Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/254

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


238 VENTADOUE, THEATRE.

dour, opened in 1640 as the Rue St. Victor, took the name it still bears in 167 2. l The Theatre was built to replace the Salle Feydeau, and a new street being planned to run from the Rue des Petits Champs to the Rue Neuve St. Augustin, and to be called the Rue Neuve Ventadour, it was decided to place the theatre in the middle of the street and call it by the same name. The street in which the principal facade stands is now called Rue Me'hul, and that ,at the back Rue Monsigny. The building was erected by the architect Huve', superintended by M. de Guerchy, and cost, including site, 4,620,000 francs (184,800) which was paid for out of the Civil List, and it was sold to a company of speculators for 2,000,000 franca (80,000) ; a disastrous transaction, in keeping with much of the financial history of the Theatre Ventadour.

The company of the Opera Comique left the old Salle Feydeau for its new quarters on Easter Monday, April 20, 1829. The audience, a very distinguished one, expressed great satisfaction with the luxury and comfort which pervaded the new Theatre Royal. The programme on the opening night included ' Les deux Mousque- taires,' by Berton ; Me'hul's overture to ' Le jeune Henri/ and 'La Fiancee,' a three-act opera by Scribe and Auber. In spite of this happy commencement the theatre was destined to frequent collapses, and after two years of vicissitudes the company were obliged to move to the Theatre des Nouveautds in the Place de la Bourse, where they performed for the first time Sept. 22, 1832. During the two years they played a considerable number of new works, such as Boieldieu's last opera, ' Les deux Nuits ' (May 20, 1829); 'Fra Diavolo,' first given as ' L'H6tellerie de Terracine' (Jan. 28, 1830), and 'Zampa' (May 3, 1831). The theatre reopened June 10, 1834, as the Theatre Nautique, with 'real water' on the stage. The Theatre Nautique came to an end early in 1835, and the Theatre Ventadour was resuscitated (Jan. 30, 1838) for an Italian company cast adrift by the burning of the Salle Favart, and com- prising Rubini and Zamboni, Lablache, Tam- burini, Morelli, Grisi, Persian! and Albertazzi ; but only one opera new to the French, ' Parisina,' was given before the season closed (March 31).

With the autumn of 1 838 the theatre again changed its name, and entered on a new but still struggling existence as the Theatre de la Renaissance. Antdnor Joly, the new director, aimed at maintaining a third French lyric theatre in Paris, and produced during two years, be- sides plays by Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Casimir Delavigne, 'Lady Melvil' (Nov. J5> 1838), Albert Grisar's first opera; Doni- zetti's ' Lucie de Lammermoor' (Aug. 6, 1839), translated into French by A. Royer and G. Vaez ; and 'La chaste Susanne' (Dec. 27, 1839), the best work of Monpou. The charming Anna Thillon, who had a brilliant career in France before returning to her native England, appeared

i It begins at No. 26 In the Avenue de 1'Opura, and ends at No. 07 in the liue des 1'etits Champs.

��VEPRES SICILIENNES, LES.

in all three operas with striking success. [See THILLON.]

From Oct. 2, 1841, to the 'annde terrible,' 1870-71, the Theatre ^Ventadour became the rendezvous of the Paris plutocracy, as well as of the amateurs of Italian music. The building, rearranged by Charpentier, was perfect and most commodious, the pit was converted into orchestral stalls, and open to ladies as well as gentlemen. Many an impresario looked to making a fortune by this Italian theatre, and among those who made the attempt we may mention Lumley, Calzado, Bagier, and Strakosch. The list of dis- tinguished singers heard here during twenty years of more or less continuous prosperity em- braces the great artists of that time almost with- out exception. Besides the old repertoire, these artists introduced to the Paris world all Verdi's operas, the favourite works of Mercadante, Donizetti, and other modern masters, and a few complete novelties. Among the latter, written or translated expressly for the Theatre Venta- dour, we will only specify Rossini's ' Stabat Mater ' (Jan. 7, 1842) ; ' Don Pasquale ' (Jan. 4, 1843; Flotow's ' Marta' (Feb. n, 1858), and 'Stradella' (Feb. 19, 1863). Here, too, Vieux- temps, Sivori, Liszt, Mme. Pleyel, Emile Pru- dent, and other celebrated artists gave their best concerts ; Berlioz produced his ' Harold en Italic,' the ' Francs Juges,' and ' Carnaval Ro- main' overtures (May 3, 1844) > Felicien David conducted the 'Desert' (Dec. 28, 1844) w ^ a enormous success ; and Wagner produced frag- ments from ' Tannhauser,' * Tristan und Isolde,* and 'Lohengrin' (Jan. 25 and 31, 1860).

From the war of 1870-71 till its final close on Jan. n, 1879, the Theatre Ventadour had a hard struggle against the indifference of the public. Several fruitless attempts were made to resuscitate the taste for Italian music. The most interesting events of this last period were the rival performances by the French Ope*ra (begin- ning Jan. 19, 1874) and the Italian artists, after the burning of the Salle Le Peletier ; the first performance of ' A'ida' (April 22, 1876); and of Verdi's 'Requiem' (May 30, 1876) ; the trans- formation of the Italian theatre into the French Theatre Lyrique, and the representation of the Marquis d'lvry's opera 'LesAmants deVe'rone* (Oct. 12, 1878). On Jan. 20, 1879, the Theatre Ventadour was sold to a financial company, and its pediment, still decorated with statues of the Muses, now bears the words ' Banque d'escompte de Paris,' a truly exasperating sight.

There is an excellent 'Histoire du Theatre Ventadour' (large 8vo, 162 pp., 1881), by the lamented Octave Fouque (born 1844), who died in 1883, just as he had attained the first rank among French musical critics. [G.C.]

VENTIL is the German term for the valve in brass instruments. * Ventilhorn ' and ' Ventil- trompet ' are therefore equivalent to Valve-horn and Valve-trumpet. [See VALVE; p. 215.] [G.]

VEPRES SICILIENNES, LES. Opera in 5 acts ; libretto by Scribe and Duveyrier, musio by Verdi. Produced June 13, 1855, at the

�� �