Jean-François Bayard

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Jean-François Alfred Bayard
Born17 March 1796 (1796-03-17)
Died20 February 1853 (1853-02-21) (aged 56)
Occupation Playwright

Jean-François Alfred Bayard (17 March 1796, Charolles, Saône-et-Loire – 20 February 1853, Paris) was a French playwright. He was the nephew of fellow playwright Eugène Scribe.

Charolles Subprefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Charolles is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.

Saône-et-Loire Department of France

Saône-et-Loire is a French department, named after the Saône and the Loire rivers between which it lies.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.



As a law student and a lawyer's clerk, Bayard wrote with passion for the theatre and, after several attempts, had a great success at the Gymnase theatre, with la Reine de seize ans (1828, in-8°). One of the most fertile-minded and skilful vaudeville writers of his era, he made a close friendship with Eugène Scribe, often collaborating with him on plays and marrying his niece.

Théâtre du Gymnase Marie Bell theatre in Paris, France

The Théâtre du Gymnase or Théâtre du Gymnase Marie Bell, is a theatre in Paris, at 38, Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle in the 10th arrondissement.

Vaudeville genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s

Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.

Eugène Scribe French dramatist and librettist

Augustin Eugène Scribe was a French dramatist and librettist. He is known for the perfection of the so-called "well-made play", a mainstay of popular theatre for over 100 years, and as the librettist of many of the most successful grand operas.

Belonging to the school of Dancourt and Picard, he wrote with extreme ease, producing more than 200 plays for several theatres, sometimes alone, sometimes in collaboration. Many of his plays were remarked upon for their witty cheerfulness, and for not excluding sensitivity and everything else that was in vogue in the 19th century. He most often wrote vaudevilles, though he also had success with drama and even high comedy. In 1840, he collaborated with Georges Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges on the libretto for Gaetano Donizetti's opéra comique La fille du régiment .

Florent Carton aka Dancourt, French dramatist and actor, was born at Fontainebleau. He belonged to a family of rank, and his parents entrusted his education to Pere de la Rue, a Jesuit, who made earnest efforts to induce him to join the order. But he had no religious vocation and proceeded to study law.

Louis-Benoît Picard French writer

Louis-Benoît Picard was a French playwright, actor, novelist, poet and music director.

Libretto text used for an extended musical work

A libretto is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term libretto is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet.

Despite his intensive writing schedule, Bayard devoted a large part of his time to the SACD, and was over many years one of the most active commissioners of new work from them. In this role, nearly all works on his life state that he competed with the directors of Paris's theatres.

SACD, founded as Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques on 7 March 1829, is a French collecting society, undertaking collective rights management for authors. The Society manages, promotes and protects the performance rights of theatrical, audivisual or photographic works for their creators by collecting royalties and authorising performances. It's also one of the main lobbies against "droit d'auteur" (copyright) changes and to protect the activities of collective rights management societies.

In 1837 his family's fortunes having fallen on hard times, Bayard was forced to accept a job offer as director of the théâtre des Variétés. Although he only held the job for a short time, Bayard signalled his tenure with happier results than many who held it longer. After having begun to rehabilitate public opinion towards this theatre, which had fallen from the first rank of the théâtres des boulevards, he later felt it impossible to reconcile his writing and his tastes as an author with the demanding duties of a director and decided to leave the post. However, his last administrative act as director - choosing one of his most witty collaborators, his friend Dumanoir, as his successor - was also a happy one for the theatre. Dumanoir completed Bayard's work, allowing the théâtre des Variétés to regain its forgotten splendours.

Théâtre des Variétés theatre in Montmartre, Paris, France

The Théâtre des Variétés is a theatre and "salle de spectacles" at 7-8, boulevard Montmartre, 2nd arrondissement, in Paris. It was declared a monument historique in 1975.

Boulevard theatre is a theatrical aesthetic that emerged from the boulevards of Paris' old city.

Dumanoir French writer

Philippe François Pinel, known as Dumanoir was a French playwright and librettist.

Bayard also published articles in several literary journals, and poems and verse dramas in several anthologies. Louis Hachette published Bayard's Théâtre choisi, en 12 volumes, in-12, 1855-1858.

In 1837 Bayard was named a member of the Légion d'honneur.

Selected works


  1. Satirising the renewal of political and administrative staff of the First Empire in the run-up to the July Monarchy. Played at the théâtre du Vaudeville on 25 September 1830, showed the solicitors, gathered in the antechamber of a minister: « Qu'on nous place / Et que justice se fasse. / Qu'on nous place / Tous en masse. / Que les placés / Soient chassés ! » (quoted by Guy Antonetti, Louis-Philippe, Paris, Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2002, p. 625) « Savez-vous ce que c'est qu'un carliste ? interroge un humoriste. Un carliste, c'est un homme qui occupe un poste dont un autre homme a envie ! » (ibid.)
  2. La niaise de Saint-Flour By Bayard et G. Lemoine _ HathiTrust

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