Edmond Rostand

Edmond Eugène Alexis Rostand (French: [ʁɔstɑ̃]; 1 April 1868 – 2 December 1918) was a French poet and dramatist. He is associated with neo-romanticism and is known best for his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Rostand's romantic plays contrasted with the naturalistic theatre popular during the late nineteenth century. Another of Rostand's works, Les Romanesques, was adapted to the musical comedy The Fantasticks.

Edmond Rostand
Edmond Rostand en habit vert 01
Rostand in the uniform of the Académie française, 1905
BornEdmond Eugène Alexis Rostand
1 April 1868
Marseille, France
Died2 December 1918 (aged 50)
Paris, France
OccupationPoet, playwright
SpouseRosemonde Gérard
ChildrenJean Rostand
Maurice Rostand
GenreNeo Romanticism
Magnum opusCyrano de Bergerac

Early life

Rostand was born in Marseille, France, into a wealthy and cultured Provençal family. His father was an economist, a poet who translated and edited the works of Catullus,[1] and a member of the Marseille Academy and the Institut de France. Rostand studied literature, history, and philosophy at the Collège Stanislas in Paris, France.


When Rostand was twenty years old, his first play, a one-act comedy, Le Gant rouge, was performed at the Cluny Theatre, 24 August 1888, but it was almost unnoticed.[1]

In 1890, Rostand published a volume of poems called Les Musardises.[2]

A burlesque, Les Romanesques, was produced on 21 May 1894, at the Théâtre Français; it would be adapted in 1960 by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt into the long-running American musical The Fantasticks.

Another early play, La Princesse Lointaine, was based on the story of the 12th-century troubadour Jaufre Rudel and Hodierna of Jerusalem (who is the archetypal princesse lointaine character). This play opened on 5 April 1895, at the Théâtre de la Renaissance. The part of Mélissinde (based on Hodierna's daughter Melisende of Tripoli) was created by Sarah Bernhardt but the play was not particularly successful. When Berhardt performed it in London later the same year, it received a bad review from George Bernard Shaw but this was not surprising considering Shaw's bias for realism.[1] Rambaldo di Vaqueiras: I Monferrato, 1922 1922 verse drama by Nino Berrini(it) is based on La Princesse Lointaine.

Bernhardt also was the original Photine of Rostand's La Samaritaine (Theatre de la Renaissance, 14 April 1897), a Biblical drama in three scenes adapted from the gospel story of the woman of Samaria. While not a huge success, Rostand felt satisfied that he had proven to the public that he was something more than a writer of comedies.[1]

Edmond Rostand 001
Edmond Rostand, aged 29, at the time of the first performance of Cyrano, 1898

The production of his heroic comedy Cyrano de Bergerac (28 December 1897, Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin), with Benoît-Constant Coquelin in the title role, was a triumph. The first production lasted for more than 300 consecutive nights.[1] No such enthusiasm for a drama in verse had been known since the time of Hugo's Hernani. The play was quickly translated into English, German, Russian and other European languages. For his hero, he had drawn on French 17th-century history.

For the play L'Aiglon, he chose a subject from Napoleonic history, suggested probably by Henri Welschinger's Roi de Rome, 1811–32 (1897), which contained much new information about the unhappy life of the Duke of Reichstadt, son of Napoleon I, and Marie Louise, surveilled by agents of Metternich at the Schönbrunn Palace. L'Aiglon, in six acts and in verse, was produced (15 March 1900) by Sarah Bernhardt at her own theatre, she herself performing the part of the Duke of Reichstadt.[3]

In 1902, Rostand became the youngest writer to be elected to the Académie française. He relocated to Provence in 1903 and for the next seven years worked on his next play Chantecler.[2] Produced in February 1910, it was awaited with an interest, enhanced by considerable delay in the production, hardly equaled by the enthusiasm of its reception. Lucien Guitry was in the title role and Mme. Simone played the part of the pheasant, the play being a fantasy of bird and animal life, and the characters, denizens of the farmyard and the woods.

