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Victorien Sardou

Victorien Sardou
Sardou in 1880
Born (1831-09-05)5 September 1831
Died 8 November 1908(1908-11-08) (aged 77)
Occupation Playwright
Nationality French
Period 19th-century
Genre Well-made play

Victorien Sardou (5 September 1831 – 8 November 1908) was a French dramatist. He is best remembered today for his development, along with Eugène Scribe, of the well-made play. He also wrote several plays that were made into popular 19th-century operas such as La Tosca (1887) on which Giacomo Puccini's opera Tosca (1900) is based, and Fedora by Umberto Giordano, a work that popularized the fedora hat as well.

Victorien was born in rue Beautreillis, Paris on 5 September 1831. The Sardous were settled at Le Cannet, a village near Cannes, where they owned an estate, planted with olive trees. A night's frost killed all the trees and the family was ruined. Victorien's father, Antoine Léandre Sardou, came to Paris in search of employment. He was in succession a book-keeper at a commercial establishment, a professor of book-keeping, the head of a provincial school, then a private tutor and a schoolmaster in Paris, besides editing grammars, dictionaries and treatises on various subjects. With all these occupations, he hardly succeeded in making a livelihood, and when he retired to his native country, Victorien was left on his own resources. He had begun studying medicine, but had to desist for want of funds. He taught French to foreign pupils: he also gave lessons in Latin, history and mathematics to students, and wrote articles for cheap encyclopaedias.

At the same time he was trying to make headway in the literary world. His talents had been encouraged by an old , Mme de Bawl, who had published novels and enjoyed some reputation in the days of the Restoration, but she could do little for her protégé. Victorien Sardou made efforts to attract the attention of Mlle Rachel, and to win her support by submitting to her a drama, La Reine Ulfra, founded on an old Swedish chronicle. A play of his, La Taverne des étudiants, was produced at the Odéon on 1 April 1854, but met a stormy reception, owing to a rumour that the débutant had been instructed and commissioned by the government to insult the students. La Taverne was withdrawn after five nights. Another drama by Sardou, Bernard Palissy, was accepted at the same theatre, but the arrangement was cancelled in consequence of a change in the management. A Canadian play, Fleur de Liane, would have been produced at the Ambigu but for the death of the manager. Le Bossu, which he wrote for Charles Albert Fechter, did not satisfy the actor; and when the play was successfully produced, the nominal authorship, by some unfortunate arrangement, had been transferred to other men. Sardou submitted to Adolphe Lemoine, manager of the Gymnase, a play entitled Paris à l'envers, which contained the love scene, afterwards so famous, in Nos Intimes. Montigny thought fit to consult Eugène Scribe, who was revolted by the scene in question.

  • La Taverne des étudiants (1854)
  • Les Premières Armes de Figaro (1859), with Emile Vanderbuch
  • Les Gens nerveux (1859), with Théodore Barrière
  • Les Pattes de mouche (A Scrap of Paper; 1860)
  • Monsieur Garat (1860)
  • Les Femmes fortes (1860)
  • L'écureuil (1861)
  • L'Homme aux pigeons (1861), as Jules Pélissié
  • Onze Jours de siège (1861)
  • Piccolino (1861), with Charles-Louis-Etienne Nuitter and music by Ernest Guiraud
  • Nos Intimes! (1861)
  • Chez Bonvalet (1861), as Jules Pélissié with Henri Lefebvre
  • La Papillonne (1862)
  • La Perle Noire (The Black Pearl; 1862)
  • Les Prés Saint-Gervais (1862), with Philippe Gille and music by Charles Lecocq
  • Les Ganaches (1862)
  • Bataille d'amour (1863), with Karl Daclin and music by Auguste Emmanuel Vaucorbeil
  • Les Diables noirs (1863)
  • Le Dégel (1864)
  • Don Quichotte (1864), rearranged by Sardou and Charles-Louis-Etienne Nuitter and music by Maurice Renaud
  • Les Pommes du voisin (1864)
  • Le Capitaine Henriot (1864), by Sardou and Gustave Vaez, music by François-Auguste Gevaert
  • Les Vieux Garçons (1865)
  • Les Ondines au Champagne (1865), as Jules Pélissié with Henri Lefebvre, music by Charles Lecocq
  • La Famille Benoîton (1865)
  • Les Cinq Francs d'un bourgeois de Paris (1866), with Dunan Mousseux and Jules Pélissié
  • Nos Bons Villageois (1866)
  • Maison neuve (1866)
  • Séraphine (1868)
  • Patrie! (Fatherland) (1869), later revised in 1886 with music by Emile Paladilhe
  • Fernande (1870)
  • Le roi Carotte (1872), music by Jacques Offenbach
  • Les Vieilles Filles (1872), with Charles de Courcy
  • Andréa (1873)
  • L’Oncle Sam (Uncle Sam; 1873)
  • Les Merveilleuses (1873), music by Félix Hugo
  • Le Magot (1874)
  • La Haine (Hatred; 1874), music by Jacques Offenbach
  • Ferréol (1875)
  • L'Hôtel Godelot (1876), with Henri Crisafulli
  • Dora (1877)
  • Les Exilés (1877), with Gregorij Lubomirski and Eugène Nus
  • Les Bourgeois de Pont-Arcy (1878)
  • Les Noces de Fernande (1878), with Émile de Najac and music by Louis-Pierre Deffès
  • Daniel Rochat (1880)
  • Divorçons! (Let’s Get a Divorce; 1880), with Émile de Najac
  • Odette (1881)
  • Fédora (1882)
  • Théodora (1884), later revised in 1907 with Paul Ferrier and music by Xavier Leroux
  • Georgette (1885)
  • Le Crocodile (1886), with music by Jules Massenet
  • La Tosca (1887)
  • Marquise (1889)
  • Belle-Maman (1889), with Raymond Deslandes
  • Cléopâtre (1890), with Émile Moreau and music by Xavier Leroux
  • Thermidor (1891)
  • Madame Sans-Gêne (1893), with Émile Moreau
  • Gismonda (1894)
  • Marcelle (1895)
  • Spiritisme (1897)
  • Paméla (1898)
  • Robespierre (1899)
  • La Fille de Tabarin (1901), with Paul and music by Gabriel Pierné
  • Les Barbares (1901), with Pierre-Barthélemy Gheusi, music by Camille Saint-Saëns
  • Dante (1903), with Émile Moreau
  • La Sorcière (The Sorceress; 1903)
  • Fiorella (1905), with Pierre-Barthélemy Gheusi and music by Amherst Webber
  • L'Espionne (1906)
  • La Pisie (1906)
  • L'Affaire des Poisons (1908), as Jules Pélissié
  • Rabàgas (1872)
  • Daniel Rochet (1880)
  • Blanche Roosevelt (2009) Victorien Sardou BiblioLife
  • Stephen Sadler Stanton (1990) Camille and Other Plays: A Peculiar Position; The Glass of Water; La Dame aux Camelias; Olympe's Marriage; A Scrap of Paper Hill and Wang
  • McCormick, John. 1998. "Sardou, Victorien." In The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Ed. Martin Banham. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 964. .
  • Lacour, L. 1880. Trois théâtres.
  • Matthews, Brander. 1881. French Dramatists. New York.
  • Doumic, R. 1895. Écrivains d'aujourd'hui. Paris.
  • Sarcey, F. 1901. Quarante ans de théâtre. Vol. 6.


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