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From Hugo’s "Hernani" and "Le roi s’amuse" to Verdi’s "Ernani" and "Rigoletto" : new directions in theatre… Gordon, Christopher William 1997

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FROM  HUGO'S  HERNANI  RIGOLETTO;  AND  NEW  LE  ROI  S'AMUSE  DIRECTIONS  IN  TO  VERDI'S  T H E A T R E AND  ERNANI  AND  MUSIC  by  CHRISTOPHER  B.A.,  THESIS  SUBMITTED  WILLIAM  GORDON  The U n i v e r s i t y of V i c t o r i a ,  IN  THE  PARTIAL  DEGREE  F U L F I L L M E N T OF  OF  MASTERS  OF  1984  THE  REQUIREMENTS  FOR  ARTS  in  THE  F A C U L T Y OF  GRADUATE  STUDIES  (Department of French) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o ^ h e r e q u i r e d  THE  UNIVERSITY  OF  March  BRITISH  COLUMBIA  1997  ©Christopher William•Gordon, 1997  standard  In  presenting  degree freely  at  this  the  University  available  copying  of  department publication  for  this or of  thesis  this  of  reference  thesis by  in  for  his thesis  partial  fulfilment  British  Columbia,  and  scholarly  or  her  for  DE-6  (2/88)  is  not  the  that  of  "jr~hCV<.fl\  /Vfltj  Columbia 1  IS j ^ J  Library  by  understood be  for  permission  granted  allowed V  The University of British Vancouver, Canada  Date  representatives. ' It shall  that  agree be  gain  requirements  I agree  I further  purposes  the  may  financial  permission.  Department  study.  of  /  an  advanced  shall for  the that  without  make  it  extensive  head  of  my  copying  or  my  written  ii ABSTRACT  In t h i s t h e s i s I propose t o examine the p r o c e s s by which romantic dramas of V i c t o r Hugo--Hemani and transformed f i r s t then i n t o - o p e r a s  Le Roi  s'amuse--were  i n t o l i b r e t t i by F r a n c e s c o M a r i a Piave, by Giuseppe V e r d i .  Most s c h o l a r s and  and  critics  agree t h a t P i a v e ' s and V e r d i ' s a d a p t a t i o n s  of Hugo's p l a y s  the more s u c c e s s f u l as dramatic works, and  one  i s t o i l l u s t r a t e why  t h i s judgement has  S i n c e both the p l a y s and  of my  are  objectives  been made.  the operas i n q u e s t i o n  of European romanticism, they are i n f u s e d w i t h the  are  products  revolutionary  spirit  t h a t c h a r a c t e r i z e s many of the a r t i s t i c endeavours of  time.  S i n c e both Hugo's and V e r d i ' s  politically  subversive,  censorship.  Thus, my  and V e r d i p l a y e d artistic My  i t was  a r t was  subjected  o f t e n viewed  the  as  to o f f i c i a l s c r u t i n y  second main o b j e c t i v e i s t o show how  and  Hugo  a c t i v e r o l e s i n the s t r u g g l e f o r p o l i t i c a l  freedom i n n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y  two  and  European s o c i e t y .  approach throughout the t h e s i s i s p r i m a r i l y h i s t o r i c a l ,  s i n c e the a r t i s t i c c r e a t i o n s of both Hugo and V e r d i were c l e a r l y a r e f l e c t i o n of the s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l times.  upheavals of  their  iii TABLE  OF  CONTENTS  Abstract  p. i i  Table o f Contents  p.  Introduction  p. 1  Chapter 1 - La Bataille  Chapter 2 - Ernani  d' Hernani  involami:  i i i  p. 5  I t a l i a n Romantic Opera  and the Risorgimento  Chapter 3 - Le R o i s'amuse: Le Waterloo  p. 23  du Romantisme.... p. 35  Chapter 4 - Le R o i s'amuse and Rictoletto: From  f a i l u r e t o success  p. 54  Conclusion  p. 83  Bibliography  p. 90  1 INTRODUCTION  In the n i n e t e e n t h  century,  the v a s t m a j o r i t y of  Italian  operas were based upon the l i t e r a t u r e of o t h e r c o u n t r i e s , France,  England and Germany.  i n t r o d u c t i o n t o The  notably  As J u l i a n Budden s t a t e s i n h i s  Operas of V e r d i : "Besides  the dramas of  S c h i l l e r , Shakespeare, Byron and Hugo, the n o v e l s of S c o t t Bulwer L y t t o n , a f a v o r i t e h u n t i n g ground was world, which produced on an average f i f t y new (21).  and  the P a r i s i a n t h e a t r e plays i n a  year"  In t h i s t h e s i s I propose t o e x p l o r e the r e l a t i o n s h i p  between French romantic t h e a t r e and period.  I t a l i a n opera of the same  S p e c i f i c a l l y I wish t o focus on two  p l a y s of V i c t o r Hugo  --Hernani and Le Roi s'amuse--and t h e i r subsequent a d a p t a t i o n s operas by Giuseppe V e r d i and h i s l i b r e t t i s t , Francesco Piave.  E r n a n i i s one  R i g o l e t t o i s regarded  of V e r d i ' s , most i n n o v a t i v e  e n d u r i n g l y p o p u l a r masterpieces. the f a c t t h a t i n the f i r s t t h e a t r e and  whereas and  C r u c i a l to t h i s discussion i s  h a l f of the n i n e t e e n t h  century,  French  I t a l i a n opera underwent a s i m i l a r metamorphosis.  C a s t i n g o f f the c o n s t r a i n t s imposed upon them i n the century,  Maria  of the composer's e a r l y successes, as one  as  the two  previous  genres g r a d u a l l y came t o a s s i m i l a t e the  a e s t h e t i c s of romanticism, an a r t i s t i c movement t h a t had g a i n i n g momentum s i n c e the l a t e e i g h t e e n t h  century.  t h e r e was  leaders  s t r o n g o p p o s i t i o n from p o l i t i c a l  c o n s e r v a t i v e audiences,  romanticism  i n t h e a t r e and  e v e n t u a l l y triumphed and ushered i n a new  p e r i o d of  been  Although and opera artistic  freedom. A l t h o u g h working i n d i f f e r e n t c o u n t r i e s and under d i f f e r e n t  2  political  and s o c i a l circumstances, Hugo and V e r d i  encountered  s i m i l a r r e s i s t a n c e on the p a r t o f government o f f i c i a l s who many of t h e i r works as p o l i t i c a l l y b a t t l e s were f r e q u e n t .  subversive.  p r o h i b i t e d f u r t h e r performances.  w i t h government censors who  such p o w e r f u l o p p o s i t i o n ,  both men  i n p a r t i c u l a r , viewed as a s a c r e d  and p o l i t i c a l  immediately  were d i s t u r b e d by the However, i n the f a c e of  demonstrated  tenacity i n their fight for a r t i s t i c  first  such  V e r d i too encountered s i m i l a r  r e v o l u t i o n a r y overtones i n h i s operas.  My  Censorship  Le R o i s'amuse. f o r example, c r e a t e d  a s c a n d a l a t i t s premiere t h a t the government  problems  viewed  freedom--a  courage  and  f i g h t which, Hugo  duty.  o b j e c t i v e i n t h i s t h e s i s i s t o d e f i n e the  social  c o n t e x t a g a i n s t which Hugo and V e r d i were r e a c t i n g .  As romantic a r t i s t s ,  both men  consciously  i n f u s e d t h e i r works  w i t h the r e v o l u t i o n a r y s p i r i t t h a t c h a r a c t e r i z e s much o f the artistic the  endeavour  o f the p e r i o d .  In the f i r s t  chapter I discuss  impact o f romanticism upon French dramatic t h e o r i e s  practices. a new  V i c t o r Hugo p l a y e d  a l e a d i n g r o l e i n the c r e a t i o n of  k i n d o f drama--the romantic drame.  on the Bataille  d'Hernani.  In Chapter 2 I d e s c r i b e  i n French t h e a t r e .  the p o l i t i c a l  e a r l y nineteenth-century Italy.  The  Risorgimento--was  emergence of I t a l i a n romantic opera. i t was  The d i s c u s s i o n f o c u s e s  an event which symbolized the v i c t o r y  o f r o m a n t i c i s m over n e o - c l a s s i c i s m  independance--the  and s o c i a l c l i m a t e i n  I t a l i a n struggle f o r the backdrop  f o r the  L i k e much o f the  based on, I t a l i a n opera became p o l i t i c i s e d ,  f e r v o r and the i d e a l s of the n a t i o n a l i s t cause. c a r e e r V e r d i was  and  literature  r e f l e c t i n g the  E a r l y on i n h i s  h a i l e d as the composer of the R i s o r g i m e n t o .  In  3 E r n a n i , V e r d i takes what i s e s s e n t i a l l y H u g o l i a n melodrama and t r a n s f o r m s i t i n t o a musical a l l e g o r y of the I t a l i a n f i g h t f o r freedom  and  independance.  In the t h i r d chapter I focus on Le Roi s'amuse and on Hugo's b a t t l e s w i t h the P a r i s i a n c e n s o r s .  At the time t h a t Hugo was  w r i t i n g h i s romantic dramas, p o l i t i c a l c e n s o r s h i p , a l t h o u g h t h e o r e t i c a l l y abolished, s t i l l endeavor.  a f f e c t e d almost every  literary  In t h i s chapter I o u t l i n e the l i m i t a t i o n s p l a c e d upon  French d r a m a t i s t s by the u l t r a - c o n s e r v a t i v e regime of L o u i s Philippe.  Because Le Roi s'amuse  was  viewed as an a t t a c k on the  e s t a b l i s h e d p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l order, i t was f i r s t performance.  banned a f t e r i t s  As a r e s u l t , Hugo took the unprecedented  step  of l a u n c h i n g a c o u r t case a g a i n s t the government i n an attempt prove t h a t c e n s o r s h i p was  both i l l e g a l and  to  immoral.  Chapter 4 of t h i s t h e s i s c o n c e n t r a t e s on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Hugo and V e r d i , and i n p a r t i c u l a r , on the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of Le Roi s'amuse i n t o R i q o l e t t o .  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t the  p l a y upon which t h i s epoch-making opera i s based has been c o n s i d e r e d a f a i l u r e on s e v e r a l l e v e l s . Roi s'amuse i n 1832,  At the premiere of Le  audiences and c r i t i c s a l i k e were shocked  and  r e p u l s e d by i t s "immorality," i t s morbid p l o t , and i t s grotesque characters.  L i t e r a r y s c h o l a r s a f f i r m that the p l a y ' s i n h e r e n t  flaws as a dramatic work prevented i t s success.  Moreover, most  m u s i c o l o g i s t s agree that Hugo's p l a y s have f a r e d much b e t t e r as operas than as spoken dramas--Riqoletto b e i n g a case i n p o i n t . hundred  y e a r s ago George Bernard Shaw s t a t e d that  g l o r y of V i c t o r Hugo as a stage poet was libretti  for Verdi"  "the c h i e f  t o have p r o v i d e d  (qtd. i n B a r r i c e l l i 17).  Indeed,  of the  A  4  dozen o r so p l a y s t h a t Hugo wrote, few are today c o n s i d e r e d worthy o f performance.  T h i s c o n t r a s t s w i t h the e n d u r i n g  p o p u l a r i t y o f V e r d i ' s operas.  What i s i t about Hugo's p l a y s ,  then, t h a t has caused us t o r e g a r d them p r i m a r i l y as " v e r s i f i e d melodramas?"  And what i s i t about V e r d i ' s operas t h a t ensures  t h e i r c o n t i n u e d prominence  i n the r e p e r t o i r e ?  Is t h e r e  something  i n the n a t u r e o f the two t h e a t r i c a l genres t h a t accounts f o r t h i s disparity?  These a r e the q u e s t i o n s I wish t o address i n my  d i s c u s s i o n o f Le R o i s'amuse and R i q o l e t t o . A l t h o u g h V e r d i c o n t i n u a l l y e x p r e s s e d h i s a d m i r a t i o n f o r the d r a m a t i c p o t e n t i a l o f Hugo's p l a y s , Hugo, by c o n t r a s t , harboured a deep resentment towards the composer.  In s p i t e of t h e i r  immense p o p u l a r i t y , he d i s m i s s e d E r n a n i and R i q o l e t t o as clumsy travesties.  But as I hope t o demonstrate i n my d i s c u s s i o n o f  t h e s e operas, Hugo had much t o envy, and t o admire. was he the champion  So not o n l y  o f romanticism i n French t h e a t r e , V i c t o r Hugo  a l s o p l a y e d an important ( i f u n w i l l i n g ) r o l e i n the t h e dawn o f a new, g l o r i o u s e r a i n I t a l i a n opera.  5 CHAPTER  1  LA BATAILLE D'"HERNANI"  Hugo's Hernani i s commonly regarded by l i t e r a r y s c h o l a r s as the p l a y which symbolized the d e f e a t of French n e o - c l a s s i c a l drama and assured the success of the romantic s c h o o l of p l a y writing.  The year 1830,  the year of the f i r s t p r o d u c t i o n of t h i s  p l a y and the ensuing Bataille  d'Hernani.  p o i n t i n French t h e a t r i c a l h i s t o r y .  represents a turning  In t h i s c h a p t e r I wish t o  examine the s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l and a e s t h e t i c context t h a t p r o v i d e d the backdrop  t o the c r e a t i o n of Hernani. and more s p e c i f i c a l l y ,  the ways i n which Hugo a g g r e s s i v e l y d e f i e d the t h e a t r i c a l conventions of the 1820's.  In p a r t i c u l a r ,  wish t o c o n s i d e r a r e : what was what was  the q u e s t i o n s t h a t I  r e v o l u t i o n a r y about Hernani.  i t s impact on the p u b l i c , the c r i t i c s ,  and  and on French  t h e a t r e i n general?  The emergence of French Romantic Drama Before one can a r r i v e at an understanding of what was  new  and i n n o v a t i v e about Hernani. i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o examine the neoc l a s s i c a l precedents and t r a d i t i o n s t o which the p l a y was reacting.  For more than 150 y e a r s , from the  mid-seventeenth  c e n t u r y u n t i l w e l l i n t o the n i n e t e e n t h , French drama had been s u b j e c t e d t o r i g i d c o n s t r a i n t s r e g a r d i n g form, s u b j e c t matter use of language.  The A r i s t o t e l i a n u n i t i e s of time, p l a c e and  a c t i o n , as w e l l as the " i m p l i c i t which was  and  f o u r t h u n i t y , u n i t y of tone,  even more important than the n o t o r i o u s [other] t h r e e , "  (Howarth Drama 207)  had been s t r i c t l y adhered t o from the days of  6  C o r n e i l l e and Racine, t o the R e v o l u t i o n , and beyond. D u r i n g p e r i o d , n e o - c l a s s i c i s m remained  v i r t u a l l y u n c h a l l e n g e d as the  o n l y a c c e p t a b l e model f o r dramatic e x p r e s s i o n . genres, such as the comedie larmoyante  New  and the drame  began t o d e v i a t e from n e o - c l a s s i c a l r u l e s , though was  not immediately f e l t .  this  theatrical bourgeois  their  influence  David Evans s t a t e s i n h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n  to Hernani:  Whatever may have been the i n f l u e n c e of such p l a y s . . . upon [ n e o - c l a s s i c a l tragedy] (and they were numerous enough t o have made a c o n s i d e r a b l e i m p r e s s i o n ) , as a form of a r t the e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y drame was not d e s t i n e d t o s u r v i v e . . . . T h i s a e s t h e t i c f a i l u r e of the drame bourgeois must be a s c r i b e d t o the f a c t t h a t the conventions g o v e r n i n g l i t e r a t u r e were too s t r o n g y e t t o be overcome. Nor was t h e r e i n evidence a d e f i n i t e d e s i r e t o overcome them. D e s p i t e t h e i r keen i n t e r e s t i n drama and the importance which they a t t a c h e d t o i t s s p e c t a c u l a r s i d e , D i d e r o t and h i s f o l l o w e r s were, on the whole, too much taken up w i t h P h i l o s o p h y t o have time f o r d e b a t i n g such q u e s t i o n s as the Rules of U n i t y . Throughout the c e n t u r y , t h e r e f o r e , the tragedie c o n t i n u e d t o be regarded as the s o l e l e g i t i m a t e form of s e r i o u s drama by those whose o p i n i o n s mattered, u n t i l the t u r m o i l of r e v o l u t i o n swept a s i d e these a r b i t e r s of t a s t e . . . . (16-17)  The e a r l y romanticism of o t h e r c o u n t r i e s i n the l a t t e r of the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y had l i t t l e t h e a t r i c a l establishment.  impact on the French  The German Sturm und Drang of the  1770's and the romantic p l a y s of Goethe and S c h i l l e r went u n n o t i c e d m a i n l y because classical rules.  largely  of t h e i r i n c o m p a t a b l i t y w i t h neo-  Whereas the German d r a m a t i s t s of t h i s  l o o k e d t o Shakespeare  half  for inspiration,  period  the French advocates of  Shakespeare  were a l l but s i l e n c e d by the a u t h o r i t y of the  Philosophes  of the Enlightenment,  particularly  Voltaire.  7 V o l t a i r e , who  had p r a i s e d Shakespeare  views towards  the end of h i s l i f e ,  r e p l a c e d by a p r o f o u n d d i s t a s t e . W i l l i a m Howarth w r i t e s : 1734  i n the 1730's, changed h i s  and h i s a d m i r a t i o n was In an essay on romantic drama,  "Shakespeare,  hailed  [by V o l t a i r e ] i n  as a poet o f genius, had become, by the time o f the P r e f a c e  t o Irene  (1778),  'un sauvage avec des e t i n c e l l e s de g e n i e q u i  b r i l l e n t dans une n u i t h o r r i b l e ' "  (Drama 206).  What V o l t a i r e  and  o t h e r w r i t e r s o f the French Enlightenment found p a r t i c u l a r l y u n a c c e p t a b l e was  Shakespeare's  t o t a l d i s r e g a r d f o r les  regies;  the u n i t i e s were not r e s p e c t e d , comic and t r a g i c elements were found i n the same p l a y , and Shakespearean  language was c o n s i d e r e d  t o be t o o crude and c o n t a i n e d too many b a n a l i t i e s - - i n s h o r t , i t wasn't " h e r o i c " enough. V o l t a i r e ' s c r i t i c i s m of the b e g i n n i n g of Hamlet i s t y p i c a l of the n e o - c l a s s i c a l p o i n t of view. t h e r e i s "not a mouse s t i r r i n g "  When the guard says t h a t  t o d e s c r i b e the q u i e t n e s s of the  n i g h t , V o l t a i r e comments, "Je vous d i r a i q u ' i l n'y a n i harmonie n i v e r i t e i n t e r e s s a n t e dans ce q u i l o b e t d'un entendu une s o u r i s t r o t t e r ' "  soldat:  'Je n ' a i  (qtd. i n Howarth Drama 207).  "Mouse" belongs t o the language of common, everyday e x p e r i e n c e , and a c c o r d i n g t o the n e o - c l a s s i c i s t s , p l a c e on the t r a g i c s t a g e .  such b a n a l i t i e s had  no  Howarth c o n t i n u e s :  Such t o t a l i n a b i l i t y t o accept a f r e e r and more s u g g e s t i v e p o e t i c e x p r e s s i o n , as a v a l i d a l t e r n a t i v e t o l e s t y l e noble from which a l l c o n c r e t e , t e c h n i c a l o r everyday v o c a b u l a r y was excluded, was the p r i n c i p a l o b s t a c l e t o the c r e a t i o n of a drama capable of e x p r e s s i n g the new i d e a s of the Age of S e n s i b i l i l t y . V o l t a i r e ' s t r a n s l a t i o n of the 'To be o r not t o be' s o l i l o q u y from Hamlet . . . i s a c l e a r demonstration of the i n c o m p a t a b i l i t y of two i m a g i n a t i v e p r o c e s s e s :  8 Shakespeare's r i c h and c o l o u r f u l imagery i s throughout r e p l a c e d by the c o l o u r l e s s a b s t r a c t i o n s and t h e c l i c h e l i k e e p i t h e t s t h a t c h a r a c t e r i s e d the n e o - c l a s s i c a l t r a g e d i e s themselves. (Drama 207)  The  n e o - c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n was so f i r m l y entrenched i n the  F r e n c h a r t i s t i c psyche t h a t most t r a g e d i e s o f the e a r l y nineteenth  century  L o u i s XIV.  showed l i t t l e  Though no l o n g e r r e s t r i c t e d t o t h e h i s t o r y and  mythology o f a n c i e n t deprived  e v o l u t i o n s i n c e the time o f  Greece and Rome, d r a m a t i s t s  o f the l i n g u i s t i c r e s o u r c e s  were  still  w i t h which t o r e p r e s e n t  l o c a l c o l o u r , o r t o express ideas and f e e l i n g s s p e c i f i c t o a given  time and p l a c e . By  the e a r l y nineteenth  century,  l i t e r a r y scene began t o change.  however, the French  One o f t h e most i n f l u e n t i a l o f  the e a r l y romantic t h e o r i s t s was Madame de S t a e l . an i n - d e p t h  In De  1'Allemacme  (1810) she p r o v i d e d  d i s c u s s i o n o f German  literature,  i n c l u d i n g the p l a y s o f Goethe and S c h i l l e r .  