Posts Tagged ‘Theatre du Chatelet (Paris)’


Marguerite Debreux in the role of Cupidon in La Poudre de Perlimpinpin at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, autumn 1869

July 26, 2014

Marguerite Debreux (active 1868-1883), French actress and singer, in the role of Cupidon in La Poudre de Perlimpinpin at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, autumn 1869 (Le Gaulois, Paris, Tuesday, 21 September 1869, p. 4)
(carte de visite photo: Disdéri, Paris, 1869)

‘THE NUDITARIAN RAGE ON THE PARIS STAGE. – The Paris correspondent of the New York Herald, describing the grand rehearsal of ”Poudre de Perlimpinpin,” at the Chatelet, observes:- There is a certain negligé about costume I will not dwell on. Some come in every day clothes, some in splendid costume; some, the ballet dancers, are in white muslin reminiscences, but that is not much. Then 260 women! For the real performance 2000 costumes! On the occasion of the rehearsals I had witnesses a few little whiffs of passion about costume, and I was anxious to see who had gained his or her point, the manager or the actress. One of the prettiest threatened to throw herself into the Seine if she had to put that ”bag” on, in which not a bit of her arms could be seen; another meant to cut the tailor’s throat if he insisted on making her unmentionables more than three inches below the knee; a third would twist the tenor’s neck round if the colour of her tights did not harmonise with that of her hair, and the manager told me that the whole army of men employed – gaslighters, choruses, mechanics, decorators, singers, in all 1200 – were easier to lead than these terrible women. The ”ugly” ones, he said, are as mild as lambs – they put on anything; but it is the pretty ones, with fine legs and tempers to match! Oh! -.-. The way he turned up the whites of his eyes at this is till present to my memory.’
(The Dundee Courier & Argus, Dundee, Scotland, Tuesday, 2 November 1869, p. 3d)

* * * * *

On 18 April 1870 Marguerite Debreux appeared as Mephisto at the Lyceum Theatre, London, in H.B. Farnie’s adaptation of Le Petit Faust (Little Faust), an opera bouffe with music by Hervé. Other members of the cast included Lennox Grey, Jennie Lee, and Ada Luxmore, with Emily Soldene as Marguerite, M. Marius as Siebel, Aynsley Cook as Valentine and Tom Maclagan as Faust.

‘… But if our Faust [Tom Maclagan] was awkward, the public were more than compensated by our Mephisto, our specially imported Mephisto, the beauteous Mdlle. Debreux. Chic and shapely, full of brand-new bouffeisms, she brought the air of the Boulevards with her, and came on tiny, tripping toes, armed with diabolical devices to break up all the women and capture all the men, with a perfect figure, no corsets, and a svelte waist that waved and swayed with every movement; with manicured pink nails an inch long, with a voice that cracked and creaked like a rusty signboard in half a gale of wine, and was never exactly there when wanted. But these vocal eccentricities were accompanied by such grace and gesture and perfect insinuation that a little thing like C sharp for D natural was considered quite the finest art. She was an immense success, and made us English girls just ”sit up,” and we felt very sick indeed… .’
(Emily Soldene, ‘My Theatrical and Musical Recollections,’ Chapter X, The Evening News Supplement, Sydney, NSW, Australia, Saturday, 20 March 1897, p. 2d)


Hanlon Brothers

April 4, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of three of the Hanlon Brothers, ‘the celebrated American gymnasts’
(photo: unknown, probably England, mid 1860s)

The Alhambra, London, company appears at the Theatre du Châtelet, Paris, including premier ballerina Giovannina Pitteri and the Hanlon Brothers, acrobats.
‘Echoes from Paris …
‘The Theatre du Châtelet has re-opened its doors for the performances of the London Alhambra. There are two ballets in which 100 danseuses, the stars of their profession, are headed, says the critic of the Petit Journal, by the star of stars, Mdlle. Pitteri. There are also pantomimic scenes of a diverting character, supported by capital clowns, of the greatest ”suppleness.” A comic ballet deserves especial notice. It is entitled Ki-ki-ko-oh-ki-key, and the most facetious member of the company plays in an ape’s skin. The ”Marseillaise” is sung by 100 vocalists, with a chorus of the audience. The Petit Journal, whose critic, according to custom, writes in the first person singular, thus notices the exhibition. ”I do justice to the acrobats, the gymnasiarchs, and the dancers of Mr. [Frederick] Strange, but I regret to see this fine theatre given up to such spectacles. The level of art was already low enough in the stage of the Châtelet, but a witty expression, a spicy couplet, indemnified the public for the silliness of the dialogue. But now the Châtelet only replaces the Hippodrome, without the equestrian exercises. It replaces the hippodrome very advantageously, I admit. Let gaiety and freedom from care once more be vouchsafed to us, and everyone will rush to see the performances of the brothers Hanlon, three truly surprising acrobats. I say three – rather two and a half – for one of the brothers, a nice little fellow, is hardly ten years of age. The feats of the Hanlon brothers are so marvellous and so daring that the managers thought proper to warn the public beforehand, lest the amphitheatre soul resound with the shrieks of terror.”’
(The Court Circular, London, 20 August 1870, pp. 784c-785a)