom. It was premiered by singer Paulette Darty, dubbed the "Queen of the Slow Waltz", in the musical revue Dévidons la bobine in Paris on July 26, 1904, and published that same year.

Mercure is a 1924 ballet with music by Erik Satie. The original décor and costumes were designed by Pablo Picasso and the choreography was by Léonide Massine, who also danced the title role. Subtitled "Plastic Poses in Three Tableaux", it was an important link between Picasso's Neoclassical and Surrealist phases and has been described as a "painter's ballet."

La belle excentrique is a dance suite for small orchestra by French composer Erik Satie. A parody of music hall clichés, it was conceived as a choreographic stage work and by modern standards can be considered a ballet. Satie gave it the whimsical subtitle "fantaisie sérieuse". It was premiered at the Théâtre du Colisée in Paris on June 14, 1921, conducted by Vladimir Golschmann. The composer later arranged it for piano duet.

<i>Trois petites pièces montées</i>

The Trois petites pièces montées is a suite for small orchestra by Erik Satie, inspired by themes from the novel series Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais. It was premiered at the Comédie des Champs-Élysées in Paris on February 21, 1920, conducted by Vladimir Golschmann. Satie later arranged it for piano duet and today it is more frequently heard in this version. A typical performance lasts about five minutes.

The Messe des pauvres is a partial musical setting of the mass for mixed choir and organ by Erik Satie. Composed between 1893 and 1895, it is Satie's only liturgical work and the culmination of his "Rosicrucian" or "mystic" period. It was published posthumously in 1929. A performance lasts around 18 minutes.

<i>Allegro</i> (Satie)

The Allegro is a brief piano piece by Erik Satie. Dated September 9, 1884, when Satie was 18, it is his earliest known composition. It also marked the first time he signed his given name as "Erik" instead of "Éric".

<i>Cinq grimaces pour Le songe dune nuit dété</i>

The Cinq grimaces pour Le songe d'une nuit d'été is a set of incidental music pieces for orchestra by Erik Satie. Composed in 1915 for a planned circus-style staging of Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, it marked the composer's first collaboration with author Jean Cocteau. The production failed to materialize and Satie's music went unperformed in his lifetime. His score was published posthumously in 1929.

<i>Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear</i> suite for piano duet by Erik Satie

Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear is a 1903 suite for piano four hands by French composer Erik Satie. A lyrical compendium of his early music, it is one of Satie's most famous compositions, second in popular recognition only to the Gymnopédies (1888). The score was not published until 1911. In performance it lasts around 14 minutes.

<i>Le Fils des étoiles</i> 1891 incidental music composition by Erik Satie

Le Fils des étoiles is an incidental music score composed in December 1891 by Erik Satie to accompany a three-act poetic drama of the same name by Joséphin Péladan. It is a key work of Satie's "Rosicrucian" period (1891–1895) and played a role in his belated "discovery" by the French musical establishment in the 1910s.

Robert dHumières French writer, translator, theater director

Aymeric Eugène Robert d’Humières (1868-1915), was a French man of letters, poet, chronicler, translator and theatre director.

References

  1. Satie the bohemian: from cabaret to concert hall By Steven Moore Whiting
  2. Sisters of Salome By Toni Bentley page 104
  3. Rubinstein: a life By Harvey Sachs, Donald Manildi, page 72
  4. Marcel Proust: A Life By William C. Carter, pg. 559