encouraged t h e young w r i t e r s o f France t o r e g a r d theatre,  She  the German  as w e l l as the p l a y s o f Shakespeare, as t h e i r model.  P a r t l y because o f de S t a e l ' s i n f l u e n c e , the French began t o show a much g r e a t e r  i n t e r e s t i n the t h e a t r i c a l t r a d i t i o n s of other  c u l t u r e s , and t r a n s l a t i o n s o f f o r e i g n authors f l o o d e d t h e market i n the y e a r s l e a d i n g up t o t h e R e s t o r a t i o n . Byron, S c h i l l e r and M i l t o n were s o l d and read quantity, Apparently 12).  Shakespeare,  Scott,  i n enormous  but the o v e r a l l e f f e c t on the t h e a t r e was n e g l i g i b l e . " i t proved e a s i e r t o p o n t i f i c a t e than t o c r e a t e "  (Wren  The p u b l i c was not y e t ready f o r a new form o f drama, and  the s u c c e s s e s of the p e r i o d , p l a y s l i k e Lebrun's Marie  Stuart  9 (1820), were w r i t t e n l a r g e l y t o conform  to e x i s t i n g  norms.  full  To make matters more d i f f i c u l t ,  reimposed  neo-classical  c e n s o r s h i p was  i n 182 0 by the Bourbon government, a c o n d i t i o n which  c e r t a i n l y d i s c o u r a g e d the c r e a t i o n of p l a y s t h a t c o u l d be of as i n n o v a t i v e o r c o n t r o v e r s i a l . the scene historique, performed, message.  Indeed,  i t was  thought  the time of  c l o s e t dramas meant t o be r e a d r a t h e r than  and which o f t e n c o n t a i n e d a d i s s e n t i n g  political  Wren s t a t e s : "Manifestos abounded . . . S t e n d h a l ' s  pamphlets e n t i t l e d  'Racine' and  'Shakespeare'  (1823  and 1825)  the b e s t known--but t h e o r i e s were not s u c c e s s f u l l y put practise"  two are  into  (12-13).  V i c t o r Hugo p l a y e d an important r o l e i n the c r e a t i o n of a new  dramatic form.  I n t e r e s t i n g l y , Hugo's a t t i t u d e s towards  c l a s s i c i s m had not always been so c r i t i c a l .  neo-  At an e a r l y age  had r e c e i v e d o f f i c i a l r e c o g n i t i o n f o r h i s t a l e n t s as a poet  he and  had been championed by the p o l i t i c a l and l i t e r a r y e s t a b l i s h m e n t of the R e s t o r a t i o n .  From 1817  t o 1819  he had s u c c e s s i n  c o m p e t i t i o n s o r g a n i z e d by the Academie, and i n 1820 gratification Berry."  Two  from L o u i s XVII f o r an "Ode y e a r s l a t e r he was  he r e c e i v e d a  s u r l a mort du due  de  awarded a r o y a l p e n s i o n upon the  p u b l i c a t i o n of h i s Odes e t P o e s i e s d i v e r s e s .  I t i s not  s u r p r i s i n g , then, t h a t he s h o u l d adopt a c o n s e r v a t i v e p o i n t of view and uphold the n e o - c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n s . 1820  he wrote t h a t the p l a y s of Shakespeare  i n f e r i o r t o those of C o r n e i l l e and Racine. development as an a r t i s t ,  For example, i n  and S c h i l l e r were But i n h i s  and p a r t i c u l a r l y through h i s c o n t a c t  w i t h o t h e r young romantic writers--men  such as Nddier, V i g n y  Soumet--he soon found t h a t the t r a d i t i o n a l views were  and  10 a r t i s t i c a l l y r e s t r i c t i v e and democratic  incompatible  w i t h h i s emerging  ideals.  In h i s 1823  review of S c o t t ' s Ouentin Durward. Hugo proposed  t h a t drama i s a r e f l e c t i o n of a l l human l i f e , is  a constant  that i n l i f e  i n t e r p l a y between the elements of good and tragic.  d e f i n i t i v e l y expressed  "Preface de Cromwell." a document  in  which Hugo turned h i s back on two  drama and proposed new the f u t u r e .  these  bad,  b e a u t i f u l and u g l y , comic and i n the  In 1827  there  i d e a s were  hundred y e a r s of F r e n c h  a e s t h e t i c p r i n c i p l e s f o r the t h e a t r e of  As t h e r e a l r e a d y had been much t h e o r i z i n g on  t h e a t r i c a l reform by many of Hugo's contemporaries, the a c t u a l message of the P r e f a c e was however, a b r i l l i a n t  or o r i g i n a l .  s y n t h e s i s of the i d e a s t h a t a new  of French w r i t e r s and several years.  not e n t i r e l y new  It  was,  generation  i n t e l l e c t u a l s had been f o r m u l a t i n g f o r  Because of i t s powerful,  combined w i t h i t s r e l a t i v e b r e v i t y , the  imaginative "Preface de  language Cromwell"  c r e a t e d an enormous s t i r - - g r e a t e r , t o be sure, than the p l a y i t preceded. In the P r e f a c e Hugo c a l l s f o r the a b o l i t i o n of the  unities  of time and p l a c e , and  the r e t e n t i o n of the u n i t y of a c t i o n , " l a  s e u l e v r a i e e t fondee"  (66).  He r e j e c t s a l l i m i t a t i o n and a l l  r u l e s , except the r u l e s of n a t u r e - - " i l n'y  a n i regies n i  modeles"--arguing t h a t "tout ce q u i e s t dans l a nature l'art"  (77).  However, i t i s not enough t h a t a r t simply h o l d up  m i r r o r t o nature--mere r e p r o d u c t i o n does not art  constitute art--but  s h o u l d a c t l i k e a " m i r o i r de c o n c e n t r a t i o n "  coherence and life.  e s t dans  focus, to make i t appear, i n f a c t ,  Hugo argues t h a t  (82)  to give i t  l a r g e r than  a  11 [ t h i s ] p r o c e s s . . . i s a s s i s t e d by the r e t e n t i o n of v e r s e , " l a forme o p t i q u e de l a pensee" which p r e s e r v e s the drame from p r o s a i s m . The a l e x a n d r i n e meter, n e v e r t h e l e s s , had t o be l i b e r a t e d i n b o t h form and content from l e s t y l e noble--"un v e r s l i b r e , f r a n c , l o y a l , osant t o u t d i r e sans p r u d e r i e , t o u t exprimer sans r e c h e r c h e . " (Wren 13)  Tragedy, w i t h i t s r o o t s i n the pagan a n t i q u i t y o f c l a s s i c a l Greece and Rome, was  t o g i v e way  t o the drame which was  more  s u i t e d t o our C h r i s t i a n e r a i n t h a t , l i k e C h r i s t i a n i t y , i t acknowledged  the d u a l i t y o f man,  elements o f human n a t u r e .  the sublime  and the  grotesque  A t r u e r p o r t r a y a l of human n a t u r e  c o u l d thus be r e a l i z e d through the b l e n d i n g o f comic and  tragic  genres, and through the c r e a t i o n of c h a r a c t e r s who,  real  p e o p l e , a r e a mixture of good and e v i l . t o t r a n s c e n d the grotesque  like  When a c h a r a c t e r i s a b l e  s i d e of h i s n a t u r e - - T r i b o u l e t i n Le  R o i s'amuse b e i n g an obvious example--he i s a b l e t o r i s e t o the l e v e l o f the s u b l i m e .  1  To sum up, the " P r e f a c e de Cromwell" was Hugo's t h e a t r i c a l credo i n which he r e j e c t e d many of the o l d r u l e s and  restrictions  of n e o - c l a s s i c a l drama; two of the t h r e e u n i t i e s were t o be e l i m i n a t e d , w i t h o n l y the u n i t y of a c t i o n b e i n g r e t a i n e d . A l t h o u g h a l e x a n d r i n e v e r s i f i c a t i o n remained the mode o f e x p r e s s i o n most s u i t e d t o the new noble  was  language.  drame, the c o l d , a b s t r a c t  style  t o y i e l d t o a much f r e e r , more c o l o u r f u l use of Finally,  n a t u r e ; the sublime  drama was  to r e f l e c t ,  and grotesque  o r somehow magnify,  sides of n a t u r e - - p a r t i c u l a r l y  Sometimes, however, e i t h e r the grotesque o r the sublime dominates a c h a r a c t e r completely--Dona S o l b e i n g an example o f the latter. 1  12 human nature--were t o r e c e i v e equal r e p r e s e n t a t i o n on the s t a g e . In a d d i t i o n t o the "Preface de Cromwell," another i n f l u e n c e on the romantic the P a r i s i a n B o u l e v a r d  drama was melodrama.  t h e a t r e s had enjoyed  s i n c e the l a t e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y .  2  important  The mSlodrames  of  enormous p o p u l a r i t y  E s t a b l i s h e d by G u i l b e r t de  P i x e r e c o u r t and o t h e r s around 1800, melodrama was a simple, u n s o p h i s t i c a t e d a r t form f o r the entertainment  and the moral  i n s t r u c t i o n o f a simple, u n s o p h i s t i c a t e d audience.  Pixerecourt  c l a i m e d t h a t he wrote "pour ceux q u i ne savent pas l i r e " Coe 58).  Simple  away from the T h e a t r e - F r a n c a i s and the o t h e r  b a s t i o n s o f n e o - c l a s s i c a l tragedy.  A f t e r the R e v o l u t i o n ,  melodrama became i n c r e a s i n g l y the form of entertainment the p u b l i c turned,  i d e a l s and r e s t r i c t i o n s of the  Ancien  In an a r t i c l e on French melodrama, Maureen Turim w r i t e s :  "melodrama was born out of a shared impulse  .  t o which  s i n c e many were no l o n g e r s a t i s f i e d by p l a y s  which embodied the e l i t i s t  official  in  as they were, by the 1820's these p l a y s were  d i v e r t i n g audiences  Regime.  (qtd.  t o compete w i t h the  t h e a t r e s l i n k e d t o r o y a l decree and the a r i s t o c r a c y .  So  . .melodrama r e p r e s e n t s a more p o p u l a r t h e a t r i c a l form, the  beginnings  o f a mass entertainment,  p r o l e t a r i a t and the b o u r g e o i s i e "  t o be consumed by t h e urban  (308).  It i s interesting to  note t h a t , u n l i k e the melodramas of o t h e r c o u n t r i e s - - E n g l a n d and Germany,  f o r example--French melodrama was the most c a u t i o u s i n  I r o n i c a l l y , the "Preface de Cromwell" t u r n e d out t o be o f f a r g r e a t e r importance than Cromwell i t s e l f , which was unstageable owing t o i t s e x c e s s i v e l e n g t h and number of c h a r a c t e r s . However, Cromwell b l a z e d the t r a i l , not o n l y f o r Hugo, but f o r o t h e r French romantic d r a m a t i s t s . I t s h o u l d be noted t h a t , a l t h o u g h Hugo was the p i o n e e r , i t was Musset who, i n 1833, c r e a t e d the t r u e chefd'oeuvre of the French romantic t h e a t r e : L o r e n z a c c i o . 2  13 i t s defiance  o f the n e o - c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n .  Turim w r i t e s  that  many French melodramas r e t a i n e d the u n i t i e s o f time, space and a c t i o n , and i t wasn't u n t i l l a t e r i n the h i s t o r y o f F r e n c h melodrama t h a t  "the i m p e r a t i v e  s p a t i a l u n i t y being  the f i r s t  o f formal  u n i t y relax[ed], with  t o disappear"  (308-9) .  Beyond the f a m i l i a r i t y o f i t s form, what was i t about melodrama t h a t made i t so p o p u l a r not o n l y w i t h t h e workingc l a s s , but w i t h the b o u r g e o i s i e More than a n y t h i n g  e l s e , i t o f f e r e d a c t i o n and p a s s i o n .  morals may have been simple, complex.  and t h e a r i s t o c r a c y as w e l l ? The  but the p l o t s were b a f f l i n g l y  In t h e i r a n a l y s i s o f Hernani, Jacques and S y l v i e Dauvin  w r i t e o f t h e p o p u l a r i t y o f melodrama and i t s i n f l u e n c e on young romantic authors l i k e Hugo:  Le p u b l i c ? I l se p r e s s e au B o u l e v e r d du Temple, aux melodrames p o p u l a i r e s : a c t i o n v i o l e n t e , suspense, empoisonnements, amoureux a t t e n d r i s s a n t s , t r a i t r e s p l u s n o i r s que l ' e n c r e , b r e f , tous l e s i n g r e d i e n t s d'un p o l i c i e r de s e r i e B. Les jeunes a u t e u r s romantiques y retrouvent--meme c a r i c a t u r e - - c e q u i l e u r a p i u dans l e t h e a t r e de S c h i l l e r ou de Shakespeare. Le moment semble venu de donner au p u b l i c l a t r a g e d i e moderne q u ' i l attend. (6)  P e t e r Brooks a f f i r m s : " I t would o n l y be a s l i g h t e x a g g e r a t i o n t o argue t h a t i n France melodrama q u i t e l i t e r a l l y l i e s a t the source of romantic a e s t h e t i c s o f d r a m a t i z a t i o n , novel"  (qtd. i n Howarth 217).  i n the theatre  and the  In a sense melodrama c o n s t i t u t e d  the r e a l t h e a t r i c a l avant-garde o f the 1820's:  14 E l a b o r a t e s e t designs and r e a l i s t i c e f f e c t s were the s t o c k - i n - t r a d e o f the melodrama. Designers . . . abandoned the n e o - c l a s s i c a l conventions o f d e s i g n f o r the e x o t i c l o c a l e s , atmospheric e f f e c t s , and l o c a l c o l o r advocated by the romantics. In f a c t , i n s c e n i c terms, the complete romantic i c o n o g r a p h y - - n a t u r a l v i s t a s , melancholy r u i n s , h i s t o r i c a l accuracy-was t o be found i n the b o u l e v a r d t h e a t r e s o f t h e 1820's. I t was a l s o on the b o u l e v a r d that a new g e n e r a t i o n o f a c t o r s was t r a i n e d i n a s t y l e both more "passionate" and more " r e a l i s t i c " than t h a t o f t h e a c t o r s o f t h e Comedie-Francaise. (Daniels 9)  Indeed,  i n Hernani i t s e l f t h e r e are passages  t h a t appear t o  be l i f t e d d i r e c t l y from P i x e r e c o u r t ' s L'Homme a t r o i s v i s a g e s , which he wrote i n 1801.  I f one compares a c t 2, scene 12 from  P i x e r e c o u r t w i t h a c t 2, scene 3 from Hugo's p l a y , f o r example, one n o t i c e s t h a t i n a c t i o n and i n mood the i m i t a t i o n i s obvious. Both scenes i n v o l v e a c o n f r o n t a t i o n between a powerful l e a d e r and the young hero he has wronged.  political  In L'Homme a t r o i s  v i s a g e s the Doge of Venice has banished and m i s t r e a t e d V i v a l d i , a s i t u a t i o n i d e n t i c a l t o that o f Hernani and Don C a r l o s .  Both a r e  b r a v u r a scenes i n which V i v a l d i and Hernani swear t h a t they w i l l avenge t h e i n j u s t i c e s o f t h e i r p e r s e c u t o r s . Hernani. George Lote remarks:  In h i s study o f  "La s i t u a t i o n e t l e mouvement des  deux scenes, chez P i x e r e c o u r t e t chez Hugo, sont done i d e n t i q u e s . . . . [Les s i m i l a r i t e s ] prouvent que V. Hugo c o n n a i s s a i t a fond l e r e p e r t o i r e du Boulevard, e t q u ' i l en e t a i t 1'admirateur" (1678).  What d i s t i n g u i s h e s Hugo's v e r s e drama from simple melodrama,  however, i s h i s genius f o r l y r i c a l language.  Although Hernani,  Ruy B i a s and Le Roi s'amuse a r e loaded w i t h s t o c k d e v i c e s and s i t u a t i o n s ,  melodramatic  i t i s the beauty o f Hugo's p o e t r y that  t r u l y saves these p l a y s and e l e v a t e s them t o a l e v e l above and  15 beyond the p o p u l a r a r t form.  La Bataille  d'"Hernani" The p e r i o d 1827-1830 was marked by an i n c r e a s e o f [ l i t e r a r y ] a c t i v i t y as the c l i m a c t i c f i r s t n i g h t of Hernani approached. . . . By the end o f the 1820's, the French romantics had produced a s i g n i f i c a n t body of l i t e r a t u r e i n c l u d i n g poetry, novels, h i s t o r i c a l sketches, and t h e o r y . I t remained f o r them t o conquer the t h e a t r e . T h i s would be the work o f the y e a r b e g i n n i n g i n February 1829 and c u l m i n a t i n g w i t h the p r o d u c t i o n o f Hernani i n February 1830. ( D a n i e l s 7-8)  The f i n a l b a t t l e of French romanticism was waged i n the t h e a t r e , and i t was  c a r e f u l l y commanded by V i c t o r Hugo.  Hugo had  many a l l i e s i n the war a g a i n s t n e o - c l a s s i c i s m ; many were members of h i s Cenacle--a  c i r c l e of w r i t e r s and i n t e l l e c t u a l s who  h i s a e s t h e t i c and p o l i t i c a l views. G a u t i e r , S t e n d h a l , and Musset. n o v e l i s t s was m i s s i o n was  d i r e c t l y opposed  These  shared  i n c l u d e d Nodier,  T h i s group of young poets and t o the n e o - c l a s s i c i s t s ,  and  their  t o ensure the triumph of the romantic a e s t h e t i c ,  an  a e s t h e t i c which so f a r had r e c e i v e d i t s most eloquent e x p r e s s i o n i n the " P r e f a c e de  Cromwell."  Because o f h i s l i t e r a r y b r i l l i a n c e and h i s advocacy o f a r t i s t i c and s o c i a l freedoms,  Hugo had become something o f a c u l t  f i g u r e f o r an e n t i r e g e n e r a t i o n of young people i n France, a g e n e r a t i o n r e s t l e s s and a g i t a t i n g f o r change.  Born at the  b e g i n n i n g of the c e n t u r y , they had missed the emotion and the i d e a l i s m o f the R e v o l u t i o n and the h e r o i c s of the N a p o l e o n i c wars.  Jacques and S y l v i e Dauvin compare Hugo's g e n e r a t i o n t o the  c o u n t e r - c u l t u r e g e n e r a t i o n of the 1960's and, comparison  seems apt:  indeed,  their  16 Desempares, l e vague a l'ame, i l s m a n i f e s t e n t a l e u r facon l e u r r e v o l t e : i l s l a i s s e n t pousser l e u r s cheveux, s ' a c c o u t r e n t de vetements e x c e n t r i q u e s et d e b r a i l l e s ; c ' e s t l e s t y l e Jeune-France. Ces r e v o l t e s - - s i proches par t a n t de cotes (mal de v i v r e , gout des grandes i d e e s , f o l k l o r e v e s t i m e n t a i r e ) de ceux qu'on a p p e l a i t en 1968 les contestataires--trouvent une reponse a l e u r m a l a i s e dans une forme n o u v e l l e d ' a r t : l e romantisme. Dans c e t a r t nouveau, mis en oeuvre par des a r t i s t e s de l e u r age, i l s se r e c o n n a i s s e n t mieux que dans l e s v i e i l l e s g l o i r e s dont p a r l e n t l e u r s manuels s c o l a i r e s . (5)  Hugo's p o s i t i o n as a s o r t of guru f o r these d i s i l l u s i o n e d Jeunes-France  had begun t o worry the c o n s e r v a t i v e  s i n c e h i s views, both a r t i s t i c and p o l i t i c a l , opposed t o the s t a t u s quo. on the grounds t h a t i t was spoke out injustice.  preface  were c l e a r l y  Hugo c r i t i c i z e d the Bourbon monarchy r e p r e s s i v e and  a g a i n s t the death p e n a l t y and  i n t o l e r a n t , and  other  forms of  In s h o r t , Hugo c a l l e d f o r freedom and  i n a r t and p o l i t i c s ,  establishment  and he saw  the two  he  social  tolerance  as i n t e r r e l a t e d .  both  In  the  t o Hernani he makes h i s p o s i t i o n c l e a r : . . . l e l i b e r a l i s m e l i t t e r a i r e ne s e r a pas moins p o p u l a i r e que l e l i b e r a l i s m e p o l i t i q u e . La l i b e r t e dans l ' a r t , l a l i b e r t e dans l a s o c i e t e , v o i l a l e double but auquel doivent tendre d'un meme pas tous l e s e s p r i t s consequents et l o g i q u e s ; v o i l a l a double banniere q u i r a l l i e . . . t o u t e l a jeunesse s i f o r t e et s i p a t i e n t e d'aujourd'hui. . . (311-2)  L a t e r he s t a t e s t h a t the w i l l of the people i s sacred, art,  and  that  l i k e government, should answer t o t h e i r demands f o r  t o l e r a n c e and  freedom.  C l e a r l y Hugo's c a l l  freedom a p p l i e s not o n l y t o l i t e r a t u r e , "Cette v o i x haute et p u i s s a n t e  for tolerance  and  but t o p o l i t i c s as w e l l :  du peuple, q u i ressemble a  celle  17 de Dieu, veut desormais que l a p o e s i e a i t l a meme d e v i s e que l a p o l i t i q u e : TOLERANCE ET LIBERTE. a un p u b l i c "  Maintenant vienne l e p o e t e !  Il  (313) .  Hernani premiered on 25 February 1830,  and as i t was  the  f i r s t p l a y produced t o c a r r y h i s name, Hugo took g r e a t p a i n s t o ensure i t s s u c c e s s . classical  opponents  Aware t h a t a cabale  would be formed by neo-  t o romantic drama, Hugo m o b i l i z e d h i s own  group o f s u p p o r t e r s - - " p o e t e s e t r a p i n s de v i n g t ans" as w e l l as l i t e r a r y the  opposition.  (Richard  f r i e n d s - - i n o r d e r t o outnumber and  14)  intimidate  A l s o , f o r e s e e i n g an e x t r e m e l y n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n  on the p a r t o f the p r e s s , Hugo p u b l i s h e d anonymously a f a v o r a b l e article  i n the J o u r n a l des Debats the day b e f o r e the  first  performance. The opening n i g h t and the ensuing Bataille  d'Hernani  r e p r e s e n t the d e c i s i v e v i c t o r y of romanticism over n e o - c l a s s i c i s m i n French t h e a t r e .  Indeed,  as an event the Bataille  f a r g r e a t e r i n t e r e s t than the work t h a t prompted i t .  has  With  m i l i t a r y p r e c i s i o n and smoothness, "l'armee romantique" m o b i l i z e d i n o r d e r t o thwart (Lote 63).  " l e s manoeuvres des  The pro-Hugo claque  was  created almost  was  classiques"  i n the t h e a t r e by two o ' c l o c k  i n the a f t e r n o o n and had taken up p o s i t i o n s on the p a r t e r r e and i n the second g a l l e r y .  P i e r r e R i c h a r d o f f e r s an amusing  d e s c r i p t i o n of the scene: C e t t e claque g r a t u i t e [Hugo had p a i d f o r t h e i r a d m i s s i o n ] , remplacant l a claque payee, c o n s i d e r e e comme suspecte, f i t echec a 1 ' o p p o s i t i o n c l a s s i q u e des f a u t e u i l s e t des l o g e s , q u ' e l l e b o u s c u l a de ses o u t r a n c e s v e s t i m e n t a i r e s et c a p i l a i r e s , de ses apostrophes a 1'emporte-piece, de ses f a r c e s gamines. (14)  18 R i c h a r d e l a b o r a t e s on a few of these o n l y amusing f o r t h e i r impertinence, symbolic  " f a r c e s " which a r e not  but a l s o u n d e r l i n e t h e  importance t h a t both s i d e s saw i n the performance:  "Pendant que B a l z a c r e c e v a i t en p l e i n f i g u r e un trognon de chou, un Jeune^France  repondait  vous montrez vos dents'"  a une dame mure, 'Ne r i e z pas Madame, (32).  A t another p o i n t t h e r e began a  " p l u i e de p e t i t s p a p i e r s s u r l e s perruques e t l e s j a b o t s des classiques."  Jacques and S y l v i e Dauvin note t h a t t h e  d i d not end w i t h t h e f i r s t  Bataille  performance:  La p i e c e se joue dans un chahut monstre, on entend a peine, mais c ' e s t un triomphe. Une l a r g e p a r t i e de p r e s s e prend sa revanche l e lendemain e t se dechaine c o n t r e Hugo, "un insense, ami de truands" q u i p r e s e n t e des c r i m i n e l s comme des heros. La b a t a i l l e s ' a m p l i f i e aux r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s s u i v a n t e s : o f f e n s i v e s e t c o n t r e o f f e n s i v e s opposent longtemps H e r n a n i s t e s e t l e u r s a d v e r s a i r e s , ce q u i a s s u r e - - s c a n d a l e oblige--une r e c e t t e e x c e p t i o n n e l l e . (8)  The  Bataille  d'Hernani  l a s t e d f o r the e n t i r e r u n o f t h e p l a y  (36 performances between 25 February and 22 June 183 0) but i t subsided  t h e r e a f t e r : "Apres 1830, l a cabale ayant cesse,  l a piece  ne souleve p l u s l a moindre p r o t e s t a t i o n e t s u i t une c a r r i e r e normale"  (Halbwachs 70).  What was i t about Hernani t h a t provoked such a v i o l e n t reaction?  F i r s t of a l l ,  as dramatic  l i t e r a t u r e , Hernani v i o l a t e d  almost a l l the r u l e s o f n e o - c l a s s i c i s m . seen as p o l i t i c a l l y s u b v e r s i v e , aristocrat-turned-outlaw, h i s k i n g and h i s s o c i e t y .  Secondly, the p l a y was  s i n c e the hero of the p l a y , an  a c t s i n d i r e c t d e f i a n c e t o the laws o f There are numerous i n s t a n c e s where  Hugo makes h i s p o l i t i c a l views q u i t e c l e a r .  In the monologue o f  19 act  4, scene 2, i n p a r t i c u l a r ,  i n which Don C a r l o s  invokes  Charlemagne, Hugo "makes a s u s t a i n e d a t t a c k on t h e Bourbon government w h i l e a s s e r t i n g h i s B o n a p a r t i s t  ideals"  (Wren 35).  N e w l y - e l e c t e d as Emperor o f t h e Holy Roman Empire, C a r l o s before  t h e tomb o f Charlemagne where he undergoes a r a t h e r  unconvincing  metamorphosis, suddenly changing from a m o r a l l y  bankrupt ravisseur  o f women and p o l i t i c a l  clement and r e s p o n s i b l e l e a d e r . more than Hugo's p o l i t i c a l to  stands  megalomaniac t o a  In t h i s scene C a r l o s i s l i t t l e  mouthpiece, and h i s r h e t o r i c has l e s s  do w i t h Charlemagne o r C a r l o s ' c h a r a c t e r than w i t h Hugo's  admiration  f o r Napoleon and h i s v i s i o n o f an i d e a l  political  regime l e d by an e l e c t e d r u l e r . But  i t was the language o f Hernani, more than i t s p o l i t i c a l  overtones o r i t s melodramatic p l o t , t h a t was t h e main source o f d e l i g h t o r d i s g u s t , depending upon which s i d e one was on. Hugo has  been c r e d i t e d w i t h the l i b e r a t i o n o f the a l e x a n d r i n e  expansion o f the p o e t i c vocabulary.  Hugo opens t h e p l a y  Dona Josepha's famous enjambement--"Serait-ce b i e n a l ' e s c a l i e r / Derobe"  deja l u i ?  (1.1.1-2)--which i s f o l l o w e d  and t h e with C'est almost  immediately by t h r e e f u r t h e r examples o f t h e same d e v i c e , i n l i n e s spoken by Don C a r l o s .  The s u p p r e s s i o n  o f t h e style  r e s u l t e d i n a f a r g r e a t e r range o f e x p r e s s i o n , and  noble  and t h e r i c h n e s s  t h e l y r i c a l i n t e n s i t y o f the language a r e t h e c h i e f g l o r i e s  of t h e p l a y .  By l i b e r a t i n g the language from i t s n e o - c l a s s i c a l  c o n s t r a i n t s , Hugo c r e a t e d a k i n d o f drama t h a t was e n t i r e l y new. The  v a r i o u s monologues and the "love duets"  Sol  a r e almost o p e r a t i c i n t h e i r i n t e n s i t y and c r e a t e a "charged  and  charmed atmosphere"  (Wren 24).  o f Hernani and Dona  Howarth t o o compares t h e  20 language o f Hernani  t o romantic opera.  He s t a t e s :  . . . the k i n d o f i m a g i n a t i v e w r i t i n g e x e m p l i f i e d by such v a r i e d passages as Hernani's l y r i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n of the b a n d i t ' s l i f e , h i s i n v e c t i v e a g a i n s t C a r l o s , Ruy Gomez's e l e g y on o l d age, C a r l o s ' s a c t 4 monologue, o r the marvellous love-duet o f the l a s t a c t , i s no s u p e r f i c i a l d e c o r a t i o n ; i t permeates the whole o f Hugo's drama. As i n romantic opera, these v i r t u o s o passages--together w i t h the flow and s p a r k l e o f i m a g i n a t i v e w r i t i n g , i n lower key, throughout t h e p l a y --are r e a l l y what count. . . . I t i s by h i s o p e r a t i c treatment o f . . . p e r e n n i a l themes, which denotes a concept o f drama t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the worn-out n e o - c l a s s i c a l formula, t h a t Hugo the t r a g i c poet has succeeded i n c r e a t i n g a new sublime. (Hugo 70-1)  Ruy  Gomez's speech i n act 3, i n which he laments the p a s s i n g  of h i s youth,  e x e m p l i f i e s o f the k i n d o f o p e r a t i c l y r i c i s m t h a t  Howarth d e s c r i b e s :  Quand passe un jeune p a t r e - - o u i , e'en e s t l a ! - - s o u v e n t , Tandis que nous a l l o n s , l u i chantant, moi revant, L u i dans son pre v e r t , moi dans mes n o i r e s a l l e e s , Souvent j e d i s tout bas: O mes t o u r s c r e n e l e e s , Mon v i e u x donjon d u c a l , que j e vous donnerais, Oh!, que j e donnerais mes b l e s e t mes f o r e t s , Et l e s v a s t e s troupeaux q u i tondent mes c o l l i n e s , Mon v i e u x nom, mon v i e u x t i t r e , e t t o u t e s mes r u i n e s , Et tous mes v i e u x aieux q u i b i e n t o t m'attendront, Pour s a chaumiere neuve e t pour son jeune f r o n t ! Car ses cheveux sont n o i r s , c a r son o e i l r e l u i t comme Le t i e n , t u peux l e v o i r , e t d i r e : Ce jeune homme! Et p u i s , penser a moi q u i s u i s v i e u x . Je l e s a i s ! Pourtant j ' a i nom S i l v a , mais ce n'est p l u s a s s e z ! Oui, j e me d i s c e l a . V o i s a q u e l p o i n t j e t'aime! Le t o u t , pour e t r e jeune e t beau, comme toi-meme! Mais a quoi v a i s - j e i c i rever? Moi, jeune e t beau! Qui t e d o i s de s i l o i n devancer au tombeau! (3.1.73552)  The  d e v i c e s Hugo uses i n t h i s passage a r e simple, and are based  on the requirements  o f spoken d e l i v e r y .  However, these d e v i c e s ,  21 such as r e p e t i t i o n donnerais"; ruines,  "Mon  / Et tous mes  tondent  mes  j e vous d o n n e r a i s  v i e u x nom,  donjon d u c a l , que qui  ("que  vieux t i t r e " ;  que  j e vous d o n n e r a i s " ;  collines"),  m u s i c a l c h a r a c t e r t o Ruy  ("Mon  mes vieux  "Et l e s v a s t e s troupeaux  and the constant p l a y on and  je  "Et t o u t e s  vieux aieux"), a l l i t e r a t i o n  o p p o s i t i o n between "jeune"  death.  mon  / Oh!  "vieux," impart  the  a genuinely  Gomez's r e f l e c t i o n s on o l d age  and  Howarth comments f u r t h e r :  Such a passage i s f a r from b e i n g an i s o l a t e d hors d'oeuvre; i t expresses the v e r y essence i f the c h a r a c t e r ' s s i t u a t i o n throughout the p l a y . . . . These are not g r a t u i t o u s " l y r i c a l " embellishments on the s u r f a c e of a c o n v e n t i o n a l l y "dramatic" p l o t : the two elements are i n t e g r a t e d i n t o a new concept of " l y r i c a l drama," and the term f i t s Hugo's t r a g e d i e s j u s t as w e l l as the opera t o which i t i s more o f t e n a p p l i e d . (71)  To sum  up,  i n w r i t i n g Hernani,  Hugo's p r i n c i p a l aim  l i b e r a t i n g v e r s e drama from i t s p r e v i o u s c o n s t r a i n t s was r e a l i z e d , and as a r e s u l t , he succeeded i n c r e a t i n g a new t h e a t r i c a l experience.  D e s p i t e i t s obvious  flaws  of largely k i n d of  (an i m p l a u s i b l e  p l o t , numerous h i s t o r i c a l i n a c c u r a c i e s , s u p e r f i c i a l c h a r a c t e r development, e t c . ) , Hernani l y r i c i s m and d'Hernani  succeeds on the s t r e n g t h of i t s  i t s y o u t h f u l ardour.  U l t i m a t e l y , the  Bataille  s p e l l e d doom f o r a g e n e r a t i o n whose i d e a s  and  a e s t h e t i c s no l o n g e r p r e v a i l e d i n the r a p i d l y changing the 1830's.  For these people,  world  of  the w r i t i n g s of Hugo, the  p a i n t i n g s of D e l a c r o i x , and the music of B e r l i o z r e p r e s e n t e d a l l t h a t was  violent,  revolution.  c h a o t i c and  irrational.  I t was  an  artistic  P i e r r e Halbwachs e l o q u e n t l y d e s c r i b e s the f e a r and  22  anger t h a t the o l d e r g e n e r a t i o n  must have f e l t upon v i e w i n g  s p e c t a c l e of H e r n a n i : "Pour l e s e s p r i t s legimitistes violence,  et u l t r a s ,  c'etait  ensanglante"  For Hugo, Hernani was  For the j'eune garde,  them--about t h e i r hopes and and  l'anarchie  imposee par l a la canaille,  f r a n c a i s e montrant sur l a scene son  (108).  k i n d of t h e a t r e .  life  conservateurs,  l a d i c t a t u r e de l a demagogie et de  bien l a Revolution  t h e i r disgust  the  a trial  c'etait  mufle  run f o r a  however, Hernani was  new about  t h e i r confused i d e a s , t h e i r l o v e f o r  for society.  23 CHAPTER "ERNANI  INVOLAMI";  ITALIAN  ROMANTIC  2 OPERA  AND  THE  RISORGIMENTO  L i k e Hugo's Hernani. which had been a triumph f o r the f o u r t e e n y e a r s e a r l i e r , V e r d i ' s 1844  author  a d a p t a t i o n o f the p l a y i s  s i m i l a r l y regarded as an e a r l y m i l e s t o n e i n the composer's career.  A l t h o u g h the opera owed most of i t s success t o i t s  y o u t h f u l energy and i t s "wealth of g l o r i o u s l y s i n g a b l e tunes," (Osborne Operas 91) message.  I t was  the work a l s o c o n t a i n e d an obvious  no s e c r e t t h a t V e r d i sympathised  p a t r i o t i c cause of the Risorgimento,  political  w i t h the  and l i k e most of h i s  countrymen, he dreamed of the day when I t a l y would be f r e e foreign control.  In t h i s chapter I propose  t o examine  romantic opera i n the context of the I t a l i a n s ' freedom and independance.  from  Italian  struggle for  Moreover, l i k e Hugo's Hernani, V e r d i ' s  opera f u r t h e r e d the development of romanticism i n a r t w h i l e c h a l l e n g i n g an o p p r e s s i v e p o l i t i c a l  The p o l i t i c a l  regime.  background  F o r the b e t t e r p a r t of the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , I t a l y was political  in  chaos as I t a l i a n n a t i o n a l i s t s s t r u g g l e d t o t r a n s f o r m  t h e i r c o u n t r y from an agglomeration of  foreign-controlled  p r i n c i p a l i t i e s i n t o a u n i f i e d , modern n a t i o n . y e a r s , I t a l y was  divided i n t o small states.  For t h r e e hundred Those i n the n o r t h  were under A u s t r i a n c o n t r o l , whereas the south was  r u l e d by  S p a n i s h Bourbons.  Rome and s e v e r a l o t h e r t e r r i t o r i e s  under p a p a l r u l e .  From 1796  t o 1815,  remained  France c o n t r o l l e d  but a f t e r the c o l l a p s e of the Napoleonic regime,  the  Austria  Italy, and  24 S p a i n assumed t h e i r former powers.  As L u i g i V i l l a r i p o i n t s out,  . . . the newly r e s t o r e d governments might e a s i l y have a c h i e v e d p o p u l a r i t y among peoples worn out by t h e t e r r r i b l e d r a i n o f men and money caused by t h e Napoleonic wars. But i n t h e i r t e r r o r o f r e v o l u t i o n , they f a i l e d t o r e a l i z e t h a t t h e p a s t [French] regime had wafted a b r e a t h o f new l i f e i n t o I t a l y , and t h a t the new-born i d e a o f I t a l i a n u n i t y was a f o r c e t o be reckoned w i t h . . . . [There] was a sense o f d e s p a i r a t I t a l y ' s d e g r a d a t i o n and an i n c i p i e n t h a t r e d o f f o r e i g n r u l e . . . . (801-2)  By t h e 1830's t h i s h a t r e d had reached t h e b o i l i n g p o i n t , and f o r t h e next f o r t y y e a r s , I t a l y was the scene o f a b l o o d y but determined  s t r u g g l e f o r independance.  In 184 8 t h e r e were  r e v o l u t i o n a r y u p r i s i n g s i n M i l a n and Rome (as t h e r e were i n P a r i s and V i e n n a ) , but these were suppressed. a f t e r a s t r u g g l e o f more than h a l f and u n i t y o f I t a l y were f i n a l l y  The  I t wasn't u n t i l 1870,  a century, t h a t t h e l i b e r a t i o n  achieved.  R i s e o f Romantic Opera D e s p i t e the p o l i t i c a l  t u r m o i l d u r i n g t h i s time,  opera  c o n t i n u e d t o f l o u r i s h ; indeed, the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y i s c o n s i d e r e d t h e Golden Age o f I t a l i a n opera.  As Budden s t a t e s ,  the enormous p o p u l a r i t y o f opera a t t h i s time was p r i m a r i l y due to i t s s t a t u s as a n a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n :  In I t a l y , empires might r i s e and empires might f a l l , but La S c a l a , M i l a n , and the T e a t r o l a F e n i c e , Venice, s t i l l needed t h e i r two opere d ' o b b l i g o (new operas) f o r the w i n t e r season. Even i n t h e d a r k e s t days o f warfare and m i l i t a r y o c c u p a t i o n I t a l i a n opera remained a t h r i v i n g i n d u s t r y w i t h a wide market a t home and abroad, l a r g e l y due t o the prowess o f I t a l i a n s i n g e r s . (Operas 3)  25  In a d d i t i o n ,  l i k e French melodrama, or the cinema of the  t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y D e p r e s s i o n y e a r s , I t a l i a n opera of the R i s o r g i m e n t o p e r i o d became a means of e s c a p i n g the h a r s h r e a l i t i e s of war,  p o l i t i c a l o p p r e s s i o n , and economic h a r d s h i p .  In I t a l y , as i n most European  c o u n t r i e s , the l i n k i n g of a r t  t o p o l i t i c s f l o u r i s h e d w i t h the r i s e of romanticism.  By the  opera had become a medium by which n a t i o n a l i s t i c i d e a s  1830's,  c o u l d be communicated throughout the e n t i r e c o u n t r y .  U n l i k e the  F r e n c h e x p e r i e n c e , however, the emergence of I t a l i a n  romanticism  i n music Italian Bataille  and l i t e r a t u r e was  much l e s s tumultuous;  " P r e f a c e de Cromwell." d'Hernani.  t h e r e was  no  n o t h i n g as scandalous as the  In an a r t i c l e i n which he compares Hugo's  Hernani t o V e r d i ' s opera on the same s u b j e c t , Jean-Paul B a r r i c e l l i p o i n t s out t h a t i n I t a l y romanticism was " s e n s a t i o n a l " than i n France, mostly because  much l e s s  I t a l i a n s were more  caught up w i t h such immediate concerns as n a t i o n a l u n i t y w i t h sweeping changes i n a e s t h e t i c s romantic i d e a l s i n t o opera was  (22-3).  than  The a s s i m i l a t i o n of  g r a d u a l , and composers were  c a r e f u l t o o f f e r t h e i r audiences a benign mixture of the o l d and the  new. N e v e r t h e l e s s , I t a l i a n opera underwent a dramatic  t r a n s f o r m a t i o n between 1 7 9 0 and 1 8 3 0 . r e s u l t e d from the s e a r c h f o r new expression. two  The most obvious changes  modes of m u s i c a l and  In the e i g h t e e n t h century, composers were l i m i t e d t o  c l e a r l y d e l i n e a t e d o p e r a t i c genres: seria  seria  dramatic  ("serious opera")  was  and buffa.  Opera  comparable i n mood and s u b j e c t t o the  n e o - c l a s s i c a l t r a g e d i e s of C o r n e i l l e , Racine and V o l t a i r e .  Opera  26  b u f f a , on the o t h e r hand, was  similar to  s p a r k l i n g comedies of M o l i e r e , Marivaux  (and o f t e n based on) and Beaumarchais.  t h e i r French dramatic c o u n t e r p a r t s , both genres s t r i c t l y to  time-honoured  the  Like adhered  conventions r e g a r d i n g almost every a s p e c t of  t h e i r form and t h e i r c o n t e n t .  More than s i m p l y r e f i n e d forms of  e n t e r t a i n m e n t , French tragedy and I t a l i a n opera s e r i a were a l s o h i g h l y d i d a c t i c , o f t e n r e f l e c t i n g e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y i d e a l s of reason, v i r t u e , harmony, and noble  self-sacrifice.  By the b e g i n n i n g of the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , however, opera s e r i a had become l a r g e l y d e v o i d of o r i g i n a l i t y .  Italian  Most  operas were w r i t t e n as q u i c k l y as p o s s i b l e , and most attempted  to  appeal t o the c o n s e r v a t i v e t a s t e s of p a t r o n s and audiences, or t o the c a p r i c e s of the s i n g e r s .  More o f t e n than not a composer  would w r i t e h i s music w i t h p a r t i c u l a r s i n g e r s i n mind, and i t was normal  f o r them t o demand t h a t an a r i a be a l t e r e d i n such a  as t o b e t t e r d i s p l a y t h e i r t a l e n t s deficiencies).  As a r e s u l t ,  way  (or t o mask t h e i r  c h a r a c t e r o r p l o t development were  o f t e n secondary t o v i r t u o s i t y . Most m u s i c a l s c h o l a r s c r e d i t R o s s i n i f o r h a v i n g r e s c u e d I t a l i a n opera. 1810, way.  Budden s t a t e s :  " [ R o s s i n i ] a r r i v e d on the scene i n  a t a time when I t a l i a n opera had almost c o m p l e t e l y l o s t i t s ...  