Théâtre Feydeau

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Salle Feydeau
48deg52'11.43''N2deg20'24.20''E / 48.8698417degN 2.3400556degE / 48.8698417; 2.3400556 Salle Feydeau NGO3p869.jpg
Salle Feydeau
48°52′11.43″N2°20′24.20″E / 48.8698417°N 2.3400556°E / 48.8698417; 2.3400556

The Théâtre Feydeau (pronounced  [teɑtʁ fɛdo] ), a former Parisian theatre company, was founded in 1789 with the patronage of Monsieur, Comte de Provence (later to become Louis XVIII), and was therefore initially named the Théâtre de Monsieur. It began performing in the Salle des Tuileries, located in the north wing of the Tuileries Palace, then moved to the Salle des Variétés at the Foire Saint-Germain, and finally, beginning in 1791, settled into its own custom-built theatre, the Salle Feydeau located on the rue Feydeau. [1] The company was renamed Feydeau after the royal family was arrested during the French Revolution. [2]

Tuileries Palace royal and imperial palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine

The Tuileries Palace was a royal and imperial palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine. It was the usual Parisian residence of most French monarchs, from Henry IV to Napoleon III, until it was burned by the Paris Commune in 1871.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

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The company first presented Italian opera by composers such as Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Giuseppe Sarti, and Giovanni Paisiello and later French plays, vaudevilles, and opéras comiques, as well as symphonic concerts, and was especially famous for the quality of its orchestra and realistic stagings. [2] The Italian Luigi Cherubini was the house composer, [3] but the French composers Jean-François Le Sueur, François Devienne, and Pierre Gaveaux were also closely associated with the company. [2]

Italian opera Operas in Italy or in the Italian language

Italian opera is both the art of opera in Italy and opera in the Italian language. Opera was born in Italy around the year 1600 and Italian opera has continued to play a dominant role in the history of the form until the present day. Many famous operas in Italian were written by foreign composers, including Handel, Gluck and Mozart. Works by native Italian composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, are amongst the most famous operas ever written and today are performed in opera houses across the world.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi composer from Italy

Giovanni Battista Draghi, often referred to as Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, was an Italian composer, violinist and organist. His best-known works include his Stabat Mater and the opera La serva padrona. His compositions include operas and sacred music. He died of tuberculosis at the very young age of 26.

Giuseppe Sarti Italian opera composer

Giuseppe Sarti was an Italian opera composer.

In 1801 the Théâtre Feydeau merged with, and took the name of its chief rival, the Opéra-Comique. Except for a brief period from July 1804 to July 1805, when the merged company performed at the Salle Favart, it continued to perform at the Salle Feydeau until 1829, when it moved to a new theatre, the Salle Ventadour. [2] The Salle Feydeau was demolished shortly thereafter.

Opéra-Comique opera company in Paris

The Opéra-Comique is a Parisian opera company, which was founded around 1714 by some of the popular theatres of the Parisian fairs. In 1762 the company was merged with, and for a time took the name of its chief rival the Comédie-Italienne at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and was also called the Théâtre-Italien up to about 1793, when it again became most commonly known as the Opéra-Comique. Today the company's official name is Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique, and its theatre, with a capacity of around 1,248 seats, sometimes referred to as the Salle Favart, is located in Place Boïeldieu, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Palais Garnier, one of the theatres of the Paris Opéra. The musicians and others associated with the Opéra-Comique have made important contributions to operatic history and tradition in France, and to French opera. Its current mission is to reconnect with its history, and discover its unique repertoire, to ensure production and dissemination of operas for the wider public. Mainstays of the repertory at the Opéra-Comique during its history have included the following works which have each been performed more than 1,000 times by the company: Cavalleria Rusticana, Le chalet, La dame blanche, Le domino noir, La fille du régiment, Lakmé, Manon, Mignon, Les noces de Jeannette, Le pré aux clercs, Tosca, La bohème, Werther and Carmen, the last having been performed more than 2,500 times.

Salle Ventadour

The Salle Ventadour, a former Parisian theatre in the rue Neuve-Ventadour, now the rue Méhul, was built between 1826 and 1829 for the Opéra-Comique, to designs by Jacques-Marie Huvé, a prominent architect. The original theatre had a capacity of 1,106, but was subsequently taken over by the Théâtre-Italien and expanded to a capacity of 1,295 in 1841, thereafter becoming perhaps most noteworthy as the theatre in which the majority of the operas of the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi were first performed in France. When the Théâtre-Italien company went out of business in 1878, the theatre was converted to offices.