There were two unfinished and unpublished plays – Yorick and Les Petites Manies.[4]

Personal life

Edmond Rostand Vanity Fair 1901-06-20
Rostand by Guth in 1901

Rostand was married to the poet and playwright Rosemonde-Étienette Gérard who, in 1890, published Les Pipeaux: a volume of verse commended by the Academy. The couple had two sons, Jean and Maurice.

During the 1900s, Rostand came to live in the Villa Arnaga in Cambo-les-Bains in the French Basque Country, seeking a cure for his pleurisy. The house is now a heritage site and a museum of Rostand's life and Basque architecture and crafts. Rostand died in 1918, a victim of the flu pandemic, and is buried in the Cimetière de Marseille.[3]


  • Le Gant rouge, 1888 (The Red Glove)
  • Les Musardises, 1890
  • Les Deux Pierrots, ou Le Souper blanc (The Two Pierrots, or The White Supper), 1891
  • Les Romanesques,[5][6] 1894 (basis for the 1960 off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks)
  • La Princesse Lointaine (The Princess Far-Away),[7][8] 1895
  • La Samaritaine (The Woman of Samaria), 1897
  • Cyrano de Bergerac, 1897
  • L'Aiglon: A Play in Six Acts. 1900
  • Chantecler: A Play in Four Acts, 1910
  • La Dernière Nuit de Don Juan (The Last Night of Don Juan, in Poetic Drama), 1921
  • Le Cantique de L'Aile, 1922
  • Le Vol de la Marseillaise, 1922

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e William Lyon Phelps (1921) Essays on Modern Dramatists, Macmillan, New York
  2. ^ a b Annual Register for the Year 1918 (1919) Longmans, Green and Company, London – New York
  3. ^ a b "Feature: Edmond Rostand". Sydney Theatre Company. 1 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  4. ^ Contemporary Authors Online (2003) Gale, Detroit
  5. ^ Edmond Rostand (1903) Les Romanesques: comédie en trois actes, en vers (Google eBook) (in French)
  6. ^ Edmond Rostand (1915) The Romancers: Comedy in Three Acts, translated by Barrett H. Clark, Samuel French (Google eBook)
  7. ^ Edmond Rostand (1909) La Princesse Lointaine, Charpentier et Fasquelle, Paris (Google eBook) (in French)
  8. ^ Edmond Rostand (1921) The Princess Far-away: A Romantic Tragedy in Four Acts, translated by Anna Emilia Bagstad, R.G. Badger, Boston (Google eBook)


  • Edmond Rostand: Cyrano de Bergerac, Nick Hern Books, London, 1991. ISBN 978-1-85459-117-3
  • Henry James in vol. 84, pp. 477 seq. The Cornhill Magazine.
  • Marcel Migeo: Les Rostand, Paris, Stock, 1973. About Edmond, his wife Rosemonde, and their sons Jean and Maurice Rostand.
  • Sue Lloyd: The Man who was Cyrano, a Life of Edmond Rostand, Creator of 'Cyrano de Bergerac', UK, Genge Press, 2003, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9549043-1-9

External links

Chantecler (play)

Chantecler is a verse play in four acts written by Edmond Rostand. The play is notable in that all the characters are farmyard animals including the main protagonist, a chanticleer, or rooster. The play centers on the theme of idealism and spiritual sincerity, as contrasted with cynicism and artificiality. Much of the play satirizes modernist artistic doctrines from Rostand's romanticist perspective.

Cyrano, el musical

Cyrano, el musical is a Mexican musical based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. The book and lyrics are by Lorenzo Gonzalez. The music is by David Tort. It was the first Mexican musical written in verse, based upon the Spanish translation from the French.

Cyrano (musical)

Cyrano is a musical with a book and lyrics by Anthony Burgess and music by Michael J. Lewis.

Based on Edmond Rostand's classic 1897 play of the same name, it focuses on a love triangle involving the large-nosed poetic Cyrano de Bergerac, his beautiful cousin Roxana, and his classically handsome but inarticulate friend Christian de Neuvillette who, unaware of Cyrano's unrequited passion for Roxana, imposes upon him to provide the romantic words he can use to woo her successfully in mid-17th century Paris.