In t e n y e a r s , from h i s double triumph w i t h T a n c r e d i  and L ' l t a l i a n a i n A l g e r i i n 1813 1822  till  h i s departure f o r P a r i s i n  a f t e r Semiramide, R o s s i n i had r e v i t a l i z e d the w o r l d of  I t a l i a n opera, r e f a s h i o n i n g i t i n h i s own R o s s i n i was  image"  (Operas 9 ) .  Yet  no romantic; p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y and s t y l i s t i c a l l y he  much c l o s e r t o Mozart a b l e t o breathe new  than t o V e r d i .  life  Nevertheless, Rossini  i n t o I t a l i a n opera.  His influence  was  was on  27  l a t e r composers i s undeniable, and h i s l e g a c y was the form and language  t o have d e f i n e d  of e a r l y n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y I t a l i a n  opera  once and f o r a l l . How  might  I t a l i a n opera of the 1830's and 40's--the  R o s s i n i " period--be characterized? had e v o l v e d which was  First,  a new  "post-  musical idiom  based on the I t a l i a n t r a d i t i o n of Jbel  (a simple, sweeping melodic l i n e ,  canto  often ravishingly beautiful)  w e l l as on t r a d i t i o n a l f o l k melodies.  as  O r c h e s t r a t i o n became more  s u b t l e and complex, more symphonic i n n a t u r e . Second, t h e r e was continuity.  a tendency towards g r e a t e r dramatic  Gone were the days when operas c o n s i s t e d p r i m a r i l y  of a s e r i e s of extended  solo arias  (sometimes l a s t i n g more than a  q u a r t e r of an hour) connected by secco recitatives.  (unaccompanied)  T h i s s t r u c t u r e r e p e a t e d l y i n t e r r u p t e d the f l o w of  the a c t i o n , and accounts f o r the s t a t i c n a t u r e of most e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y opera.  By c o n t r a s t , i n V e r d i ' s operas f o r  example, the dramatic t e n s i o n i s e s t a b l i s h e d immediately, p l o t advances much more q u i c k l y and c o n v i n c i n g l y .  and the  Although  encounters extended b r a v u r a a r i a s i n a l l of romantic opera,  one they  are p r i m a r i l y i n t e n d e d t o f u r t h e r our u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the c h a r a c t e r , r a t h e r than s i m p l y t o show o f f the the s i n g e r ' s v o c a l skills.  At the v e r y l e a s t , they c r e a t e a mood t h a t i s more i n  keeping w i t h the dramatic s i t u a t i o n at hand. T h i r d , romantic operas were o f t e n based on p l a y s , n o v e l s and poems.  contemporary  Thus the i d e a l i z e d h e r o i c s of opera  s e r i a and the e l e g a n t f a r c e s of opera b u f f a were r e p l a c e d by s u b j e c t s which emulated  the romantic l i t e r a t u r e of the p e r i o d .  As many of these s u b j e c t s were h i g h l y melodramatic,  the  operas  28 t h e y i n s p i r e d were s i m i l a r l y dark and l u r i d , pessimistic.  And  t h e i r endings o f t e n  f o u r t h , by v i r t u e of t h e i r p a t r i o t i c  or  h u m a n i s t i c themes, these operas were much more " p o l i t i c a l " t h e i r eighteenth-century predecessors.  As we  than  s h a l l see i n the  l a s t s e c t i o n of t h i s chapter, works such as E r n a n i c o n t a i n e d messages which c h a l l e n g e d an o p p r e s s i v e p o l i t i c a l  The Road t o  Ernani  V e r d i wrote h i s f i r s t (1839) when he was  26.  opera, Oberto.  As a f i r s t  attempt,  " i n t e r e s t i n g achievement  i f controversial,  literary not  so  Budden d e s c r i b e s Oberto as  an  . . . but l e t us not exaggerate"  (Operas  N e v e r t h e l e s s , the opera enjoyed c o n s i d e r a b l e success when  i t was  performed  d u r i n g the Autumn season of 1839,  r e v i v e d on s e v e r a l o c c a s i o n s t h e r e a f t e r . work's p o p u l a r i t y , V e r d i was t h r e e more operas, was  already enjoying  V e r d i ' s r i s e t o fame, on the o t h e r hand, was  meteoric.  66).  Conte d i San B o n i f a c i o  By the same age Hugo was  c e l e b r i t y s t a t u s as an important, figure.  regime.  a promising  and  was  On the s t r e n g t h of the  commissioned by La S c a l a t o compose  t o be performed  at eight-month i n t e r v a l s .  It  start.  However, V e r d i ' s next u n d e r t a k i n g , Un G i o r n o d i Regno, was c r u s h i n g f a i l u r e when i t premiered w r i t t e n when the composer was wife. two  the f o l l o w i n g y e a r .  It  was  g r i e v i n g the sudden l o s s of h i s  The p r e c e d i n g two years had a l s o seen the deaths of h i s  children.  V e r d i d e s c r i b e d h i m s e l f at the time as a "poor  a i l i n g young man  working under p r e s s u r e and heartbroken by a  t e r r i b l e catastrophe" understand  why  (qtd. i n K i m b e l l 96).  I t i s easy t o  V e r d i had l i t t l e heart f o r the composition of an  a  29 opera b u f f a , and the h o s t i l e r e c e p t i o n g i v e n t o Un G i o r n o de Regno caused him t o renounce again.  a l l a s p i r a t i o n s of composing  Thanks t o the t a c t f u l encouragement o f M e r e l l i ,  ever  the  d i r e c t o r o f La S c a l a , as w e l l as the s u c c e s s f u l r e v i v a l s o f Oberto. V e r d i was  at l a s t persuaded t o t r y a g a i n .  In the e a r l y  months o f 1841 M e r e l l i showed V e r d i a r e c e n t l y completed by S o l e r a e n t i t l e d Nabucodonosor.  libretto  The composer's v e r s i o n o f the  s t o r y i s t h a t he took the manuscript home and threw i t down on a table.  H i s gaze f e l l upon the f a t e f u l l i n e  "Va, p e n s i e r o ,  s u l l ' a l i d o r a t e , " which formed the b a s i s o f the famous p a t r i o t i c chorus i n the opera: "I ran through the v e r s e s t h a t f o l l o w e d and was  much moved, a l l the more because  they were almost a  paraphrase from the B i b l e , the r e a d i n g of which had d e l i g h t e d me"  (qtd. i n K i m b e l l 104).  Nabucco was  f i r s t performed at La S c a l a on 9 March  T h i s work r e p r e s e n t e d V e r d i ' s f i r s t audiences.  always  A l t h o u g h the music was  triumph w i t h the M i l a n e s e h i g h l y p r a i s e d , the w i l d l y  e n t h u s i a s t i c response t o the opera was Risorgimento overtones.  1842.  due i n p a r t t o i t s  Nabucco i s based on O l d  Testament  r e f e r e n c e s t o the B a b y l o n i a n emperor Nebuchadnezzar and h i s s u b j u g a t i o n of Jerusalem.  The chorus, "Va, p e n s i e r o , " which  so moved V e r d i when he f i r s t the  g l a n c e d at the l i b r e t t o ,  i s sung  had by  c a p t i v e Jews as they t o i l on the banks o f the Euphrates.  V e r d i ' s h e a r t f e l t s e t t i n g of i t caused the M i l a n e s e audience t o i d e n t i f y themselves w i t h the Jews of the B i b l e , and from  that  moment on, V e r d i became the u n o f f i c i a l composer of the Risorgimento.  As Osborne s t a t e s , however, " [ t h a t ] the composer  had any c o n s c i o u s i n t e n t i o n t o s t i r h i s audience p o l i t i c a l l y i s  30 highly unlikely.  But h i s sympathies  were w i t h the l i b e r a l  cause  of the Risorgimento, and t h e r e i s no reason the t h i n k t h a t he  was  at a l l d i s p l e a s e d w i t h the a s s o c i a t i o n made by h i s a u d i e n c e s " (Verdi 28).  So u n l i k e Hugo, who  d e l i b e r a t e l y sought  to  provoke  audiences by i n f u s i n g h i s drames w i t h s u b v e r s i v e and r e v o l u t i o n a r y u n d e r c u r r e n t s , V e r d i appears more c a u t i o u s . E r n a n i ) was  H i s main o b j e c t i v e i n w r i t i n g Nabucco  t o ensure h i s success w i t h the p u b l i c .  p a t r i o t i c operas such as A t t i l a Legnano  i n i t i a l l y t o have been  Overtly  (1846) and La B a t t a q l i a d i  (1849) were t o come l a t e r .  N e v e r t h l e s s , V e r d i ' s next opera, I Lombardi similar n a t i o n a l i s t i c fervor.  The work was  the F i r s t  (1843),  aroused  based on the  n a r r a t i v e poem "I Lombardi a l i a prima c r o c i a t a "  i t was  (and l a t e r  ("The  Lombards at  Crusade") by the M i l a n e s e poet, Tomasso G r o s s i .  p u b l i s h e d i n 1826,  G r o s s i ' s poem about  When  the e l e v e n t h -  c e n t u r y defenders of the C h r i s t i a n f a i t h had caused a g r e a t i n northern I t a l y .  Although i t s p l o t has been d e s c r i b e d as  "sheer o p e r a t i c k i t s c h , "  (Osborne Operas 74)  huge p o p u l a r success and was performed the season.  stir  I Lombardi was  27 times b e f o r e the end of  Again, some of the opera's p o p u l a r i t y was  f a c t t h a t the M i l a n e s e audience saw  a  themselves  due t o the  as the Lombards of  o l d , and t h e i r A u s t r i a n o v e r l o r d s as the o p p r e s s i v e Saracens. T h i s b r i n g s us t o E r n a n i , V e r d i ' s next opera which w r i t t e n f o r the autumn season of 1844.  was  A l t h o u g h t h i s was  the  work which f i r m l y e s t a b l i s h e d V e r d i ' s r e p u t a t i o n as I t a l y ' s most g i f t e d young composer, Hugo's p l a y was subjects considered.  not among the  first  V e r d i seemed much more i n t e r e s t e d i n p l o t s  d e r i v e d from E n g l i s h drama or l i t e r a t u r e ,  among them Byron's  "The  31 C o r s a i r " and  "The  V e r d i operas.  Two  F o s c a r i , " both d e s t i n e d l a t e r t o become  Another p o s s i b i l i t y was  an opera about C a t h e r i n e  Howard, the u n f o r t u n a t e f i f t h w i f e of Henry V I I I . While V e r d i was opera,  t r y i n g t o d e c i d e upon a s u b j e c t f o r h i s  new  F r a n c i s c o Maria Piave, a f r i e n d of the s e c r e t a r y of the  F e n i c e i n Venice, wrote t o V e r d i o f f e r i n g t o p r o v i d e him w i t h a l i b r e t t o e n t i t l e d Cromvello. as a l i b r e t t i s t ,  but he was  Piave was  completely inexperienced  an e x c e l l e n t l y r i c poet.  encouraged him t o complete Cromvello, e v e n t u a l l y f i n d a use f o r i t .  The  Verdi  s t a t i n g t h a t he might  two men  were t o become good  f r i e n d s , and Piave remained V e r d i ' s r e g u l a r l i b r e t t i s t  for nearly  20 y e a r s . P i a v e ' s l i b r e t t o f o r Cromvello proved  unsatisfactory,  however. Hugo's Hernani was  mentioned, an i d e a which  immediately  f i r e d Verdi's imagination.  A few days l a t e r he wrote:  Oh, i f o n l y we c o u l d do Hernani! how wonderful i t . would be! I t ' s t r u e t h a t i t would mean a l o t of work f o r [ P i a v e ] , but I would make i t my duty t o t r y t o compensate him, and we would c e r t a i n l y c r e a t e a much f i n e r e f f e c t f o r the p u b l i c . A f t e r a l l , S i g n o r Piave has g r e a t f a c i l i t y i n v e r s i f y i n g , and i n Hernani he would o n l y have t o condense and t i g h t e n up; the a c t i o n i s a l l t h e r e , ready made, and i t ' s immensely theatrical. (qtd. i n Osborne V e r d i 36)  Once the s y n o p s i s had been passed by the c e n s o r s h i p authorities  (whose main concern was  t h a t the emperor C h a r l e s V of  S p a i n s h o u l d be made t o appear as l i b e r a l and c o n s p i r a t o r s as u n t h r e a t e n i n g as p o s s i b l e ) , the l i b r e t t o . completed  the  Piave began work on  By the middle of November 1843,  the g r e a t e r p a r t of the opera.  i m p r e s s i v e and  V e r d i had  E r n a n i was  given i t s  32 f i r s t performance a t the F e n i c e on 6 March 1844, immediate and resounding V e n e z i a c a l l e d the new happy and contented,"  success.  opera  and was  an  The G a z z e t t a P r i v i l e c r i a t a d i  "a triumph,  i n which everyone  w h i l e the c r i t i c of I I G o n d o l i e r e  was  wrote:  On the w a l l s of our l e a d i n g t h e a t r e t h e r e waves a banner on which t h e r e i s w r i t t e n i n l e t t e r s of g o l d , Ernani. With a hundred v o i c e s the populace and the s e n a t o r s applaud t h i s Spanish b a n d i t . . . . The o r i g i n a l drama i s by Hugo, the I t a l i a n a d a p t a t i o n i s by F. Piave, and the harmonies by V e r d i , the d e l i g h t f u l c r e a t o r of I Lombardi and Nabucco. H i s l a t e s t s t r a i n s i n t o x i c a t e , f o u r times over, even the s o u l s of grave pedants and severe matrons. In the f o y e r s , i n the s t r e e t s , i n drawing-rooms, i n c u l t i v a t e d g a t h e r i n g s , the new songs are on a l l l i p s . (qtd. i n Osborne V e r d i 39)  While the c r i t i c s melodies,"  and the p u b l i c applauded the  "sweet  the " c h o i c e harmonies," and the " s p l e n d i d  instrumentation,"  (qtd. i n Osborne V e r d i 39)  the opera  succeeded  perhaps even more e f f e c t i v e l y than the p l a y i n e x p r e s s i n g the r e v o l u t i o n a r y d e t e r m i n a t i o n of the I t a l i a n n a t i o n a l i s t s .  When  E l v i r a invoked the b a n d i t E r n a n i t o come t o rescue her from the r e p u l s i v e embrace of S i l v a , i t was  c l e a r t o audiences  that  she  r e p r e s e n t e d the young I t a l y extending her arms t o someone t o deliver  her from her o l d o p p r e s s o r s .  w i t h the male chorus Operas 90). i t was the word " I t a l y " il  In the c o n s p i r a c y scene  f u l l of " i n c e n d i a r y phrases,  11  (Osborne  easy f o r the s p e c t a t o r t o s u b s t i t u t e m e n t a l l y f o r the word " I b e r i a . "  Leon d i C a s t i g l i a ! "  ("Awake, L i o n of C a s t i l l e ! " ) - - w a s a t f i r s t  banned by the censors, though V e r d i was m o d i f y i n g a few v e r s e s .  This chorus--"Si r i d e s t i  a b l e to appease them by  Osborne d e s c r i b e s t h i s chorus  as  "the  33  first to  of V e r d i ' s s t i r r i n g l y a c t i v e p a t r i o t i c choruses as opposed  the  . . . n o s t a l g i c c h o r a l numbers e x e m p l i f i e d by  pensiero'  i n Nabucco.  sounds b a n a l , but  Out  of context  the L i o n of C a s t i l l e  i n the opera i t . . . i s capable  f e e l i n g s o f group s o l i d a r i t y and t o g e t h e r n e s s " L i k e the p l a y upon which i t was  'Va,  o f awakening  (Operas  based, E r n a n i was  a l l e g o r y which embodied the dreams of an e n t i r e  chorus  90). a  powerful  generation.  Hugo's drama spoke f o r the d i s i l l i u s i o n e d Jeunes-France,  whereas  V e r d i ' s opera v o i c e s the p a s s i o n a t e  Italian  nationalists.  determination  Thus when the Hugolian  of the  Hernani was  transplanted  a c r o s s the A l p s t o become the V e r d i a n E r n a n i , the  subject  a c q u i r e d an e x p l o s i v e power t h a t Hugo c o u l d never have I r o n i c a l l y , one the p l a y w r i g h t  of the most h o s t i l e c r i t i c s of E r n a n i  himself.  Far from a p p l a u d i n g  b e a u t i f u l music or, more s i g n i f i c a n t l y , overtones, play. two  the  i t s revolutionary  Hugo condemned E r n a n i as a clumsy t r a v e s t y of h i s  l a t e r he i n s i s t e d t h a t the t i t l e  c h a r a c t e r s be changed.  and  democratic i d e a l s . s o r t of orgueil  Such a r e a c t i o n seems strange,  c o n t a i n , Hugo was  the  given that  similar  sometimes c r i t i c i s e d .  a r t i s t i c o r s o c i a l v a l u e t h a t the opera might convinced  t h a t V e r d i and  p l a y as a means of a c h i e v i n g fame and  disregarded  Italiens  In the case of E r n a n i , Hugo demonstrated the  f o r which he was  D i s r e g a r d i n g any  des  the names o f  b o t h a r t i s t s were c r e a t i n g works which advocated  his  was  opera's  Indeed, when the opera a r r i v e d at the Theatre  years  suspected.  S e v e r a l years  Piave had e x p l o i t e d fortune,  l a t e r Hugo expressed  resentment towards R i g o l e t t o .  and  similar  In Chapter 4 I d i s c u s s  r e l a t i o n s h i p between the author and  the  the composer i n more d e t a i l .  34  By comparing Le R o i s'amuse t o R i a o l e t t o , I hope t o demonstrate t h a t Hugo's c r i t i c i s m was perhaps unfounded, m o t i v a t e d i t would seem by p r i d e and envy r a t h e r than by an u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f the composer o r h i s operas.  35 CHAPTER  LE ROI  S'AMUSE:  "LE  Whereas Hernani represented  3  WATERLOO  DU  ROMANTISME"  the triumph of romanticism  French t h e a t r e , Le Roi s'amuse, w r i t t e n two many r e s p e c t s a d i s a p p o i n t i n g f a i l u r e .  in  y e a r s l a t e r , was  Although i t was  in  created  i n what appeared t o be the more t o l e r a n t atmosphere of the J u l y Monarchy, the i l l - f a t e d p l a y was censors The  the  the day a f t e r i t s f i r s t performance on 22 November  reasons behind  First,  n e v e r t h l e s s banned by  the suppression  i t v i o l a t e d accepted  time, and  1832.  of the p l a y were t w o f o l d .  moral and a e s t h e t i c codes of  the  second, the government c o n s i d e r e d the p l a y t o be  p o l i t i c a l l y subversive, F r a n c o i s I and  both i n i t s u n f l a t t e r i n g p o r t r a i t  of  i t s d e p i c t i o n of an attempt at r e g i c i d e .  ( I r o n i c a l l y , and u n f o r t u n a t e l y f o r Hugo, there had been an a c t u a l attempt on L o u i s - P h i l l i p e ' s l i f e the day b e f o r e the performance.)  To make matters worse, Le Roi s' amuse  first was  d i s m i s s e d by the p u b l i c and the c r i t i c s as a "degoutant ( P o u i l l i a r t 445) be known as  and the t u r b u l e n t premiere of the p l a y came to  " l e Waterloo du Romantisme."  In t h i s chapter s'amuse was  I propose to show t h a t the f a i l u r e of Le  p r i m a r i l y the r e s u l t of the conservatism  of r e v o l u t i o n t h a t pervaded French bourgeois 1830's.  tableau,"  and the f e a r  s o c i e t y i n the e a r l y  C e n t r a l t o t h i s d i s c u s s i o n , of course,  government's c a p r i c i o u s p o l i c y of c e n s o r s h i p and French romantic t h e a t r e .  Roi  i s the i t s effects  on  36 The  p o l i t i c a l and Before  s o c i a l c l i m a t e : August 1830  f o c u s i n g on Le Roi s'amuse i t s e l f ,  - September I would l i k e  examine the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l c l i m a t e i n France 1830's and  i t s impact  on romantic  theatre.  1835  i n the  to  early  The p e r i o d i n  q u e s t i o n b e g i n s w i t h the a b o l i t i o n of c e n s o r s h i p by the  July  Monarchy i n August 183 0, and ends w i t h i t s r e i n s t a t e m e n t  in  September  1835.  In Popular French Romanticism James A l l e n Smith d e s c r i b e s the e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y emergence i n France of a s o c i e t y based bourgeois  on  values:  T r a d i t i o n a l l y the y e a r 183 0 has marked something of a minor h i s t o r i c a l watershed. E a r l y h i s t o r i a n s . . . c h a r a c t e r i z e d the t h r e e g l o r i o u s days as the completion of a s e l f - c o n s c i o u s l y m i d d l e - c l a s s r e v o l u t i o n t h a t had i t s o r i g i n s i n 1789. For f o r t y - o n e years i t had been f r u s t r a t e d by a s u c c e s s i o n of r e g i m e s - - r e p u b l i c a n , o l i g a r c h i c a l , i m p e r i a l , and r o y a l i s t . But J u l y brought about a t l a s t the p o l i t i c a l triumph of e s t a b l i s h e d commercial and f i n a n c i a l e l i t e s embodied i n the citizen-king Louis-Philippe. . . . ( A l l e n 178)  For the w r i t e r s , the a r t i s t s , supported  it,  and the i n t e l l e c t u a l s who  had  the J u l y Monarchy e v e n t u a l l y came t o symbolize  the  f a i l u r e of a g r e a t hope. P h i l i p p e soon proved  To t h e i r dismay, the monarchy o f L o u i s -  i t s e l f t o be as c o n s e r v a t i v e and r e p r e s s i v e  as the r e c e n t l y deposed Bourbon regime.  