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La Bacchante; Thaïs

drame/play, pub:1858




From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     An opera comique in two acts. Never printed.
     Performed for the first time at the Opéra Comique on the 4th of November, 1858.
     The original libretto and score were both destroyed in a fire at the Salle Favart, but the Vicomte Spoelberch de Lovenjoul obtained a copy from the authors, and the setting of the music for the piano from M. Eugène Gautier. The latter is presumably among his collected MS. The former he allowed M. Glinel to copy, and that copy, after the dispersal of M. Glinel's library, was acquired for the Reed Dumas Collection. It is arranged as follows :—
     Two pages of introduction by M. Glinel, consisting mainly of the copy of a letter which he received from M. de Lovenjoul. This is followed hy a page bearing the inscription "La Bacchante. Acte 1er." The reverse of this is blank. Next comes a page thus worded : "A. de Leuven, A. de Beauplan (et A. Dumas Père). La Bacchante (Thais). Opéra Comique en 2 Actes. Représente pour la première fois sur le Théâtre de l'Opéra Comique, le 4 Novembre 1858." The verso of this leaf bears the caste and the place where the auction was supposed to take place: "La scene passe dans une villa près de Florence en 1550." There follow 45 pages consisting of the first act very neatly written out in M. Glinel's beautiful and fine script : these are written on both sides of the paper. Five pages precede the second act, blank save that upon one has been written in pencil "2e. Acte." This second act, of 19 pages, also written on both sides of the sheet, is less neat, as though more hurriedly done and with a coarser pen. Nicely bound, written on thin and not very tough paper, the MS. measures 250 by 170 mm.
     Dumas suggested the idea of a comic opera on "Thais" to de Leuven and de Beauplan. Glinel owned the first three scenes in Dumas' holograph. However, the three authors agreed to change both action and period, and "La Bacchante" was the result. It was written for Marie Cabel, and after three performances had to be withdrawn owing to the indisposition of the tenor Jourdan. As a consequence of the success of Meyerbeer's "Pardon de Ploermel," which succeeded it, and was also written for Madame Cabel, "La Bacchante" was not resumed, and, as stated, a fire destroyed the score.

         References :—
     Lecomte: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. 121 and 122.
     Glinel: "Théâtre Inconnu."—"Revue Biblio-Iconographique," Year 1898, page 515 ; Year 1899, page 7.

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