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Harel, Charles-Jean (1790-1846)



Directeur du théâtre de l'Odéon (Second Théâtre Français) du 1er septembre 1829 au 1er avril 1832.

"He was an ardent Bonapartist and fiercely defended Soissons as Napoleon's Viceroy there. Harel was forced into exile for nearly eight years after the Bourbon Restoration. His mistress was Mlle. Georges. He took over the impoverished Odéon Theatre and immediately made some changes. He was famous for obtaining financing and avoiding his creditors -- once by running across the stage by disappearing through a trap door. He was personally rather unclean and unkempt. Dumas said he was even given a pig which he adored and allowed to sleep in his bed. Dumas' Memoirs contain a lot of interesting information about him. Some material is available on line in my article on Napoleon. Harel wrote a financially disastrous play called Le Success which he authored around the time of his close association with Dumas. He found it harder and harder to manage the theatre successfully because of Mlle. George's extravagances and volatile behavior, but he loved her and struggled on manfully. He wrote a prize winning essay on Voltaire. Eventually he went insane and fell under the delusion that he was Bossuet (of all people)." -- Frank Morlock



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