As Roger F a y o l l e s t a t e s  i n an a r t i c l e on n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y c r i t i c i s m :  "The r e v o l u t i o n  had been made p o s s i b l e by the a c t i v e r a l l y i n g of a l l those had  r e g a i n e d c o n f i d e n c e i n p r o g r e s s and who  i n the r e - e s t a b l i s h m e n t of the o l d o r d e r . the v a r i o u s trends i n the romantic  refused to The  who  acquiesce  u n i t e d f r o n t of  movement, a l l of which  37 abandoned the defence of a r e t r o g r a d e monarchy i n o r d e r t o ensure the l i b e r t y of a r t , appeared as one m a n i f e s t a t i o n , among o t h e r s , as a r e j e c t i o n of the p a s t "  (263).  However, les  were not s u c c e s s f u l i n t u r n i n g France support  of i t s new  g r e a t men:  g e n e r a l s , poets and a r t i s t s .  trois  glorieuses  into a nation united i n i t s  i t s p o l i t i c i a n s , professors, "A new  regime was e s t a b l i s h e d , "  c o n t i n u e s F a y o l l e , "under the p r o t e c t i o n of L o u i s - P h i l i p p e , a mediocre, bourgeois and bankers, and (263).  k i n g , t o the advantage of the manufacturers  i n the midst  of b i t t e r r i v a l r y between f a c t i o n s "  Indeed, w i t h the a c c e s s i o n of L o u i s - P h i l i p p e , the  i n d u s t r i a l b o u r g e o i s i e was i n French  c u l t u r e : "The  romantics  r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of a new In f a c t ,  t h a t a r t was  f i r m l y e s t a b l i s h e d as a r b i t o r of t a s t e had yearned t o be the g l o r i o u s  a r t welcomed and r e c o g n i z e d by  now  regarded  as no more than the a r t of a  p a r t i c u l a r s c h o o l o r even c h a p e l , and one much r e s e n t e d opposed"  history.  and  ( F a y o l l e 263).  At the o u t s e t , however, the J u l y Monarchy had espouse more l e n i e n t p o l i c i e s c o n c e r n i n g i n t e l l e c t u a l freedom of e x p r e s s i o n . August 1830,  artistic  appeared t o and  A major s t e p was  taken i n  when L o u i s - P h i l i p p e ' s government a b o l i s h e d  c e n s o r s h i p of the p r e s s .  The  famous seventh  a r t i c l e i n the  C h a r t e r s t a t e d : "Les F r a n c a i s ont l e d r o i t de p u b l i e r e t de imprimer l e u r s o p i n i o n s , en se conformant aux peut jamais  etre retablie"  presse  faire  l a censure  (qtd. i n K r a k o v i t c h Hugo censure  In "Les Romantiques et l a censure writes:  lois;  new  7).  au t h e a t r e , " O d i l e K r a k o v i t c h  "Le gouvernement de L o u i s - P h i l i p p e q u i ne p e n s a i t qu'a . . . donna a i n s i ,  son gre,  ne  inconsciemment et probablement  l a l i b e r t e a l a p a r o l e en meme temps qu'a  la  contre  l'ecrit"  (56).  38 However, t h e government's motives f o r a b o l i s h i n g had  i n fact l i t t l e  the p r e s s  t o do w i t h l i b e r a l i s m .  had enormous power t o i n f l a m e  subversive  P o l i t i c i a n s knew t h a t  the p u b l i c with  and r e v o l u t i o n a r y i d e a s , y e t they a l s o r e a l i z e d t h e  p o t e n t i a l danger o f imposing t o o many r e s t r i c t i o n s . steps  had, a t l e a s t i n  i n d i r e c t l y l e d t o the J u l y Revolution.  f e a r f u l t h a t any f u r t h e r p r o v o c a t i o n his  The d r a s t i c  taken by t h e Bourbon government t o c o n t r o l p u b l i s h i n g had  b a c k f i r e d , and i t was c l e a r t h a t c e n s o r s h i p part,  censorship  downfall  abolished  L o u i s - P h i l i p p e was  of the press  could lead to  as w e l l , and so, c o n t r a r y t o h i s i n s t i n c t s , he  censorship.  As K r a k o v i t c h  notes, freedom o f  p u b l i c a t i o n a l s o i m p l i e d freedom o f speech, and t h i s was cause for  c e l e b r a t i o n among the romantic p l a y w r i g h t s  first  time i n t h e h i s t o r y o f French t h e a t r e ,  (58).  F o r the  p l a y s c o u l d be  mounted without government i n t e r f e r e n c e , and many works which formerly  had been s t r i c t l y p r o h i b i t e d were f i n a l l y  staged.  Not  s u r p r i s i n g l y , a great many o f these p l a y s  contained  h a r s h c r i t i c i s m s o f both t h e monarchy and the b o u r g e o i s i e conservative,  m a t e r i a l i s t i c values  soon r e a l i z e d , a l i t t l e  t h e y espoused.  Louis-Philippe  l a t e perhaps, the danger o f h a v i n g  r e l i n q u i s h e d a l l c o n t r o l t o the t h e a t r e s , culture populaire  and the  " l e s s e u l s moyens de  en ce P a r i s au t i e r s i l l e t t r e "  (Krakovitch  "Romantiques" 58). Moreover, i t was i n c r e a s i n g l y d i f f i c u l t f o r the government t o m a i n t a i n order on t h e b r i n k o f r e v o l t . p r i c e s were high,  i n a s o c i e t y t h a t was c o n s t a n t l y  The economy was i n r e c e s s i o n ,  food  and the working c l a s s e s were beginning, t o  a g i t a t e f o r b e t t e r wages and working c o n d i t i o n s .  A w r i t e r a t the  time observed: "Like the s m e l l o f gunpowder . . . r e v o l t was  39 everywhere: i n the s t r e e t s , i n A l l e n 178).  The  i n books, and  s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l  i n the t h e a t r e " i n s t a b i l i t y were  r e f l e c t e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e of the time, and exception.  As a r e s u l t , by 1831  c a l l i n g f o r a reinstatement such as Robert Macaire.  the t h e a t r e was  L o u i s - P h i l i p p e was  of c e n s o r s h i p .  as w e l l as o t h e r  (qtd.  no  already  U l t i m a t e l y , works  " s u b v e r s i v e " p l a y s which  appeared d u r i n g the next few y e a r s , were more than the government could tolerate.  In an attempt t o r e v e r s e what i t viewed as  an  i n c r e a s i n g t r e n d towards anarchy and v i c e , the French government r e i n s t a t e d c e n s o r s h i p by a law passed i n September 1835.  A brief  p e r i o d of freedom i n the t h e a t r e thus ended. Between 1830  and  t h e a t r i c a l output. all  1835,  During  Hugo was  prolific  i n terms of h i s  t h i s p e r i o d he completed f o u r drames,  of which were based on h i s t o r i c a l s u b j e c t s , and  were staged.  He was  a l s o s u c c e s s f u l i n mounting the p r e v i o u s l y  banned Marion de Lorme  (1829).  S h o r t l y a f t e r the debacle  R o i s'amuse, Hugo completed Lucrece p l o t and  Borgia  i t s twin.  I t was  problems w i t h the censors,  the three p l a y s which succeeded Le Italy.  as Hugo s t e e r e d c l e a r of French h i s t o r y and p o l i t i c s , t o produce h i s p l a y s i n r e l a t i v e peace.  i s the f a c t t h a t these  (1833) and  In o r d e r t o a v o i d f u r t h e r  s'amuse were s e t i n s i x t e e n t h c e n t u r y England and  permitted  Le  i s therefore  f o l l o w e d by Marie Tudor  Angelo, t y r a n de Padoue (1835).  of  (1833), a p l a y whose  themes are s i m i l a r t o the former, and  considered  a l l of which  he  As  Roi long  was  Noteworthy too  three p l a y s were w r i t t e n i n prose,  for  reasons which w i l l be d i s c u s s e d momentarily. None of these p l a y s r e t a i n any g r e a t h o l d on the p u b l i c ' s affection,  however, and  t h e i r importance l i e s perhaps l e s s i n  40 t h e i r q u a l i t i e s as dramatic  works than i n the p r e f a c e s which Hugo  composed t o accompany t h e i r p u b l i c a t i o n , and which c o n t a i n  an  e x p o s i t i o n of h i s i d e a s about the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the t h e a t r e the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the w r i t e r . c l e a r l y states this  The  p r e f a c e t o Lucrece  and  Borgia  responsibility:  Le t h e a t r e , on ne s a u r a i t t r o p l e r e p e t e r , a de nos j o u r s une importance immense, e t q u i tend a s ' a c c r o l t r e sans cesse avec l a c i v i l i s a t i o n meme. Le t h e a t r e e s t une t r i b u n e . Le t h e a t r e e s t une c h a i r e . . . . L'auteur . . . s a i t que l e drame, sans s o r t i r des l i m i t e s i m p a r t i a l e s de l ' a r t , a une m i s s i o n n a t i o n a l e , une m i s s i o n humaine. . . . I l ne f a u t pas que l a m u l t i t u d e s o r t e du t h e a t r e sans emporter avec e l l e quelque m o r a l i t e a u s t e r e e t profonde. (47-8)  The  r e f e r e n c e s t o the p o l i t i c a l  quasi-religious  ("chaire")  ("tribune")  purpose of the t h e a t r e seem a f a r c r y  from the more a e s t h e t i c concerns of the By now  "Preface de  Cromwell."  Hugo viewed the t h e a t r e as a p l a c e where the p u b l i c  be e n l i g h t e n e d and educated, and dramatist  i t was  Hugo's  departure  with  reaching  Moreover, d e s p i t e h i s s c a t h i n g a t t a c k on  J u l y Monarchy i n the p r e f a c e t o Le Roi s'amuse, which i n the s a r c a s t i c q u e s t i o n  (448)  the  culminated  "Est-ce q u ' i l y a eu en e f f e t  chose qu'on a appele l a r e v o l u t i o n de j u i l l e t ? " d i d a c t i c i s m i n these  the  so s t r o n g l y advocated i n  i s d i r e c t l y a t t r i b u t a b l e to h i s preoccupation  a wider p u b l i c .  should  the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of  t o p r o v i d e s u i t a b l e moral l e s s o n s .  from the use of v e r s e , which he had 1827,  and even the  quelque  Hugo's  drames i s not e s s e n t i a l l y p o l i t i c a l .  Marion de Lorme, Le Roi s'amuse and Lucrece  Borgia,  political  concerns are downplayed, whereas the themes of m o r a l i t y f a t a l i t y appear t o be of g r e a t e r concern.  In  I t i s perhaps  and ironic  41 t h a t the government chose to ban Le Roi s'amuse.  Although  this  p l a y c o n t a i n s some p r o v o c a t i v e l i n e s i n r e f e r e n c e t o F r a n c o i s I and the n o b i l i t y ,  i t i s h a r d l y comparable t o Hernani as a  p o l i t i c a l c a l l t o arms. I would now reasons  why  l i k e t o t u r n t o Le Roi s'amuse and d i s c u s s the  i t r e c e i v e d such a d i s a s t r o u s response,  why  the  government suspended the p l a y a f t e r o n l y one performance, and  the  ways i n which Hugo attempted t o defend h i s work.  next  Although  I d i s c u s s the p l a y i n much g r e a t e r d e t a i l i n the  chapter,  i t seems a p p r o p r i a t e to g i v e a b r i e f overview of  the p l o t at t h i s p o i n t . hunchbacked j e s t e r who  The p l a y c e n t r e s on T r i b o u l e t , the has f r e e r e i n at the c o u r t of F r a n c o i s I.  He r i d i c u l e s the noblemen whose wives the King has they i n t u r n p l o t t h e i r revenge.  seduced,  and  Both T r i b o u l e t and the King  are  cursed by S a i n t - V a l l i e r , a nobleman whose daughter, Diane de P o i t i e r s has been seduced by the l i c e n t i o u s monarch. daughter Blanche, Now  the epitome of innocence,  i t i s T r i b o u l e t who  King murdered. i s Blanche who  Triboulet's  meets a s i m i l a r  fate.  swears revenge, and he p l o t s to have the  However, the buffoon's  scheme b a c k f i r e s , and i t  i s k i l l e d , whereas the King escapes unharmed.  S i n c e he had been granted p e r m i s s i o n t o stage Marion de Lorme, Hugo's f e a r s of c e n s o r s h i p had g r e a t l y d i m i n i s h e d . still  hadn't e n t i r e l y disappeared,  however, and  They  almost  i n s t i n c t i v e l y , Hugo took the p r e c a u t i o n of p l a n n i n g a supplementary a c t i n the e v e n t u a l i t y t h a t the censors would t r y t o p r o h i b i t Le Roi s'amuse. s i n c e on 15 November 1832,  H i s i n t u i t i o n proved t o be c o r r e c t , two weeks b e f o r e the p l a y was  at the T h e a t r e - F r a n c a i s , he was  summoned by the m i n i s t r y .  t o open  42 Krakovitch  notes: L ' e n t r e t i e n r o u l a uniquement sur l e personnage de F r a n c o i s I e r q u i , d'apres l e comte d'Argout, f o u r m i l l a i t d ' a l l u s i o n s contre L o u i s - P h i l i p p e . V i c t o r Hugo r e p o n d i t q u ' i l " n ' a v a i t pas 1'habitude de proceder par a l l u s i o n s et qu'en peignant F r a n c o i s I e r , c'est Francois Ier q u ' i l a voulu peindre." II o b t i n t 1'autorisation. (Hugo Censure 17)  The morning of the performance Hugo d i s t r i b u t e d t i c k e t s to his  s u p p o r t e r s who  the p l a y unfolded, audience was  occupied l a r g e s e c t i o n s of the t h e a t r e .  however, i t became apparent t h a t most of the  f a r from p l e a s e d with what they were watching.  C o u r r i e r des Theatres was  first  a c t s were applauded "avec  However, d u r i n g the second a c t "une  o p p o s i t i o n assez  v i v e s ' e s t d e c l a r e e , et e l l e n'a p o i n t cess£ jusqu'a rideau"  (Pouilliart  Le  r e p o r t e d t h a t the r e a c t i o n of the audience  "melee" and t h a t the two  transport."  As  l a chute du  445).  In her d e f i n i t i v e  study of Hugo's p l a y s e n t i t l e d  Le Roi et  l e bouffon. Anne U b e r f s e l d d e s c r i b e s the f i r s t performance of Le Roi s'amuse as "un des grands scandales f e r t i l e en r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s t r o u b l e e s . deroute, their  une  catastrophe"  (121).  condemnation of the p l a y .  Ouotidienne,  was  "l'horrible,  et de' 1'ignoble,  Non  pourtant  pas un echec, mais  19).  Merle,  w r i t i n g f o r La  de l a r e a l i t e t r o p crue" A c c o r d i n g t o him,  " l e Waterloo du Romantisme."  the p l a y ' s moral stance.  of  (qtd. i n  Le Roi s'amuse  Other c r i t i c s  attacked  the p l a y ' s language, i t s h i s t o r i c a l i n n a c c u r a c i e s , and i n particular,  une  c r i t i c s were unanimous i n  d i s g u s t e d by what he c o n s i d e r e d as a s u r f e i t  K r a k o v i t c h , Hugo censure represented  The  de c e t t e p e r i o d e  In Le Roi et l e b o u f f o n  43 U b e r s f e l d comments:  Or ce n'est pas un p u b l i c de p h i l i s t i n s q u i a condamne Le Roi s'amuse. ce sont des e c r i v a i n s , des a r t i s t e s , l e s p l u s e c l a i r e s parmi l e s banquiers, l e s hommes d ' a f f a i r e s , l e s d i r e c t e u r s de journaux. Toute l a b o u r g e o i s i e o r g a n i s e e , avec t o u t e s l e s nuances de son a r c - e n - c i e l p o l i t i q u e , s'affirme h o s t i l e a l a tentative de Hugo au T h e a t r e - F r a n c a i s . (127)  What was condemned was not the p o l i t i c a l aspect o f the p l a y (the audience applauded T r i b o u l e t ' s t i r a d e s a g a i n s t t h e c o u r t i e r s ) as much as i t s b l a t a n t v i o l a t i o n o f the e s t a b l i s h e d moral code.  R e f e r r i n g n o s t a l g i c a l l y t o the decorum o f neo-  c l a s s i c a l t h e a t r e , the Le J o u r n a l des Debats  asked:  Sont-ce de t e l l e s moeurs que l ' a r t d o i t exposer aux yeux du p u b l i c ? E s t - c e l a que d e v a i e n t nous mener ces nouvelles fastueuses theories? Dans l e t h e a t r e antique, l a royaute p r o s c r i t e e t malheureuse a l l a i t se r e f u g i e r au p i e d du Cytheron, appuyee au b r a s d'Antigone; dans n o t r e t h e a t r e maintenant, l a royaute i v r e v i e n t dormir dans un mauvais l i e u , e n t r e l e s bras d'une f i l l e p u b l i q u e . V o i l a ce qu'on nomme p r o g r e s ! (qtd. i n P o u i l l i a r t 627)  Another a r t i c l e i n the same j o u r n a l o f f e r e d a s u c c i n c t  analysis  of t h e reasons f o r the audience's d i s t a s t e f o r Le Roi s'amuse:  Toutes l e s f o i s que l ' a u t e u r s ' e l e v a i t a l a p a s s i o n , j e t a i t dans son d i a l o g u e quelques grandes pensees, quelques sentiments v r a i s du coeur humain, a l o r s t o u t e s l e s sympathies s ' e v e i l l a i e n t , t o u t e s l e s croyances l i t t e r a i r e s meme, s'empressaient de l u i rendre j u s t i c e ; mais l o r s q u ' i l tombait dans l e bouffon, l e t r i v i a l , l e populaire, aussitot naissaient 1'inattention et l e degout. (qtd. i n U b e r s f e l d Le Roi 127)  44  The consensus was  t h a t i n w r i t i n g Le Roi s'amuse, Hugo had  v i o l a t e d the f o u n d a t i o n s upon which French b o u r g e o i s c u l t u r e based.  C l e a r l y Hugo had misjudged h i s audience, and  was  by  a g g r e s s i v e l y i n f l i c t i n g upon them a type of t h e a t r e t o which they c o u l d o n l y o b j e c t , he had been the a r c h i t e c t o f h i s own  failure.  The government, l i k e w i s e c o n v i n c e d t h a t Hugo had gone too f a r , was  q u i c k t o s t e p i n , and on 23 November 1832,  performances  of Le R o i s'amuse were p r o h i b i t e d .  further  Hugo  was  i n c r e d u l o u s , s i n c e the C h a r t e r of 183 0 had e x p r e s s l y guaranteed l i t e r a r y freedom.  Moreover, many p l a y s which c r i t i c i z e d  s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l interference.  the  s t a t u s quo were b e i n g s t a g e d without  Hugo was  j u s t i f i a b l y shocked by the suddenness of  the s u s p e n s i o n and the l a c k of e x p l a n a t i o n f o r i t .  D e s p i t e the  p u b l i c ' s h o s t i l e r e c e p t i o n of Le Roi s'amuse. Hugo h a r d l y expected the p l a y t o be permanently  suppressed.  the government f i n a l l y i s s u e d a t e r s e statement p l a y had been suspended de scenes Roi 139).  on the grounds t h a t  . . . l e s moeurs sont outragees" I t was  Two  weeks l a t e r  c l a i m i n g t h a t the  "dans un grand nombre (qtd. i n U b e r s f e l d Le  obvious t o Hugo, however, t h a t the p l a y ' s  p o l i t i c a l overtones were the r e a l reason f o r such prompt  and  • d r a s t i c measures. Immediately First,  Hugo launched a two-pronged c o u n t e r - a t t a c k .  he mounted a l e g a l case a g a i n s t the Comedie-Francaise  for  breach of c o n t r a c t , and second, he wrote the p r e f a c e t o Le Roi s'amuse, i n which he p i l l o r i e d the J u l y Monarchy and both h i m s e l f and h i s p l a y .  Hugo's r e a l q u a r r e l was  •government, not w i t h the t h e a t r e . a g a i n s t the Comedie-Francaise,  defended w i t h the  However, by l a u n c h i n g a case  Hugo hoped t h a t the government  45 would be  i m p l i c a t e d as w e l l .  Since i t had  s t e p of imposing c e n s o r s h i p , the t h e a t r e from f u l f i l l i n g  taken the  the government had  unlawful  thus  i t s c o n t r a c t w i t h the  prevented  author.  Moreover, as U b e r s f e l d comments i n Le Roi et l e b o u f f o n : f a i s a n t un p r o c e s a l a Comedie-Francaise  . . . d'un  c e r t a i n sens  [Hugo] s e r v a i t l e s i n t e r e t s des comediens q u i a v a i e n t f r a i s pour une  p i e c e q u ' i l s ne pouvaient  gagn6, i l eut mis  pas  "en  fait  des  jouer; s ' i l a v a i t  l e gouvernement dans un grand embarras"  U l t i m a t e l y , however, the f i g h t was  futile,  and Hugo had  (154).  t o admit  t h a t the government's power t o uphold i t s a c t i o n s , however r e p r e h e n s i b l e , was  practically  But v i c t o r y o r d e f e a t was Le Roi s'amuse. and  As a man  who  limitless. not the main i s s u e i n the t r i a l possessed  a keen sense of  publicity  t h e a t r e , Hugo knew t h a t a courtroom drama w i t h h i m s e l f  i n the  l e a d i n g r o l e would be an e x c e l l e n t means of winning p u b l i c support for  and  sympathy.  