In the early 1960s, David Merrick had announced plans to produce a musical entitled Cyrano with a score by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, but nothing came of the project. Burgess had translated the Rostand play for the Guthrie in Minneapolis, and director Michael Langham suggested he adapt it for a musical version. Burgess joined forces with film composer Lewis, replacing dialogue in his play with musical numbers, and the completed work was staged at the Guthrie, again with Langham at the helm.

Following a tryout in Boston's Colonial Theatre and five previews, the Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd, opened on May 13, 1973 at the Palace Theatre, where it ran for 49 performances. The cast included Christopher Plummer as Cyrano, Leigh Beery as Roxana, and Mark Lamos as Christian, with Tovah Feldshuh making her Broadway debut in two small supporting roles.

Plummer won the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance, and Beery was Tony-nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

An original cast recording LP was released by A&M Records in 1973. An original cast recording CD was released by Decca Records in 2005.

In September 1994, an abridged version of the musical was staged at The Newport Arts Center in Orange County, California. Directed by Kent Johnson, and starring John Huntington as Cyrano and Deirdre McGill as Roxanne. One song, "You Have Made Me Love", released on a Broadway standards album sung by McGill.

Cyrano (opera)

Cyrano is an opera in three acts by David DiChiera (orchestration: Mark Flint) to a libretto in French by Bernard Uzan, based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. The opera premiered on 13 October 2007 at the Michigan Opera Theatre. It was then given February 8 to 17, 2008, at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Florida Grand Opera presented the work in April 2011. The opera was revived November 4, 2017 by Opera Carolina with an additional performance scheduled for November 9.

Cyrano de Bergerac (1946 film)

Cyrano de Bergerac is a 1946 French romantic comedy film directed by Fernand Rivers and starring Claude Dauphin, Ellen Bernsen and Pierre Bertin. It is based on the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand.

Cyrano de Bergerac (2008 film)

Cyrano de Bergerac is a 2008 made-for-television adaptation of the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand, starring Kevin Kline as Cyrano, Jennifer Garner as his cousin Roxanne, and Daniel Sunjata as Christian. The production captures the 2007 Broadway revival, recorded before a live audience. The film was first broadcast on PBS' Great Performances on 7 January 2009.

Cyrano de Bergerac (Alfano)

Cyrano de Bergerac is a four-act opera with music by Franco Alfano, and libretto by Henri Caïn, based on Edmond Rostand's drama Cyrano de Bergerac.

Cyrano de Bergerac (play)

Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. Although there was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, the play is a fictionalisation following the broad outlines of his life.

The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets of twelve syllables per line, very close to the classical alexandrine form, but the verses sometimes lack a caesura. It is also meticulously researched, down to the names of the members of the Académie française and the dames précieuses glimpsed before the performance in the first scene.

The play has been translated and performed many times, and is responsible for introducing the word "panache" into the English language. Cyrano (the character) is in fact famed for his panache, and he himself makes reference to "my panache" in the play. The two most famous English translations are those by Brian Hooker and Anthony Burgess.

Cyrano de Bergerac The Musical

Cyrano de Bergerac - The Musical is a musical with a book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and music by Frank Wildhorn. It is based on the play of the same title by Edmond Rostand.


Edmond is a given name related to Edmund. Persons named Edmond include:

Edmond Canaple

Edmond de Goncourt

Edmond Halley

Edmond Haxhinasto

Edmond Maire

Edmond Rostand

Edmond James de Rothschild

Edmond O'Brien

Edmond Panariti

Edmond Robinson


L'Aiglon is a play in six acts by Edmond Rostand based on the life of Napoleon II, who was the son of Emperor Napoleon I and his second wife, Empress Marie Louise. The title of the play comes from a nickname for Napoleon II, the French word for "eaglet" (a young eagle).

The title role was created by Sarah Bernhardt in the play's premiere on 15 March 1900 at the Théàtre Sarah Bernhardt. In October of the same year, the play (in an English translation by Louis N. Parker) premiered at New York's Knickerbocker Theatre, with Maude Adams in the title role.

Its first performance in London was at His Majesty's Theatre in 1901, with Bernhardt again playing the leading role. Rostand had written L'Aiglon specifically for Bernhardt, and it became one of her signature roles.

Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert composed an opera in five acts, also with the title L'Aiglon, to a libretto by Henri Cain, based on Rostand's play. It was first performed at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in 1937.

L'Aiglon (opera)

L'Aiglon is an opera (drame musical) in five acts composed by Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert. Honegger composed Acts II, III, and IV, with Ibert composing Acts I and V. A 2016 reviewer described it as "a singular piece of work" with its "blend of operetta, divertissement, conversation piece, historical pageant and, in the disturbingly powerful fourth act set on the Napoleonic battlefield at Wagram, phantasmagoria peopled with living figures onstage and dead voices off".

Princesse lointaine

A princess lointaine or princesse lointaine, (in French, "distant princess") is a stock character of an unattainable loved figure.

The name comes from the play La Princesse Lointaine by Edmond Rostand (1895), and draws on medieval romances. The romantic interest of many knights errant, she was usually a woman of much higher birth, often far distant from the knight, and usually wealthier than he was, beautiful, and of admirable character. Some knights had, indeed, fallen in love with the princess owing to hearing descriptions of her, without seeing her, as tales said Jaufré Rudel had fallen in love with Hodierna of Tripoli. Amour de loin ("Love from long away") is a term used in romances and their study.

The term has been used subsequently to refer to women whose chief characteristic as love interests has been their unattainability. It may also be used metaphorically for unattainable objects or targets of various sorts.

In the analysis of Courtly Love: "at times, the lady could be a princesse lointaine, a far-away princess, and some tales told of men who had fallen in love with women whom they had never seen, merely on hearing their perfection described, but normally she was not so distant. As the etiquette of courtly love became more complicated, the knight might wear the colors of his lady: where blue or black were sometimes the colors of faithfulness, green could be a sign of unfaithfulness. Salvation, previously found in the hands of the priesthood, now came from the hands of one's lady".

The Duke of Reichstadt

The Duke of Reichstadt (German: Der Herzog von Reichstadt) is a 1931 French-German historical drama film directed by Viktor Tourjansky and starring Walter Edthofer, Lien Deyers and Grete Natzler. It is the German-language version of the French film The Eaglet, based on the play L'Aiglon by Edmond Rostand. It takes its name from the formal Austrian title of Napoleon II, its central character.

The film's sets were designed by Serge Piménoff.

The Eaglet (1913 film)

The Eaglet (French:L'aiglon) is a 1913 French silent historical film directed by Emile Chautard. It is an adaptation of the play L'Aiglon by Edmond Rostand, which portrays the life of Napoleon II.

The Eaglet (1931 film)

The Eaglet (French: L'aiglon) is a 1931 French historical drama film directed by Viktor Tourjansky and starring Jean Weber, Victor Francen and Henri Desfontaines. It is an adaptation of the play L'Aiglon by Edmond Rostand, which portrays the life of Napoleon II.

A separate German-language version The Duke of Reichstadt was also made. It was directed by Tourjansky but featuring a different cast.

The film's sets were designed by the art director Serge Piménoff.

The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks is a 1960 musical with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones. It tells an allegorical story, loosely based on the play The Romancers (Les Romanesques) by Edmond Rostand, concerning two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud.

The show's original Off-Broadway production ran a total of 42 years (until 2002) and 17,162 performances, making it the world's longest-running musical. The musical was produced by Lore Noto. It was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1991. The poetic book and breezy, inventive score, including such familiar songs as "Try to Remember", helped make the show durable. Many productions followed, as well as television and film versions. The Fantasticks has become a staple of regional, community and high school productions since its premiere, with approximately 250 new productions each year. It is played with a small cast, two- to three-person orchestra and minimalist set design.

The show was revived off-Broadway from 2006 to 2017. As of 2010, its original investors had earned 240 times their original investments. The musical has played throughout the US and in at least 67 foreign countries.

The Fantasticks (film)

The Fantasticks is a 1995 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie. The screenplay by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt is based on their record-breaking off-Broadway production of the same name, which ran for 17,162 performances (and was subsequently revived off-Broadway).

Though it was made in 1995, the film did not see a proper, though very limited, release until 2000 in an abridged form. It received mixed reviews from critics.

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