Napoleon Bonaparte and his epoch
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Sardou Victorien
Madame Sans-Gêne

Sardou Victorien(18311908) Madame Sans-Gêne

French dramatist. Author of some 70 plays, he won great popularity with his light comedies and pretentious historical pieces, but his reputation later declined. His best farce comedy is Divorçons! (1880, tr. 1881). Among his semihistorical melodramas are Patrie! (1869, tr. 1915) and Fédora (1882, tr. 1883), in which Sarah Bernhardt made her triumphant return to the Paris stage. Sardou's other plays written for her are La Tosca (1887, tr. 1925), the source of Puccini's opera, and Cléopâtre (1890). Two plays written for Sir Henry Irving, Robespierre (1899) and Dante (1903), were never given in French. Also among his plays in a lighter vein is Madame Sans-Gêne (1893, tr. 1901). Sardou was attacked for plagiarism but defended himself successfully. He was elected to the French Academy.

Madame Sans-Gêne, written with Moreau in 1893, is a lighter comedy which became extremely popular at the end of the century and presents the parvenu in a way that was more suitable for a middle-class public. In this case the parvenu, in fact, is a woman and is portrayed with a friendly and good-natured character: Catherine, the duchess of Danzig, is a woman of the people who married marshal Lefebvre. She is an unaffected and open woman even when she enters the court of France and is loved by the public as she expresses and does not hide her popular origins that most of the spectators who loved Sardou's works shared.

Bulgaria, 1947, Save Ogyanov as Napoleon


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