The  scope of t h i s chapter does not  allow  a d e t a i l e d account of the c o m p l e x i t i e s of the e n t i r e l e g a l  battle.  S u f f i c e i t t o say t h a t the t r i a l  r e v e a l e d a l a c k of  c l e a r l y d e f i n e d l e g a l g u i d e l i n e s r e g a r d i n g the the n e c e s s i t y o r the use of c e n s o r s h i p . s i n g l i n g out and its  authority.  de l a Charte, les  The  suppressing On  government had abused i t s power i n a work which was  seen t o  challenge  13 December Le N a t i o n a l noted t h a t "en d e p i t  l e ministere s'obstine  a maintenir  l a censure  ouvrages dramatiques: c a r nous ne pouvons donner une  q u a l i f i c a t i o n a l ' a r b i t r a i r e q u i s'arroge  l e pouvoir  permettant ou en i n t e r d i s a n t l a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n de p i e c e s de t h e a t r e " testimony,  sur  autre  en  certaines  (qtd. i n U b e r s f e l d Le Roi 1 4 1 - 2 ) .  of  In h i s  Hugo c l e a r l y u n d e r l i n e d the dangers of a p o l i t i c a l  46 regime which c o u l d impose i t s w i l l so f l a g r a n t l y and so c a p r i c i o u s l y on the people.  According  t o him,  an a c t o f  c e n s o r s h i p today c o u l d mean a t o t a l l o s s o f c i v i l  rights  tomorrow:  A u j o u r d ' h u i on me f a i t prendre ma l i b e r t e de poete par un censeur, demain on me f e r a prendre ma l i b e r t e de c i t o y e n p a r un gendarme: a u j o u r d ' h u i on me b a n n i t du t h e a t r e , demain on me d e p o r t e r a ; a u j o u r d ' h u i l ' e t a t de s i e g e e s t dans l a l i t t e r a t u r e , demain i l s e r a dans la cite. De l i b e r t e , de g a r a n t i e s , de Charte, de d r o i t p u b l i c , p l u s un mot. Neant. (qtd. i n U b e r s e l d Le R o i 150)  Hugo's second l i n e o f defense was t o w r i t e the famous p r e f a c e t o the f i r s t the midst  e d i t i o n o f Le R o i s'amuse which came out i n  o f the t r i a l .  The p r e f a c e begins w i t h a r e a f f i r m a t i o n  t h a t t h e C h a r t e r o f 1830 had completely censorship.  T h i s a c t was supposed t o guarantee every c i t i z e n the  freedom o f speech and o f p u b l i c a t i o n . to  t h e t h e a t r e , s i n c e as Hugo argues:  moyen de p u b l i c a t i o n comme l a presse, lithographie. dans l a Charte, (447).  and i r r e v o c a b l y a b o l i s h e d  T h i s freedom a l s o a p p l i e d "Le t h e a t r e n'est qu'un comme l a gravure,  comme l a  L a l i b e r t e du t h e a t r e e s t done i m p l i c i t m e n t  ecrite  avec t o u t e s l e s a u t r e s l i b e r t e s de l a pensee"  Hugo a l s o reminds h i s readers t h a t t h e C h a r t e r had  p r o h i b i t e d the c o n f i s c a t i o n o f p e r s o n a l p r o p e r t y and t h a t i n s e i z i n g the p l a y , t h e government had f l a g r a n t l y d i s r e g a r d e d i t s own  law.  The s u p p r e s s i o n o f Le R o i s'amuse was thus  monstrueux de censure  et d'arbitraire,  "un a c t e  [et] une v e r i t a b l e  c o n f i s c a t i o n ; c ' e s t une p r o p r i e t e violemment derobee au t h e a t r e et  a l'auteur"  (447-8).  47 Hugo then defends  h i s p l a y a g a i n s t the government's  t h a t i t i s immoral: "La p i e c e e s t immorale? p a r l e fond?  V o i c i l e fond.  charge  Croyez-vous?  Est-ce  Triboulet est difforme, Triboulet  e s t malade, T r i b o u l e t e s t b o u f f o n de cour; t r i p l e misere q u i l e r e n d mechant"  (450).  D e s p i t e T r i b o u l e t ' s misanthropy  and h i s  r o l e i n pushing the King towards v i c e and tyranny, the remains t h a t i n l o s i n g Blanche According to  he i s u l t i m a t e l y  fact  punished.  Hugo, t h i s renders the p l a y "moral p a r  1'invention."  Act 2, which c o n t a i n s T r i b o u l e t ' s most savage  a t t a c k on the n o b i l i t y  ("Vous e t e s tous b a t a r d s ! " ) , i s  n e v e r t h e l e s s i n t e n d e d t o c r e a t e an i m p r e s s i o n t h a t i s "chaste, vertueuse,  et honnete."  Moreover, Hugo argues  t h a t the  s i t u a t i o n s d e p i c t e d i n a c t s 4 and 5 are h a r d l y  sordid  unprecedented:  "Depuis quand n ' e s t - i l p l u s permis a un r o i de c o u r t i s e r s u r l a scene une  s e r v a n t e d'auberge?"  than "Toutes theatre." terrible,  Even Maguelonne i s no more brazen  l e s L i s e t t e s et t o u t e s l e s Martons du v i e u x  Admittedly,  S a l t a b a d i l ' s t a v e r n i s "un l i e u  h o r r i b l e " , but i t i s not  As was  "un l i e u obscene"  sinistre,  (452).  the case w i t h h i s testimony b e f o r e the T r i b u n a l ,  Hugo's main purpose i n the p r e f a c e was and t o a l e r t h i s r e a d e r s t o what he saw towards despotism. "choquante, non  t o c h a s t i s e the government as an i n e v i t a b l e march  U b e r s f e l d s t a t e s t h a t the p r e f a c e  was  seulement par ce q u ' e l l e o s a i t d i r e , en d e p i t de  c e r t a i n e s i n f l e x i o n s , mais par l e ton d ' i r o n i e d e s t r u c t r i c e p a r l a hauteur dedaigneuse . . . e n f i n par une  . . .  s o r t e de  detachement et hautaine v u l g a r i t e "  (Le Roi 114).  i n no u n c e r t a i n terms h i s profound  d i s g u s t f o r a government t h a t  had  lost  Hugo expressed  i t s nerve and had r e g r e s s e d i n t o p e t t i n e s s and  48 intolerance:  Le moment de t r a n s i t i o n p o l i t i q u e ou nous sommes est curieux. C'est un des i n s t a n t s de f a t i g u e g e n e r a l e e t tous l e s a c t e s despotiques sont p o s s i b l e s dans l a s o c i € t € meme l a p l u s i n f i l t r e e d'idees d'emancipation e t de l i b e r t e . La France a march6 v i t e en j u i l l e t 1830; e l l e a f a i t t r o i s bonnes j o u r n ^ e s ; e l l e a f a i t t r o i s grandes etapes dans l e champ de l a c i v i l i s a t i o n e t du p r o g r e s . Maintenant beaucoup sont harasses, beaucoup sont e s s o u f f l e s , beaucoup demandent a f a i r e h a l t e . . . . A n o t r e a v i s , l e gouvernement abuse de c e t t e d i s p o s i t i o n au repos e t de c e t t e c r a i n t e des r e v o l u t i o n s n o u v e l l e s . I I en e s t venu a t y r a n n i s e r petitement. I l a t o r t pour l u i e t pour nous. (455-6)  Echoing h i s testimony b e f o r e the c o u r t , Hugo s t a t e s ;  " L ' e t a t de  s i e g e s e r a l e v e dans l a c i t e l i t t e r a i r e comme dans l a c i t e politique"  (457).  In h i s p r e f a c e Hugo thus accused of honesty  and i n t e g r i t y .  the J u l y Monarchy o f a l a c k  The s u p p r e s s i o n o f Le R o i s'amuse on  the grounds o f i m m o r a l i t y was but a smokescreen, p a r t o f an e l a b o r a t e "echafaudage des mauvaises e t honteuses r a i s o n s " (454) . Although  those r e s p o n s i b l e wouldn't admit t o i t ,  l i k e l y t h a t one o f p r i n c i p a l reasons  i t was v e r y  f o r the s u p p r e s s i o n o f the  p l a y was t o make an example o f Hugo and h i s work. the poet,  According to  " i l s ont v o u l u a l a f i n , pousses a bout, f a i r e , a  t r a v e r s t o u t e s l e s l o i s e t tous l e s d r o i t s , un exemple s u r un ouvrage e t un e c r i v a i n "  (453).  Perhaps, as he b e l i e v e d , Hugo was  t r u l y the v i c t i m o f "un p e t i t coup d'Etat l i t t e r a i r e " which was supported  by a r i v a l  "cabale" o f a r c h - c o n s e r v a t i v e p o l i t i c i a n s ,  a r t i s t s and i n t e l l e c t u a l s . As a p o s t - s c r i p t t o t h i s chapter i t s h o u l d be mentioned t h a t  49 V e r d i e x p e r i e n c e d s i m i l a r problems w i t h c e n s o r s h i p throughout career.  R i g o l e t t o i n p a r t i c u l a r i n v o l v e d the composer and h i s  librettist  i n a s t r u g g l e w i t h the censor.  As i n France, the most  common method by which the v a r i o u s governments i n I t a l y t o stem the r e v o l u t i o n a r y t i d e was laws.  his  attempted  t o impose s t r i c t c e n s o r s h i p  The A u s t r i a n a u t h o r i t i e s were the most l e n i e n t i n the  whole of I t a l y , thus V e r d i , whose e a r l y y e a r s were l a r g e l y i n the A u s t r i a n t e r r i t o r i e s ,  suffered l i t t l e  c e n s o r s h i p p r o v i d e d t h a t he was  i n the way  spent  of  composing f o r M i l a n o r V e n i c e .  However, when he t r i e d t o i n t r o d u c e h i s Risorgimento  i d e a l i s m or  h i s dramatic boldness t o Rome o r Naples, he encountered  numerous  obstacles. C e n s o r s h i p i n I t a l y was issues: p o l i t i c s , c a t e g o r y was  religion,  p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h t h r e e and morals.  of l e s s e r importance  In g e n e r a l , the  than the former two,  even i n the A u s t r i a n t e r r i t o r i e s t h e r e was  The  although  a ban on a g r e a t  number of romantic dramas, i n c l u d i n g , not s u r p r i s i n g l y , V i c t o r Hugo.  latter  those of  a u t h o r i t i e s were w e l l aware of the s c a n d a l s  c r e a t e d by Hernani and Le R o i s'amuse, and they wished s i m i l a r d i s t u r b a n c e s i n t h e i r own  domains.  to avoid  The r e p o r t s of the  p r e f e c t of the M i l a n p o l i c e c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e the o f f i c i a l on such m a t t e r s :  "Theatres are designed t o c o r r e c t morals,  must t h e r e f o r e never p r e s e n t a n y t h i n g but moral they p r e s e n t wickedness, v i r t u e appears  view and  themes, o r i f  i t must be done i n such a way  that  the more g l o r i o u s and b e a u t i f u l as a r e s u l t "  (qtd.  i n K i m b e l l 24). But i t was most s e n s i t i v e .  on p o l i t i c a l  i s s u e s t h a t the censors were the  S u b j e c t s and s i t u a t i o n s t h a t c o u l d be  50  i n t e r p r e t e d as d i s r e s p e c t f u l towards s o v e r e i g n s o r e s t a b l i s h e d governments, e x p r e s s i o n s o f p a t r i o t i s m o r l i b e r t a r i a n i s m ,  mention  of c o n s p i r a c y o r a s s a s s i n a t i o n o f a r u l e r , were a l l regarded w i t h distrust.  In those p a r t s o f the c o u n t r y under more severe  rule  than i n M i l a n , p o l i t i c a l overtones o f t e n l e d t o a l i b r e t t o ' s b e i n g d r a s t i c a l l y a l t e r e d , o r suppressed a l t o g e t h e r . In A p r i l 1 8 5 0 V e r d i became i n t e r e s t e d i n Le R o i s'amuse. brought  He  t h e s u b j e c t t o the a t t e n t i o n o f Piave, encouraging him t o  c o n s i d e r the p l a y ' s m u s i c a l p o s s i b l i t i e s :  Have a t r y ! The s u b j e c t i s grand, immense, and t h e r e ' s a c h a r a c t e r i n i t who i s one o f the g r e a t e s t c r e a t i o n s t h a t the t h e a t r e of a l l c o u n t r i e s and a l l times can boast. The s u b j e c t i s Le R o i s'amuse and the c h a r a c t e r I'm speaking about i s T r i b o u l e t . . . . As soon as you get t h i s l e t t e r . . . run about the c i t y and f i n d someone o f i n f l u e n c e t o get us p e r m i s s i o n t o do Le R o i s'amuse. (qtd. i n Budden Operas 4 7 7 )  Hugo's drama had remained  h i g h l y c o n t r o v e r s i a l s i n c e i t was  banned i n P a r i s 1 8 y e a r s e a r l i e r , but s i n c e the V e n e t i a n a u t h o r i t i e s had p e r m i t t e d E r n a n i , V e r d i hoped they might permit Le R o i s'amuse. serious threat.  also  I n e v i t a b l y , however, c e n s o r s h i p became a  I n the a f t e r m a t h o f the u p r i s i n g s o f 1 8 4 8 , the  V e n e t i a n a u t h o r i t i e s had become l e s s t o l e r a n t .  In any case,  V e r d i and Piave c e r t a i n l y o v e r e s t i m a t e d the censor's r e a d i n e s s t o accept an opera based on Le R o i s'amuse.  When the m i l i t a r y  governor o f Venice, C a v a l i e r de Gorzkowski,  e v e n t u a l l y got around  t o p e r f o r m i n g h i s censor's duty, he was h o r r i f i e d by the content of the proposed  libretto.  Here was a drama d e p i c t i n g a r o y a l  household as a hotbed o f debauchery and c o r r u p t i o n ; a s t o r y  51  p i v o t i n g on a curse, a s e d u c t i o n ,  and an a s s a s s i n a t i o n ; a l i s t  of  c h a r a c t e r s i n c l u d i n g a l i b e r t i n e monarch, a hunchback buffoon, p r o f e s s i o n a l a s s a s s i n and h i s h a r l o t s i s t e r .  The whole t h i n g ,  which V e r d i and Piave had e n t i t l e d La M a l e d i z i o n e . to  him,  and was  t o t a l l y a l i e n to the noble,  of I t a l i a n opera.  was  humanist  In e a r l y December Gorzkowski had  message conveyed t o the management of the  a  disgusting traditions  the f o l l o w i n g  Fenice:  H i s E x c e l l e n c y . . . has commanded me t o i n f o r m the Noble Prezidenza [Mazari, p r e s i d e n t of La Fenice] t h a t he r e g r e t s t h a t the poet Piave and the c e l e b r a t e d Maestro V e r d i have not been able t o choose some o t h e r theme on which to e x h i b i t t h e i r t a l e n t s than one of such r e p e l l e n t immorality and obscene t r i v i a l i t y as the s u b j e c t of the l i b r e t t o e n t i t l e d La M a l e d i z i o n e . . . . H i s E x c e l l e n c y has t h e r e f o r e determined a b s o l u t e l y t o f o r b i d the performance, and wishes me, at the same time, t o admonish the Prezidenza t o r e f r a i n from f u r t h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s on t h i s matter. (qtd. i n K i m b e l l 268-9)  V e r d i was Stiffelio  stunned: "Coming so soon a f t e r the  ' c a s t r a t i o n ' of  [ a l s o h e a v i l y censored] i t seems t o have d e p r i v e d  momentarily, of a l l d e t e r m i n a t i o n  and r e s o u r c e .  Had  him,  things  depended upon him at t h i s j u n c t u r e , i t looks as i f R i q o l e t t o would have got no f u r t h e r " (Kimbell 269). his  librettist  and blamed him  V e r d i was  f o r having bungled the  f u r i o u s at affair.  Piave had been commissioned on the understanding  t h a t he would be  a b l e t o o b t a i n the censor's  approval, but he had  f a i l e d t o do  The  a complicated  weeks t h a t f o l l o w e d saw  and exhausting  series  of n e g o t i a t i o n s i n v o l v i n g V e r d i , Piave, and Guglielmo Brenna s e c r e t a r y of La Fenice)  on one  s i d e , and the General  P u b l i c Order, one M a r t e l l o , on the other.  so.  (the  D i r e c t o r of  I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to  52 note t h a t d u r i n g these n e g o t i a t i o n s , V e r d i quoted s e c t i o n s  from  Hugo's p r e f a c e t o Le R o i s'amuse i n o r d e r t o defend h i s own a r t i s t i c freedom.  F o r t u n a t e l y , M a r t e l l o proved t o be more open-  minded than a n t i c i p a t e d , and the v e r s i o n o f the l i b r e t t o which he approved r e q u i r e d o n l y some v e r y minor changes.  In a l e t t e r t o  M a r t e l l o , V e r d i summarized the elements o f the s t o r y he would be w i l l i n g t o change, as w e l l as those which he i n s i s t e d must remain unaltered:  1. The scene s h a l l be changed from the French c o u r t t o that o f an independent Duke o f Burgundy o r Normandy, o r t o the court o f a minor a b s o l u t i s t I t a l i a n s t a t e , p r e f e r a b l y t h a t of P i e r L u i g i Farnese, and i n the p e r i o d most s u i t a b l e f o r s c e n i c and dramatic e f f e c t . 2. The o r i g i n a l c h a r a c t e r s of. the drama Le R o i s'amuse by V i c t o r Hugo s h a l l be r e t a i n e d , but o t h e r names s h a l l be found f o r them, dependent on the p e r i o d chosen. 3. The scene i n which Francesco appears determined t o use the key i n h i s p o s s e s s i o n t o e n t e r the room o f the abducted [Blanche] s h a l l be omitted. I t s h a l l be r e p l a c e d by another which p r e s e r v e s the d e c e n c i e s but does not d e t r a c t from the i n t e r e s t o f the p l a y . 4. The King o r Duke s h a l l come t o the rendezvous i n Magellona's t a v e r n as the r e s u l t of a pretended i n v i t a t i o n brought t o him by the T r i b o l e t t o c h a r a c t e r . 5. In the scene i n which the sack c o n t a i n i n g the corpse o f T r i b o l e t t o ' s daughter appears, Maestro V e r d i r e s e r v e s t o h i m s e l f the r i g h t t o make such changes as he c o n s i d e r s necessary. 6. The above-mentioned changes r e q u i r e more time than was o r i g i n a l l y supposed. T h e r e f o r e Maestro V e r d i d e c l a r e s that the new opera cannot be performed b e f o r e 28 February o r 1 March. (qtd. i n Osborne, V e r d i 107)  U l t i m a t e l y , V e r d i had h i s way, but i t was not u n t i l the end of January 1851, s i x weeks b e f o r e the opera's premiere, t h a t the  53 h e r o i c engagement w i t h the V e n e t i a n censors ended.  The r e s t of  the music was composed v e r y q u i c k l y , as V e r d i l a t e r admitted  that  much o f the s c o r e had been a l r e a d y w r i t t e n some months e a r l i e r . In t h i s c h a p t e r I have attempted t o i l l u s t r a t e t h e extreme c o n t r o l t h a t many governments e x e r c i s e d over a r t i s t s d u r i n g t h e first  h a l f o f the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y .  As we have seen,  V e r d i were not exempt from t h i s r u l e , and c e n s o r s h i p  Hugo and  battles  would c o n t i n u e t o f r u s t r a t e t h e i r c r e a t i v e endeavors f o r many years.  Nevertheless,  the two men demonstrated uncommon t e n a c i t y  i n t h e i r r e s i s t a n c e t o p o l i t i c a l regimes which t r i e d t o s t i f l e their political,  moral and a e s t h e t i c views.  Although  some  d e f e a t s were i n e v i t a b l e , r e a l p r o g r e s s was made i n t h e f i g h t f o r a r t i s t i c and i n t e l l e c t u a l freedom.  Hugo may have l o s t t h e c o u r t  b a t t l e over Le R o i s'amuse, f o r example, but the t r i a l  at least  had t h e e f f e c t o f slowing down t h e r e - e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f a p o l i c y of c e n s o r s h i p .  54 CHAPTER  LE ROI  S'AMUSE  AND  4  RIGOLETTO:  FROM  FAILURE  With the c r e a t i o n of R i a o l e t t o i n 1851, opera t o unprecedented  heights.  TO  SUCCESS  V e r d i took  T h i s opera, and the two  immediately f o l l o w e d i t - - I I T r o v a t o r e and La T r a v i a t a p r e m i e r i n g i n 1853)--represented the f u l l genius as a dramatic composer. affirm  t h a t R i g o l e t t o was  Italian which  (both  f l o w e r i n g of V e r d i ' s  Moreover, many m u s i c a l s c h o l a r s  t r u l y r e v o l u t i o n a r y , f o r i n t h i s work  the composer r e j e c t e d many of the c o n v e n t i o n s t h a t had e a r l y I t a l i a n romantic opera.  governed  Once audiences and c r i t i c s became  used i t s i n n o v a t i v e and sometimes even s h o c k i n g q u a l i t i t e s , R i g o l e t t o e s t a b l i s h e d i t s e l f as one of most e n d u r i n g l y p o p u l a r operas ever w r i t t e n . By c o n t r a s t , Le Roi s'amuse. the p l a y which was inspiration  the  f o r R i g o l e t t o , i s c o n s i d e r e d by many as a c r i t i c a l  and a p u b l i c f a i l u r e .  Many s c h o l a r s s p e c u l a t e t h a t even i f i t  had not been a b r u p t l y suppressed, the p l a y would most  certainly  have f a i l e d due t o i t s i n h e r e n t weaknesses as a dramatic work. D e s p i t e the almost u n i v e r s a l condemnation of Le R o i s'amuse, V e r d i was  g r e a t l y impressed by i t .  