History

At the Tuileries

The company was founded on 26 January 1789 by Marie-Antoinette's coiffeur Léonard-Alexis Autier and the violinist and composer Giovanni Battista Viotti and at first used the Salle des Tuileries, [4] which had previously been the Salle des Machines, but had been greatly modified and reduced in size by the architects Jacques-Germain Soufflot and Ange-Jacques Gabriel for the Paris Opera in 1763. [5] Since the Théâtre de Monsieur was opened for the King's brother and was at the Tuileries Palace, the King allowed the performers to live at the palace. While most theatres of the time were only permitted to do one kind of drama, the Théâtre de Monsieur performed French drama, opéra comique, vaudeville, and Italian opera buffa. [6]

Giovanni Battista Viotti Italian composer

Giovanni Battista Viotti was an Italian violinist whose virtuosity was famed and whose work as a composer featured a prominent violin and an appealing lyrical tunefulness. He was also a director of French and Italian opera companies in Paris and London. He personally knew Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Jacques-Germain Soufflot French architect

Jacques-Germain Soufflot was a French architect in the international circle that introduced neoclassicism. His most famous work is the Panthéon in Paris, built from 1755 onwards, originally as a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve.

Ange-Jacques Gabriel French architect

Ange-Jacques Gabriel was the principal architect of King Louis XV of France. His major works included the Place de la Concorde, the École Militaire, and the Petit Trianon and opera theater at the Palace of Versailles. His style was a careful balance between French Baroque architecture and French neoclassicism.

At the Saint-Germain Fair

On 6 October 1789 Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette moved to the Tuileries Palace after being forced to leave Versailles for Paris by rioters. It was decided that the Théâtre de Monsieur would have to find new quarters, and that a new theatre would be built, but in the interim, the company would perform in the Salle des Variétés at the Saint-Germain Fair. The company's last performance at the Tuileries was on 23 December, and it opened at the Salle des Variétés on 10 January 1790. [7]

Piccini's La buona figliuola was warmly received on 3 February 1790 with the composer conducting, but Pasquale Anfossi's I viaggiatori felici was less highly regarded, on account of both its music and its libretto, with the exception of inserted numbers composed by Cherubini, who took a bow at the insistence of the audience. The sixteen-year-old violinist Pierre Rode played a concerto by Viotti between the acts of Giuseppe Sarti's Le gelosie villane on 18 October. The company continued to perform in the theatre at the Saint-Germain fairground until 31 December 1790. [8]

Niccolò Piccinni Italian composer

Niccolò Piccinni was an Italian composer of symphonies, sacred music, chamber music, and opera. Although he is somewhat obscure today, Piccinni was one of the most popular composers of opera—particularly the Neapolitan opera buffa—of his day.

<i>La buona figliuola</i> Italian opera

La buona figliuola, or La Cecchina (Cecchina), is an opera buffa in three acts by Niccolò Piccinni. The libretto, by Carlo Goldoni, is based on Samuel Richardson's novel Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded. This was Piccinni's most successful Italian opera. There was a sequel entitled La buona figliuola maritata (1761) by the same composer and librettist. La buona figliuola supposta vedova by Gaetano Latilla followed in 1766.

Pasquale Anfossi Italian opera composer

Pasquale Anfossi was an Italian opera composer. Born in Taggia, Liguria, he studied with Niccolò Piccinni and Antonio Sacchini, and worked mainly in London, Venice and Rome.

On the rue Feydeau

Architectural drawings of the Salle Feydeau Salle Feydeau - Donnet 1821 plate7 GB-Ghent.jpg
Architectural drawings of the Salle Feydeau
The Salle Feydeau (in blue) on an 1814 map of Paris Salle Feydeau on 1814 map of Paris (in blue).jpg
The Salle Feydeau (in blue) on an 1814 map of Paris

For the new theatre, a site just east of the north end of the Tuileries Palace, formerly occupied by the "Stables of Monsieur", was first considered. This location was thought advantageous, even at this late date, because the royal family could reach it without having to go out-of-doors. Several other sites were also considered, but by February 1790, a piece of land on the rue Feydeau was selected. Despite its proximity to the Salle Favart, home of the Opéra-Comique, and objections by Jean Sylvain Bailly, the mayor of Paris, permission was granted in April. [9]

The new theatre on the rue Feydeau was built in just over six months in a neoclassical style to the designs by the architects Jacques Legrand and Jacques Molinos and had a capacity of 1700–1900. [2] These designers were not too concerned with the practicality of the theatre space, but more with the splendor of the theatre. It was a rectangular building that was curved on the side of the lobby at the front. On the curved front were seven massive windows that let natural light into the lobby. In between these windows were statues that were the same height as the windows. The architects also included "carriage entrances at ground level that allowed theatre goers to disembark inside a protected vestibule" or entrance hall between an outer door and the main part of the building. These features, along with the statues on the outside of the lobby, were novel and attracted a lot of attention. [10] [11]

