Opera Scotland

Victorien Sardou Suggest updates

Born 1831.

Died 1908.

French dramatist and librettist.

Victorien Sardou was the most commercially prominent French playwright of his period, enjoying great success both with serious drama and comedy, even farce.

Sarah Bernhardt had vehicles written for her by Sardou on a number of occasions. His plays enjoyed enduring success in his lifetime, but they quickly disappeared from the stage after his death.

Shaw was not alone in regarding his work with contempt, as competently crafted but essentially cardboard.

A comedy, Les Pattes de mouche (1860), having been very successful in France, was translated as A Scrap of Paper, repeating its success over many years in Britain. Later successes include Dora (1877), translated as Diplomacy, and Divorçons (1880), translated as Let's Get a Divorce.

Sardou's Napoleonic period historical drama Madame Sand-Gêne (1893) became a favourite vehicle for Ellen Terry.

However, two of Sardou's most notable melodramas were Fédora (1882) and La Tosca (1887), both completely obliterated for posterity through the later operatic adaptations by Giordano and Puccini respectively. It is for his contribution to these, particularly Puccini's 'shabby liittle shocker' that Sardou is best remembered today.

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