c h a p t e r , he found the p l a y t o be  As mentioned  "grand" and  i n the p r e c e d i n g  "immense."  He  d e s c r i b e d T r i b o u l e t as a " c r e a t i o n worthy of Shakespeare" i n Budden Operas 4 7 7 ) .  T h i s was  which had been d e c i s i v e l y alike.  The comparison  even  (qtd.  h i g h p r a i s e indeed f o r a work  r e j e c t e d by audiences and  w i t h Shakespeare  critics  i s significant,  since for  some time V e r d i had been c o n s i d e r i n g the p o s s i b i l i t y of b a s i n g an opera on King Lear.  In f a c t ,  t h i s p l a y would become a l i f e - l o n g  55 o b s e s s i o n f o r the composer, even though the p r o j e c t was realized.  Given the  3  s i m i l a r i t i e s between Le Roi  Shakespeare's drama, i t i s easy t o comprehend why t o Hugo's p l a y .  Both Kincr Lear and  of p a t e r n i t y and  self-deception.  r o l e - - a l b e i t an u n w i t t i n g daughter.  t h a t f a t e has  s'amuse  and  V e r d i was  Le Roi s'amuse are  drawn  tragedies  L i k e Lear, T r i b o u l e t p l a y s  a  o n e - - i n the d e s t r u c t i o n of h i s b e l o v e d  D e s p i t e t h e i r power and  protagonists  never  i n f l u e n c e , the  two  are unable t o prevent the s e r i e s of h o r r i f i c  events  condemned them t o .  Conscious of the p a r a l l e l s between the two d r a m a t i c i n s t i n c t s t o l d him operatic potential.  plays,  t h a t Le Roi s'amuse had  Verdi's  considerable  Indeed, the composer's e n t h u s i a s t i c  praise  of Hugo's p l a y i n d i c a t e s h i s w i l l i n g n e s s t o o v e r l o o k many of i t s inherent Verdi  flaws,  as w e l l as i t s h i s t o r y of s c a n d a l and  failure.  thus i n s i s t e d t h a t the l i b r e t t o s h o u l d r e f l e c t Hugo's work  as much as p o s s i b l e .  H i s wish was  from the change i n s e t t i n g and  l a r g e l y realized, since  the a l t e r a t i o n of most of  names, P i a v e ' s t e x t c l o s e l y p a r a l l e l s Le R o i  apart  the  s'amuse.  I r o n i c a l l y , however, i n t h e i r d e s i r e t o emulate Le Roi  s'amuse.  Verdi  several  and  levels,  P i a v e succeed i n c r e a t i n g an opera which, on  f a r s u r p a s s e s Hugo's p l a y .  In t h i s c h a p t e r I w i l l examine how Le R o i  many of the weaknesses of  s'amuse are overcome i n R i q o l e t t o .  s i m i l a r i t i e s between the two  works, there  D e s p i t e obvious are n o t a b l e  differences  Howarth notes: " I t has been suggested by J u l i a n Budden t h a t i n R i q o l e t t o the composer r e a l i z e s h i s ambition t o 'blend the comic and the t e r r i b l e i n Shakespeare's manner'; w h i l e the same c r i t i c , r e f e r r i n g t o V e r d i ' s o b s e s s i o n w i t h King Lear, elsewhere c a l l s R i q o l e t t o 'one of the L e a r s t h a t might have been'" ("From Le Roi s'amuse t o R i q o l e t t o " 83-4). 3  56 which ensure much o f the opera's success. the chapter libretto.  The f i r s t  s e c t i o n of  i s devoted t o a comparison o f Hugo's p l a y and Piave's By j u x t a p o s i n g the two t e x t s I hope t o demonstrate  t h a t Piave's  i s the more s u c c e s s f u l i n i t s a b i l i t y t o c r e a t e and  s u s t a i n dramatic  tension.  In the the second p a r t o f t h i s  chapter  I d i s c u s s the importance of V e r d i ' s music t o the enduring  success  of R i g o l e t t o .  The  l i b r e t t o and the p l a y C o n s i d e r i n g h i s h o s t i l e r e a c t i o n t o E r n a n i . i t i s not  s u r p r i s i n g t h a t Hugo expressed Rigoletto.  s i m i l a r sentiments towards  In the case o f the l a t t e r opera, the w r i t e r  resented  what he viewed as the demotion o f h i s drama i n t o a "mere libretto" acquaint  (Martin 275) .  But had Hugo taken the time t o  h i m s e l f w i t h the t e x t o f the opera, he may have changed  h i s views. story,  4  Although Piave's  i t also represents  l i b r e t t o r e t a i n s much o f Hugo's  some r e a l improvements.  In the cases  where Piave d e v i a t e s from the p l a y , e i t h e r by n e c e s s i t y o r by c h o i c e , the s t o r y u s u a l l y gains i n dramatic power. The  most obvious d i f f e r e n c e between the two t e x t s i s t h a t  the l i b r e t t o i s much s h o r t e r . g r e a t l y reduced  Not o n l y i s the number o f l i n e s  (the p l a y c o n t a i n s 1660 l i n e s as compared t o the  l i b r e t t o ' s 705), but the a c t s are reduced from f i v e t o t h r e e . A l s o reduced i s the number o f r o l e s .  In Le R o i s'amuse t h e r e are  twenty c h a r a c t e r s l i s t e d as w e l l as a u n s p e c i f i e d number o f non-  Moreover, Hugo was adamant t h a t R i g o l e t t o should not be performed i n P a r i s , and due t o h i s i n f l u e n c e , i t was s i x years b e f o r e P a r i s i a n s were able t o hear t h i s masterpiece. 4  57 s p e a k i n g r o l e s , whereas i n R i q o l e t t o Piave reduced the number t o thirteen.  The  characters  by making use  voice,  librettist  i n t e r j e c t i n g and  compensates f o r the of the chorus who  commenting on the  Piave p r e s e n t s the s t o r y i n f o u r first  l o s s of  these  speak as a s i n g l e action.  tableaux  which m i r r o r  the  f o u r a c t s of Le Roi s'amuse (much of a c t 5 i n the p l a y i s  o m i t t e d f o r reasons I w i l l based on a c t s 1 and  address l a t e r ) .  2 of Le Roi s'amuse.  ominous o r c h e s t r a l prelude, glitter  and  gaiety.  Louvre" d u r i n g "152-."  1 of R i q o l e t t o i s  A f t e r a b r i e f though  the c u r t a i n r i s e s on a scene of  Hugo t e l l s us t h a t i t i s a " f e t e de n u i t  the r e i g n of F r a n c o i s  I.  The  year i s stated  A n i g h t of r e v e l r y i s drawing t o a c l o s e , and  stage d i r e c t i o n s i n d i c a t e , "une un peu  Act  l e caractere  d'une o r g i e "  the opera's s e t t i n g c o u l d not making i t i m p o s s i b l e  as  as Hugo's  c e r t a i n e l i b e r t e regne; l a f e t e a (461).  S i n c e i t was  agreed t h a t  be h i s t o r i c a l l y a c c u r a t e  t o s u l l y the r e p u t a t i o n  -French, I t a l i a n , o r o t h e r w i s e ) ,  au  of any  Piave moves the  (thus  past  monarch  action to  the  c o u r t of an imaginary duke of Mantua. Both p l a y w r i g h t r i g h t t o the  and  s t o r y , and  of r e s t l e s s a c t i v i t y . mentions t o Borsa b r i n g t o a head town." church.  He  l i b r e t t i s t waste l i t t l e  time i n g e t t i n g  t h e i r opening scenes c o n t a i n L i k e the King i n the p l a y ,  (Hugo's de  a great  the Duke  l a Tour-Landry) t h a t he wants  [his] adventure w i t h the unkown beauty of  i s r e f e r r i n g to G i l d a  deal  "to the  (Blanche) whom he has. n o t i c e d  Like h i s Hugolian counterpart,  the Duke suddenly  abandons h i s thoughts of G i l d a t o pursue the Countess Ceprano (Madame de Cosse).  Both the music and  the words of h i s b a l l a t a  "Questa o q u e l l a " c l e a r l y r e v e a l h i s p h i l o s o p h y  (and  his  in  58  hypocrisy) they're As  on romantic matters: "This woman or t h a t , t o  j u s t the same / As a l l the others  me  I see around  me."  i n the p l a y , the s t y l i z e d c o u r t l i n e s s of the Duke's  f l i r t a t i o n s i s suddenly demolished by the i n t e r r u p t i o n of R i g o l e t t o , appearing Ceprano. "He  out of nowhere to throw an i n s u l t  Godefroy notes t h a t the e n t r y of R i g o l e t t o i s s u b t l e :  i s the p r o t a g o n i s t ; but  n o b i l i t y he  i n t h i s b r i l l i a n t g a t h e r i n g of  i s a c i p h e r , lumbering with a b i t t e r h e a r t  t w i s t e d body"  (199).  r e v e l a t i o n t h a t the j e s t e r has l a n u i t se change en Cupido" Cupido o r s'e  a "mistress."  Hugo's " T r i b o u l e t  transformato."  " I I gobbo i n  Since many of the c h a r a c t e r s  and  r e s p e c t i v e l y ) a great d e a l of the p l a y ' s a l l u s i o n and t h i s p o i n t has been l o s t .  Borsa repartee  Although they have s a c r i f i c e d  We  l i b r e t t o now  took p a i n s t o show us  done e s t l a n e c e s s i t e / De  (1.4.263-4)  c a l l s f o r a crowd of dancers t o f l o c k on  the stage as the chorus s i n g s " A l l i s g a i e t y and p l e a s u r e , Everything The  why  For example, T r i b o u l e t provokes de  Cosse w i t h such impudent l i n e s as "Ou ne pas vous couper l a t e t e ? "  preserve  do we miss Hugo's acid-tongued  T r i b o u l e t , however, f o r the dramatist the c o u r t i e r s a l l hated him.  i n v i t e s us to enjoyment!  v e r y kingdom of r e v e l r y ? "  at  their  Piave ensures t h a t the c o u r t i e r s at l e a s t  their idle superficiality.  in  (only de Cosse, Marot  de La Tour-Landry remain as Ceprano, M a r u l l o ,  The  in a  sensational  (1.2.144) i s echoed by  t h i s scene have been absorbed by the chorus  personalities,  the  While the Duke and h i s j e s t e r are o f f stage  f o r a few moments, the c o u r t i e r s d i s c u s s the  and  at  See,  does t h i s not  T h i s c o n t r a s t s with the  to  /  seem / sinister  p l o t t i n g s of the c o u r t i e r s a g a i n s t R i g o l e t t o as w e l l as s e t s  the  59 scene  f o r the f i r s t  o f s e v e r a l coups de th.ei.tre d e v i s e d by Hugo.  Above the r e v e l s of the c o u r t i e r s emerges the lone v o i c e of Monterone, demanding an audience w i t h the Duke.  Based on Hugo's  S a i n t - V a l l i e r , Monterone i s a v e n e r a b l e o l d nobleman whose daughter,  Diane de P o i t i e r s , has been " t e r n i e ,  deshonoree,  souillee,  b r i s e e " by the King.  S a i n t - V a l l i e r ' s a r r i v a l puts a sudden end t o what he d e s c r i b e s as the c o u r t ' s " o r g i e s . " bravoure  In a 7 3 - l i n e morceau  he r a i l s a g a i n s t the King's debaucheries, and  vengeance.  de  swears  A l t h o u g h h i s t i r a d e i s eloquent, i t s e x c e s s i v e l e n g t h  i n t e r r u p t s the f l o w of the s t o r y , and i s the f i r s t  of s e v e r a l  o c c a s i o n s i n Le R o i s'amuse where Hugo a l l o w s p o e t r y t o take precedence  over drama.  In the l i b r e t t o ,  on the o t h e r hand, the  cause o f Monterone's anger w i t h the Duke i s d e s c r i b e d i n much b r i e f e r terms: to  the nobleman r e f e r s o n l y t o a " f a t h e r ' s g r i e f "  the " a t r o c i o u s i n s u l t " t o h i s f a m i l y .  Typically,  and  Piave's  v e r s i o n o f t h i s scene p r o g r e s s e s much more r a p i d l y , thus a l l o w i n g the dramatic t e n s i o n o f Monterone/s c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h the c o u r t i e r s t o c o n t i n u e without i n t e r r u p t i o n .  Like Triboulet,  R i g o l e t t o does what he can t o make the o l d man  look f o o l i s h ,  and  here V e r d i ' s supreme a b i l i t y t o p o r t r a y c h a r a c t e r through music is  f u l l y evident.  Godefroy  remarks t h a t  Rigoletto's  . . . t a s t e l e s s deportment i s a c c u r a t e l y d e p i c t e d by the s t r i n g s , which swagger d e f i a n t l y as he moves, a p i n g h i s i n s o l e n t g e s t u r e s and hollow h e r o i c s . . . . Having taken up h i s p o s i t i o n , the b u f f o o n t a u n t s the o l d nobleman about h i s daughter's dishonour. . . . A t w i s t i n g f i g u r e i n the o r c h e s t r a s u c c i n c t l y p o r t r a y s the bent mind and body of the clown. (201)  60 What f o l l o w s i n t h e p l a y i s S a i n t - V a l l i e r ' s which s e t s i n motion t h e unstoppable  "malediction"  mechanism o f F a t a l i t y :  Soyez maudits, tous deux! - - S i r e , ce n'est pas b i e n . Sur l e l i o n mourant vous l a c h e z v o t r e c h i e n ! Qui que t u s o i s , v a l e t a langue de v i p e r e , Qui f a i s r i s e e a i n s i de l a douleur d'un pere, S o i s maudit! - - J ' a v a i s d r o i t d ' e t r e p a r vous t r a i t e Comme une majeste par une majeste. Vous e t e s r o i , moi pere, e t l'age vaut l e t r o n e . Nous avons tous l e s deux au f r o n t une couronne Ou n u l ne d o i t l e v e r de regards i n s o l e n t s , Vous, de f l e u r s - d e - l y s d'or, e t moi de cheveaux b l a n c s . R o i , quand un s a c r i l e g e ose i n s u l t e r l a v o t r e , C'est vous q u i l a vengez; - - c ' e s t Dieu q u i venge l'autre! (1.5.383-94)  S i n c e S a i n t - V a l l i e r ' s curse i s expressed eloquent v e i n as h i s p r e c e d i n g t i r a d e  i n t h e same  (except f o r h i s i n s u l t i n g  r e f e r e n c e t o T r i b o u l e t as " t u " ) , i t l a c k s some o f t h e d i r e c t n e s s t h a t P i a v e ' s s h o r t e r passage a c h i e v e s . librettist  and the composer understand  c u r s e i s t o t h e drama.  C l e a r l y both t h e how c e n t r a l Monterone's  Indeed, w h i l e R i g o l e t t o was s t i l l  i n the  p l a n n i n g stages, V e r d i a d v i s e d P i a v e :  The whole theme l i e s i n t h a t c u r s e , which a l s o becomes [the] moral. An unhappy f a t h e r who weeps over h i s daughter's honour, which has been s t o l e n ; mocked by a c o u r t j e s t e r , whom the f a t h e r c u r s e s ; and t h i s c u r s e s t r i k e s t h e j e s t e r i n the most t e r r i f y i n g way, [ a l l ] t h i s seems moral t o me and g r e a t , stupendously g r e a t . Be sure t h a t [ S a i n t - V a l l i e r ] s h o u l d appear o n l y t w i c e (as i n t h e French p l a y ) , and say a very, v e r y few, s t r o n g , p r o p h e t i c words. I say a g a i n t h a t t h e whole theme l i e s i n t h a t c u r s e . (qtd. i n P h i l l i p s - M a t z 266)  Piave thus g i v e s Monterone the f o l l o w i n g e x p l o s i v e o u t b u r s t : "May you both be a c c u r s e d ! " /  ' T i s base, o Duke, t o s e t your c u r s upon  61 •a d y i n g l i o n , " which i s f o l l o w e d a l o n e : "And  you,  v i l e snake, / Who  c u r s e be upon you!" immediate, and  by l i n e s d i r e c t e d at  (1.6)  The  Rigoletto  mock at a f a t h e r ' s g r i e f ,  /  My  e f f e c t o f these words i s  R i g o l e t t o ' s smugness i s r e p l a c e d  by  stunned  terror. Hugo concludes a c t 1 as S a i n t - V a l l i e r i s l e d o f f t o p r i s o n , but  Piave and  V e r d i choose t o end  ensemble f i n a l e .  the a c t w i t h an e x c i t i n g  While the c o u r t i e r s express t h e i r i r r i t a t i o n  at  Monterone's i n t r u s i o n , R i g o l e t t o , almost s p e e c h l e s s w i t h f e a r , can  only repeat The  play. the  "What do  I hear!  Horror!"  second tab2eau of act 1 i s based on a c t 2 of Hugo's  The  n i g h t - t i m e s e t t i n g p r o v i d e s an e f f e c t i v e c o n t r a s t  l i g h t and  s'amuse, the  splendour of the p r e v i o u s scenes. stage i s d i v i d e d .  On  one  s i d e we  of R i g o l e t t o ' s modest house, w i t h i t s e n c l o s e d garden.  On  di  On  the  the  terrace  In the background the H o t e l  and  de  seen from  by house  the  Cosse becomes the  Palazzo  Ceprano. R i g o l e t t o enters  words, "The  o l d man  the dark gloom of the  c u r s e d me"  street.  His  maudit!"  Sparafucile  i s a h i r e d a s s a s s i n who  s i m p l y t o be  o f f e r s h i s s e r v i c e s w i t h the  of a r i v a l .  1 1  a man  vieillard  ( S a l t a b a d i l ) makes h i s appearance.  c o n s c i o u s r e c t i t u d e of an honest tradesman," claiming  opening  are e x a c t l y those which T r i b o u l e t  u t t e r s at the b e g i n n i n g of act 2 i n Le Roi s'amuse: "Ce m'a  Roi  courtyard  second f l o o r of the  i s a b a l c o n y which i s h i g h enough t o be  street.  see  i n Le  the o t h e r s i d e i s the darkened s t r e e t , f l a n k e d  R i g o l e t t o ' s h i g h garden w a l l . there  As  to  "who  He  "self-  (Budden Operas  492)  f o r a modest fee / Would r i d you  Here Piave manages to r e t a i n much of the  cloak  and  62 dagger atmosphere of the p l a y w i t h i t s u n d e r c u r r e n t of b l a c k humour.  Out of t h i s d i a l o g u e V e r d i c r e a t e s a duet which  " r e c a p t u r e s a l l of the gallows-humour of the o r i g i n a l "  (Budden  Operas 492). In  the p l a y S a l t a b a d i l ' s e x i t i s f o l l o w e d by  extended,  impassioned monologue.  another  T r i b o u l e t laments  h i s f a t e as a  p h y s i c a l and a moral grotesgue--a monster c r e a t e d by n a t u r e society.  Having dropped  the mask of the c o u r t j e s t e r w i t h h i s  "langue aceree," he appears vulnerable.  as a man  who  i s fearful  Moreover, he i s ashamed of the conduct  p u b l i c r o l e demands of  and  and that h i s  him:  Ah, l a nature e t l e s hommes m'ont f a i t B i e n mechant, b i e n c r u e l e t b i e n l a c h e en e f f e t ! 0 rage! e t r e b o u f f o n ! 6 rage! e t r e d i f f o r m e ! T o u j o u r s c e t t e pensee! et qu'on v e i l l e ou on dorme, Quand l e monde en revant vous avez f a i t l e t o u r , Retomber s u r c e c i : Je s u i s b o u f f o n de cour! Ne v o u l o i r , ne p o u v o i r , ne d e v o i r et ne f a i r e Que r i r e ! --Quel exces d'opprobre et de m i s e r e ! (2.2.463-70)  It  i s obvious t h a t Hugo wants the r e a d e r t o understand  to  p i t y the hunchback.  But d e s p i t e the o u t p o u r i n g of  and even emotion,  T r i b o u l e t i s almost too a r t i c u l a t e i n the e x p r e s s i o n of h i s sufferings.  A l t h o u g h he t a l k s at l e n g t h about h i s e x c e s s i v e  misery, much of the emotion t h a t T r i b o u l e t i s a t t e m p t i n g t o describe i s lost  i n the e n d l e s s f l o o d s of h i s p o e t r y .  Piave, however, i s a b l e t o convey the essence of t h i s l i n e speech i n j u s t 20 l i n e s .  Like Triboulet, Rigoletto  by e q u a t i n g h i m s e l f w i t h S p a r a f u c i l e :  "We  tongue, / He w i t h a dagger; I am the man  are a l i k e ! who  74-  begins  I with  mocks, / He the  my one  63  who  slays  difforme  ..."  The  l i n e s which f o l l o w - - " 0  . . . E s s e r buffone  che  ridere"--echo  out  at h i s o p p r e s s o r s :  How  I l o v e t o s t i n g you!  . . . / Non  Triboulet's lines. "I l o a t h e you, / I f I am  rabbia  dover, non  . . . Esser poter  Finally, Rigoletto you  sneering  e v i l you  have done.  Instead  lashes  courtiers! /  alone are the  For h i s p a r t , V e r d i r e s i s t s the temptation t o develop monologue i n t o an extended, formal  altro  cause!"  this  a r i a , as many composers would  he keeps t o r e c i t a t i v e ,  judging  that  R i g o l e t t o ' s emotional t u r m o i l i s b e t t e r conveyed by t h i s l e s s s t r u c t u r e d form. For the remainder of act 1, Piave makes few Hugo's p l o t .  R i g o l e t t o e n t e r s h i s garden where G i l d a awaits  L i k e Blanche, G i l d a i s a symbol of beauty and the  changes t o  innocence.  i d e a l i z e d a n t i t h e s i s t o the c o r r u p t i o n of the o u t s i d e  a w o r l d from which she has of Hugo's c h a r a c t e r s  who  always been s h e l t e r e d .  him.  She  is  world--  Blanche i s  are a pure embodiment of the  one  sublime.  Moreover, i t i s through h i s l o v e f o r Blanche t h a t T r i b o u l e t i s morally  redeemed and  i s able to transcend  h i s l o w l y s t a t i o n as a  grotesque. L i k e her c o u n t e r p a r t about her  be  nothing  f a t h e r o r her dead mother, but R i g o l e t t o i s u n w i l l i n g  t o e n l i g h t e n her. may  i n the p l a y , G i l d a knows almost  He  shares T r i b o u l e t ' s f e a r t h a t h i s daughter  tempted t o leave the c o n f i n e s  she might be  seen, seduced, and  of t h e i r w a l l e d garden,  l o s t f o r ever.  