Astruc, Gabriel. (1864 - 1938)
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Important Typed Letter, defending the "French-ness" of the Théatre des Champs Elysées
A highly intersting letter from the influential French playwright, journalist, theatre director and impresario, who supervised many important Ballets Russes programs, including the premiere of "Le Sacre du Printemps."
1 page. 13 October, 1933. Paris. Addressed to the Director of "Quotidien." Signed, "Gabriel Astruc." On onionskin paper, usual folds, overall fine. In French, in full: "Your collaborator 'Mr. de Paris' wrote the following sentence in a recent issue of Quotidien: 'He (Mr. Mistler) would like Favart Hall to be moved to the beautiful theatre on the avenue Montaigne that was originally built by Mr. Gabriel Astruc to house Wagnerian sounds.' Please allow me to remind you that the Théatre des Champs Elysées opened on 30 April, 1913 with a program of French music: Saint-Saens, Vincent d'Indy, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas conducted their own works on that evening; that the following day, 1 May, the curtain came up on a series of performances of Benvenuto Cellini, by French composer Hector Berlioz --Benvenuto, which had not been performed in Paris in more than 30 years. Then there was Pénélope, by Gabriel Fauré, one of the works that best honors our national art; La Péri by Paul Dukas; Jeux, La Mer, les Sirènes, by Claude Debussy; Le Cygne, by Saint-Saens, created at avenue Montaigne by Pavlova; Les Trois Masques by Charles Meré and Isidore de Lara; Boris Godounow and Khovantchina, by Moussorgski, Weber's Freischutz, which is on the repertory of every opera house in the world, Lucie de Lammermoor and the Barber of Seville. Can anyone hear in the above list any of the 'Wagnerian sounds' mentioned in your collaborator's article? Is it too much to ask that you publish this letter and help me destroy a legend that is not shameful, in any way, but that, as with most legends, is somewhat too close to fantasy or even untruth? Do trust, Mr. Director, in my sincere respects, Gabriel Astruc. Founder and first director of the Théatre des Champs Elysées."