The lobby was highly ornate and was where Legrand and Molnios focused a lot of their attention. [12] The theatre was lit by candlelight and by hanging chandeliers. There were seats in the pit as well as lining the sides of the theatre. There were three balconies and two different standing areas. There were also boxed seats next to the stage. Several "design flaws of the original plan would continue to haunt the theatre's administration." [10] The proscenium "extended beyond the stage in such a way that it obstructed the view of the stage for most of the side loges". [10] Bad sight lines were a problem with the original design of the theatre. The audience structure caused poor sound reverberations. There were two different remodeling projects, one in 1798 and one in 1801. [10]

The opening there took place on 6 January 1791, when Sarti's 3-act comic opera Le nozze di Dorina was presented. [2] [13] [14]

Up to 1791 the repertory had consisted primarily of Italian opera, with additional music added by Cherubini, but the exclusive privileges of the royal theatres were revoked on 13 January 1791. The company was now free to present French opéras comiques , competing more directly with the nearby Opéra-Comique company at the Salle Favart. [8]

Upon the Royal Family's return to Paris on 24 June 1791, after its unsuccessful flight and arrest in Varennes, the Théâtre de Monsieur was officially renamed Théâtre Français & Italien de la rue Feydeau, but by July this had been shortened to Théâtre de la rue Feydeau, or simply the Théâtre Feydeau. [15]

The first important French work was Cherubini's Lodoïska , which was premiered on 18 July 1791. This was followed by more French operas by Cherubini, as well as operas by French composers, including Devienne's Les visitandines (7 July 1792); [16] Le Sueur's La caverne (16 February 1793), Paul et Virginie (13 January 1794), and Télémaque (10 May 1796); [17] and Gaveaux's Léonore, ou L'amour conjugal (19 February 1798). [18] The last was the model for Beethoven's Fidelio . In general, opera alternated evenings with spoken drama, presented by a separate company of actors. [2]

The theatre became one of the meeting-places for counter-revolutionaries. Like many theatres of the Revolutionary period, it was frequently banned. However, it re-opened for good on 2 April 1796, becoming one of the most appreciated theatres in Paris. Talma produced there from 1798.[ citation needed ]

The Salle Feydeau as the Opera-Comique (c. 1801-1804) Le theatre de l'Opera-Comique rue Feydeau - Dessin de Courvoisier, gravure de Dubois - Parouty 1998 p16.jpg
The Salle Feydeau as the Opéra-Comique (c.1801–1804)

Sagaret directed the company from 1795 to 1799, but he also took on the management of two other theatres, the Théâtre de la République and the Théâtre de l'Odéon, and becoming overextended closed the Théâtre Feydeau on 12 April 1801. However, the Opéra-Comique, the Feydeau's chief rival, was also forced to close on 20 July 1801, and it was soon decided to merge the two companies under the name Opéra-Comique, which occurred on 16 September 1801. [2] [19] Since the previous Opéra-Comique's Salle Favart needed repairs, the merged company performed at the Salle Feydeau. Except for a short period from 23 July 1804 to 4 July 1805, when it performed at the Salle Favart and the Salle Olympique, it continued using the Salle Feydeau until 12 April 1829, [13] after which the Salle Feydeau was demolished, [20] and the new Opéra-Comique moved to a newly built theatre, the Salle Ventadour, opening there on 20 April 1829. [13]

In La fille de Madame Angot , an opéra-comique by Charles Lecocq put on on 4 December 1872, the heroine Clairette Angot sings "Didn't you know Mademoiselle Lange, the great actress of the Feydeau?", thus mentioning the Théâtre Feydeau more than forty years after its demolition.

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References

Notes

  1. The Salle Feydeau was demolished around 1829, but was located at what are now nos. 19 and 21 on the rue Feydeau (Lister 2009, p. 147).
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Johnson 1992.
  3. Willis 1992, p. 833.
  4. Lasalle 1875, p. 63.
  5. Harris-Warrack 1992, pp. 861–862.
  6. McCellan 1994, p. 8.
  7. Lister 2009, p. 145.
  8. 1 2 Lister 2009, p. 146.
  9. Lister 2009, pp. 145–146.
  10. 1 2 3 4 McClellan 1994, p. 16.
  11. Di Profio 2003, p. 78.
  12. Di Profio 2003, p. 79.
  13. 1 2 3 Sadie 1992, vol. 3, p. 867.
  14. Lister 2009, p. 147.
  15. Lister 2009, pp. 155–156.
  16. Wild and Charlton 2005, p. 441.
  17. Mongrédien 1992, p. 1157.
  18. Wild and Charlton 2005, p. 303.
  19. Charlton 1992, p. 869.
  20. The Foreign Quarterly Review, vol. 15 (March and July 1835), p. 278. at Google Books.

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