T h e i r duet i s  i n t e r r u p t e d by R i g o l e t t o ' s sudden s u s p i c i o n t h a t someone may l u r k i n g outside As he rushes out  and  that  be  he breaks o f f i n mid-phrase to i n v e s t i g a t e .  i n t o the s t r e e t the Duke, d i s g u i s e d i n  "bourgeois d r e s s , "  s l i p s i n t o the garden and  conceals  himself.  64 R i g o l e t t o r e t u r n s t o g i v e G i l d a a few  more words of warning,  and  d e p a r t s once more. Rigoletto's.unexplained  departure i s a s t r u c t u r a l weakness  i n h e r i t e d from Hugo, s i n c e the audience i s l e f t hunchback should  be o b l i g e d t o go out again  e n t e r i n g h i s house. come home at a l l ?  wondering why  the  so soon w i t h o u t even  I f he had p r e s s i n g b u s i n e s s elsewhere, Of course, R i g o l e t t o has  t o be out  why  of the  for  G i l d a ' s l o v e scene w i t h the Duke, j u s t as he has  for  the dramatic f i n a l e i n which he unknowingly p a r t i c i p a t e s i n  his  daughter's a b d u c t i o n .  that  return  In the p l a y T r i b o u l e t remarks v a g u e l y  " i l e s t temps de r e p r e n d r e mon  collier,"  r e v e l s at the Louvre have ended, and  s o r t of excuse, however.  He  (2.3.640) but  i t i s doubtful  would be needing h i s s e r v i c e s at t h i s time. makes no  to  way  the  t h a t the  King  Piave's R i g o l e t t o  j u s t sings  "Addio"  and  departs. G i l d a i s now  alone w i t h Giovanna, the duenna.  Duke i s l u r k i n g i n the shadows, y e t u n t i l now but  two  b r i e f i n t e r p o l a t i o n s : " R i g o l e t t o ! " and  he has "Sua  Godefroy notes t h a t t h i s c o n t r a s t s w i t h the p l a y , King "indulged  daughter--'1'histoire t o the escapade"  Not  figlia!"  s i n c e Hugo's  i s the j e s t e r ' s  r e a l i z i n g t h a t the Duke can  i n Giovanna. has  She  f a n t a s i z e s about  overhear  the  seen i n church, s a y i n g t h a t  even more i f he were poor.  p a r a l l e l those of Blanche when she seigneur  contributed  1  unknown s t r a n g e r whom she  fut  the  est impayable. ' - - g i v e s an i n s o l e n t bravado  (205).  Gilda confides  would l o v e him  course  i n much b y - p l a y over the b r i b e r y of Dame Berarde.  H i s comment on d i s c o v e r i n g t h a t the g i r l  her,  Of  she  These sentiments  says "Je ne v o u d r a i s  pas  qu'il  n i p r i n c e . / Mais un pauvre e c o l i e r q u i v i e n t de  sa  65 province"  (2.4.693-4).  hiding-place.  The  Duke suddenly  emerges from h i s  G i l d a c r i e s f o r h e l p but the Duke has  Giovanna away.  She  sent  begs the i n t r u d e r t o l e a v e , but he w i l l  not  hear o f i t . They are soon caught up i n a p a s s i o n a t e duet i n which the Duke's words are a s e d u c t i v e p l o y t o which the G i l d a n a t u r a l l y responds.  Before he d e p a r t s ,  t h a t h i s name i s G u a l t i e r Malde Gaucher M a h i e t ) ,  the Duke s t a t e s  ( o b v i o u s l y d e r i v e d from Hugo's  and t h a t he indeed i s a poor s t u d e n t .  i s alone, G i l d a muses on h i s name. "Gaucher Mahiet! nom  de c e l u i que  coeur!"  In the opera,  (2.5.766-7)  upon t h i s u t t e r a n c e and t r a n s f o r m G i l d a so c o m p l e t e l y  to  simple  Once  she  In the p l a y Blanche murmurs: j'aime, / G r a v e - t o i dans  mon  however, Piave and V e r d i s e i z e i t i n t o the a r i a which b r i n g s  life:  Dearest name which f i r s t Made my h e a r t beat f a s t , You f i l l my mind With v i s i o n s of l o v e ' s d e l i g h t ! My thoughts and d e s i r e s Now f l y t o you f o r ever And w i t h my l a s t b r e a t h I ' l l u t t e r t h a t sweet name.  For a l l i t s s i m p l i c i t y ,  "Caro nome" i s a p e r f e c t l y  e x p r e s s i o n of G i l d a ' s c h a r a c t e r , one fragility,  her c l o i s t e r e d prudery,  music a l s o a l l o w s us an emotional corresponding nome" i s one  which c a p t u r e s  conceived  her  her t e n t a t i v e y e a r n i n g .  Her  c o n n e c t i o n w i t h G i l d a which the  moment i n Hugo's p l a y does not p r o v i d e .  "Caro  of the best examples of Piave and V e r d i u s i n g some  v e r y b a s i c dramatic c a p t i v a t i n g and  m a t e r i a l t o c r e a t e a c h a r a c t e r who  convincing.  i s both  66  The a c t concludes w i t h the kidnapping of G i l d a and i n which Rigoletto unwittingly participates.  The events u n f o l d almost  e x a c t l y as they do i n the p l a y , and c a l l f o r the same suspension of  d i s b e l i e f by the audience.  Although the scene i s awkwardly  c o n t r i v e d , Piave r e c o g n i z e s i t s importance  t o the s t o r y  r e s i g n s h i m s e l f t o g e t t i n g i t over w i t h as q u i c k l y p a i n l e s s l y ) as p o s s i b l e . of  and  (and as  Perhaps t o compensate f o r the u n r e a l i t y  the events t a k i n g p l a c e on the stage  (or even t o d i s t r a c t  us  from them), V e r d i c o n t r i b u t e s one of h i s best known choruses, "Zitti,  z i t t i moviamo a vendetta"  our revenge").  Sung s o t t o voce by the c o u r t i e r s ,  conveys t h e i r m i s c h i e v i o u s g l e e . gagged.  The  of  "Zitti,  G i l d a i s dragged  zitti"  out, bound and  c o u r t i e r s c r y " V i t t o r i a ! " and d i s a p p e a r i n t o the  night with t h e i r v i c t i m . something  ("Quietly, q u i e t l y we work at  Rigoletto f i n a l l y realizes  that  i s wrong and t e a r s o f f the b l i n d f o l d . Seeing the  h i s house wide open and G i l d a ' s shawl on the ground, he  i n t o the c o u r t y a r d , c a l l i n g her name. R i g o l e t t o at l a s t c r i e s out "Ah! The  door rushes  A f t e r a great e f f o r t ,  l a m a l e d i z i o n e ! " and  collapses.  second a c t of the opera, based on a c t 3 of Le Roi  s'amuse, takes p l a c e i n a h a l l of the Duke's p a l a c e .  At  this  p o i n t t h e r e i s a departure from the p l a y as demanded by the V e n e t i a n censor.  In Le Roi s'amuse the King b r a n d i s h e s a key  which he uses t o g a i n e n t r y t o the bedroom where Blanche taken r e f u g e .  has  However, due t o the censor's i n s i s t e n c e t h a t  "key scene" be omitted because of i t s sexual overones, o b l i g e d t o i n v e n t an a l t e r n a t i v e t o t h i s s c e n a r i o .  the  Piave  was  In Le Roi  s'amuse the King i s p a r t y t o Blanche's abduction, whereas i n R i g o l e t t o i t happens without h i s knowledge.  In d e s p a i r , the Duke  67 t h i n k s t h a t G i l d a has been taken from him and b e l i e v e s , a t l e a s t f o r t h e moment, t h a t she i s the one person i n the world who c o u l d have i n s p i r e d him w i t h l a s t i n g l o v e .  To p o r t r a y h i s depressed  s t a t e , V e r d i and Piave d e v i s e d a f a i r l y c o n v e n t i o n a l scena which begins w i t h a r e c i t a t i v e , from me!")  " E l l a mi f u r a p i t a ! "  ("She was s t o l e n  The a r i a which f o l l o w s , "Parmi veder l e l a g r i m e , " i s  rather surprising,  f o r i t seems almost  s i n c e r e , and appears the Duke's c h a r a c t e r .  too b e a u t i f u l ,  tender and  t o c o n f l i c t w i t h e v e r y t h i n g we know about Up t o t h i s p o i n t we have seen him o n l y as  a l i b e r t i n e and a h y p o c r i t e , devoid o f morals o r a c o n s c i e n c e . But u n l i k e Hugo i n h i s one-sided p o r t r a y a l of the King, V e r d i and Piave want t o show us t h a t the Duke i s a human being, and not a monster.  Although t h i s scene has been h e a v i l y c r i t i c i s e d and i s  o f t e n o m i t t e d i n performance, i t i s i n f a c t a m a s t e r l y s t r o k e o f characterization.  Budden notes: "To the compulsive  amorist the  woman [the Duke] d e s i r e s but i s prevented from having i s p r e c i s e l y the one w i t h whom he c o u l d h a p p i l y have shared the r e s t of h i s days.  . . " (Operas 4 9 9 ) .  emotion. The  I t i s not so much an i n s i n c e r e as a s e l f - d e c e i v i n g  f o l l o w i n g scene,  i n which R i g o l e t t o c o n f r o n t s the  c o u r t i e r s about G i l d a ' s abduction, i s a g a i n based on s i m i l a r events i n Le R o i s'amuse.  At t h i s p o i n t i n the p l a y we witness  T r i b o u l e t ' s t r a n s i t i o n from the d e f i a n t c o u r t j e s t e r t o t h e d e s p a i r i n g and h u m i l i a t e d f a t h e r .  I t i s another b r a v u r a  c a r e f u l l y engineered by Hugo f o r maximum dramatic Admittedly, de  theatre  scene  effect.  t h e r e a r e some e x c i t i n g moments, f o r example the coup where T r i b o u l e t y e l l s out "Je veux ma f i l l e ! "  which the c o u r t i e r s r e a l i z e t h e i r mistake  and a t  i n thinking that  68 Blanche i s h i s m i s t r e s s .  T h i s i s f o l l o w e d by the infamous l i n e s  i n which T r i b o u l e t g i v e s f u l l vent  to h i s h a t r e d of  the  courtiers:  C o u r t i s a n s ! c o u r t i s a n s ! demons! race damnee! Vos meres aux l a q u a i s se sont p r o s t i t u e e s ! Vous etes tous b a t a r d s ! (3.3.988-1017)  As  i n the p l a y , the c o u r t i e r s watch w i t h c r u e l amusement as  R i g o l e t t o looks everywhere f o r s i g n s of h i s daughter.  He  Ceprano and h i n t s t h a t he i s aware of G i l d a ' s abduction, nobleman denies any knowledge of the events of the night.  but  r e a l i z e s t h a t G i l d a i s i n the palace, and even worse, she He demands t h a t h i s daughter be r e t u r n e d t o  Everyone i s s t u p i f i e d : at  "His daughter!"  He  l a s h e s out at them with  last i s with  him.  Rigoletto hurls himself  the door of the Duke's bedchamber, but  courtiers.  the  previous  E v e n t u a l l y the t r u t h tumbles out and R i g o l e t t o at  the Duke.  accosts  i s r e p u l s e d by  the  " V i l e , damnable race of  c o u r t i e r s , " but does not go so f a r as to i n c l u d e T r i b o u l e t ' s infamous r e f e r e n c e t o t h e i r l e g i t i m a c y .  Howarth comments on  Piave's more c o n c i s e a d a p t a t i o n of T r i b o u l e t ' s t i r a d e :  But whereas i n Hugo's p l a y [ T r i b o u l e t ' s ] t i r a d e develops i n t o a tour de force of n i n e t y l i n e s , broken o n l y by the b r i e f e s t of i n t e r j e c t i o n s by one o r another of the c o u r t i e r s , who bar h i s passage as he seeks to f o l l o w h i s daughter i n t o the king's apartment, Piave and V e r d i reduce t h i s i n t o two s h o r t stanzas, one on e i t h e r s i d e of R i g o l e t t o ' s s c u f f l e w i t h the c o u r t i e r s ; the f i r s t i s an angry, vehement o u t b u r s t , the second the p a t h e t i c p l e a of a broken man. ("From Le R o i s'amuse" 82)  69  At t h i s p o i n t i n the p l a y Blanche suddenly emerges from the the King's bedroom.  Hugo d e s c r i b e s her as b e i n g  "eperdue,  egaree, en desordre," and G i l d a ' s appearance i s s i m i l a r l y disheveled. Piave,  Hugo makes i t c l e a r t h a t G i l d a has been raped, but  ever mindful  o f the censors,  i s not so e x p l i c i t .  Blanche mutters " l a honte . . . " T r i b o u l e t understands. w i t h rage, he c r i e s "Oh! 1'infame!--Elle  aussi!"  When Shaking  G i l d a , on the  other hand, r e f e r s o n l y t o "Those men who c a r r i e d me o f f / And brought me here by f o r c e / In most c r u e l anguish." ommission o f the key scene, Piave again avoids references.  As w i t h the  explicit  sexual  However, G i l d a i m p l i e s enough, and h e r f a t h e r  comprehends.  Echoing T r i b o u l e t , he c r i e s ,  overthrown / And a l l i s l o s t !  "The a l t a r i s  Weep, my c h i l d , and l e t your t e a r s  / F a l l upon my h e a r t . " Following  t h i s exchange i s a vigorous  duet i n which  R i g o l e t t o swears vengeance, not o n l y on h i s own account, but a l s o on b e h a l f  o f Monterone, who passes by as he i s l e d o f f t o p r i s o n .  He pauses before  a p o r t r a i t o f the Duke (Piave's  invention),  lamenting t h a t h i s curse was i n v a i n and t h a t the Duke w i l l continue t o prosper. and  R i g o l e t t o assures him that he i s mistaken,  t h a t he w i l l be avenged.  "Comte! vous vous trompez. has  an exact  counterpart  Hugo's s i n g l e l i n e a t t h i s Quelqu'un vous vengera!"  i n "No, vecchio,  t'inganni  point:  (3.4.1158) . . . un  v i n d i c e a v r a i , " which leads i n t o a "marvelous f i n a l e o f suspense and  t e n s i o n f o r which there was no source a t a l l i n t h e t e x t o f  Le R o i s'amuse"  (Howarth "From Le R o i s'amuse 85).  In t h e i r  c a b a l e t t a , f a t h e r and daughter s i n g the same music s u c c e s s i v e l y , though i n d i f f e r e n t keys.  R i g o l e t t o s i n g s of "Revenge,  terrible  70 revenge /. . . / The j e s t e r knows how t o s t r i k e you / L i k e a thunderbolt  h u r l e d by God," whereas G i l d a begs h e r f a t h e r t o  f o r g i v e the man who has b e t r a y e d her,  but whom she s t i l l  loves:  F o r g i v e him . . . even as f o r us A v o i c e from Heaven w i l l c a l l f o r pardon. (He b e t r a y e d me, but I love him: O God, I p l e a d f o r pardon f o r h i s s i n ! ) (2.8)  The  s e t t i n g o f a c t 3 of R i q o l e t t o corresponds t o a c t s 4 and  5 o f Le R o i s'amuse.  Once again,  the stage i s d i v i d e d .  s i d e s i t s S p a r a f u c i l e ' s d i l a p i t a t e d tavern, a road which runs along  a deserted  On one  on the o t h e r t h e r e i s  r i v e r bank.  I n s i d e the t a v e r n  we see S p a r a f u c i l e p o l i s h i n g h i s b e l t w h i l e G i l d a and R i g o l e t t o converse o u t s i d e .  She a f f i r m s that she s t i l l  b e l i e v e s t h a t he has remained f a i t h f u l .  l o v e s the Duke and  R i g o l e t t o knows  otherwise, and hopes that by showing h e r the t r u t h , G i l d a w i l l be cured of her i n f a t u a t i o n .  They peer through a hole  w a l l as the Duke a r r i v e s , dressed  i n the tavern  as a c a v a l r y o f f i c e r .  Almost  immediately he b u r s t s i n t o h i s famous song "La donna e mobile," i n s p i r e d by a d i t t y i n Le R o i s'amuse, "Souvent femme v a r i e . " By t h i s time Maddalena Coquettishly  (Maguelonne) has entered.  she eludes the Duke's advances w h i l e S p a r a f u c i l e  s l i p s out t o converse w i t h R i g o l e t t o .  At t h i s p o i n t one o f the  h i g h l i g h t s o f the opera--the famous q u a r t e t - - b e g i n s . b r i l l i a n t p i e c e o f v o c a l w r i t i n g and, l i k e  It i s a  "Caro nome," i s  another example o f Piave and V e r d i ' s a b i l i t y t o overcome t h e melodramatic c l i c h e s of Hugo's s c e n a r i o .  The q u a r t e t  i s based on  a c t 4, scene 2 of Le R o i s'amuse i n which Blanche and T r i b o u l e t  71 observe and comment on the f l i r t a t i o n between the King and Maguelonne i n s i d e the t a v e r n .  Piave p r o v i d e s each c h a r a c t e r w i t h  a s i x - l i n e v e r s e which e n c a p s u l a t e s t h e i r emotions moment.  at t h i s  The Duke, t h i n k i n g of n o t h i n g but the conquest  of  Maddalena, serenades her w i t h "Lovely daughter of p l e a s u r e , / e n s l a v e d by your charms."  T h i s i s i n s p i r e d by the King's  where he exclaims "Quelle f i l l e d'amour d e l i c i e u s e e t Maddalena, who laughingly,  i s not taken i n by these sentiments,  line  folle!"  replies  "I know e x a c t l y / What your f l a t t e r y i s worth.  f a m i l i a r , handsome s i r ,  I'm  / With advances l i k e these."  /  I'm  Gilda,  h o r r i f i e d by the s p e c t a c l e u n f o l d i n g b e f o r e her, s i n g s "Ah,  I  have heard the t r a i t o r / Speak words of l o v e l i k e these t o me! Betrayed, unhappy heart, / Do not break from misery."  Similarly,  Blanche u t t e r s  "0 t r a h i s o n ! - - L ' i n g r a t ! - - Grand Dieu! mon  se fend! / Oh!  comme i l me trompait!--mais c ' e s t q u ' i l n'a  d'ame!"  /  coeur point  R i g o l e t t o promises G i l d a that he w i l l avenge her: "Hush,  and l e t mine be the task / Of e x a c t i n g vengeance. / I t s h a l l soon, and f a t a l :  I s h a l l s t r i k e him down."  Triboulet's line:  "Pas de p l e u r s .  D e s p i t e i t s melodramatic  be  This r e f l e c t s  Laisse-moi t e venger!"  content, a c t 4 of Le Roi s'amuse i s  at l e a s t more q u i c k l y paced than the t h r e e a c t s which precede i t . By u s i n g s h o r t l i n e s and m a t t e r - o f - f a c t language,  particularly in  the f i n a l two scenes, Hugo i s able t o c r e a t e a mood t h a t i s t r u l y dramatic and s u s p e n s e f u l . welcome r e l i e f play.  Moreover, these scenes p r o v i d e some  from the v e r b o s i t y which weighs down most of the  Consequently,  Piave's t a s k i n t h i s s e c t i o n of the  i s mostly one of t r a n s l a t i o n .  libretto  He a l s o r e t a i n s the storm which  p r o v i d e s an a p p r o p r i a t e backdrop  t o the s e r i e s of events which  72 culminate  i n G i l d a ' s death as she s a c r i f i c e s her own  o r d e r t o spare her p e r f i d i o u s l o v e r .  The  L i k e Blanche, G i l d a now  l o n g e r l o v e s her, and t h a t she was of h i s conquests. decides  life  and  to b u i l d i n  r e a l i z e s t h a t the Duke no simply another i n a l o n g  I n e x p l i c a b l y she s t i l l  t o s a c r i f i c e her own  in  t r i o which Piave  V e r d i d e v i s e as a lead-up to G i l d a ' s murder begins intensity.  life  l o v e s him,  list  however,  and  i n o r d e r t o thwart R i g o l e t t o ' s  p l a n s t o have him k i l l e d .  S a i n t - l i k e , G i l d a goes t o her death,  f o r g i v i n g her m a l e f a c t o r s ,  and  i m p l o r i n g her f a t h e r ' s pardon.  At t h i s p o i n t i n the p l a y there i s a quick c u r t a i n , s i g n a l i n g the end of act 4.  Piave, however, chooses not t o break  the a c t i o n at t h i s p o i n t , thereby  a l l o w i n g the dramatic  of the scene to continue u n i n t e r r u p t e d .  tension  At the s t r o k e of  midnight R i g o l e t t o r e t u r n s and knocks at the door of the i n n . S p a r a f u c i l e drags out a sack c o n t a i n i n g what i s supposed t o be the murdered Duke.  He o f f e r s to help throw i t i n the r i v e r ,  but  l i k e T r i b o u l e t , R i g o l e t t o wants to savour h i s moment of revenge. S p a r a f u c i l e b i d s him goodnight and disappears, alone w i t h p r i z e . bravura  In the p l a y T r i b o u l e t now  embarks on a  final  speech i n which he g l o a t s "with h a l f - c r a z e d megalomania"  (Howarth "From Le Roi s'amuse" 78) the  leaving Rigoletto  over h i s imagined v i c t o r y over  King:  . . . . Maintenant, monde, regarde-moi. C e c i , c ' e s t un bouffon, et c e c i , c ' e s t un r o i ! Et quel r o i ! l e premier de tous! l e r o i supreme! Le v o i l a sous mes p i e d s , j e l e t i e n s . G'est lui-meme. La Seine pour s e p u l c r e , et ce sac pour l i n c e u l . Qui done a f a i t c e l a ? He b i e n ! o u i , c ' e s t moi s e u l ! (5.3.1483-9)  73  him,  All  t h i s i s a set-up f o r the g h a s t l y r e v e l a t i o n t h a t awaits  and  i n Hugo's p l a y t h i s ought t o be the supreme moment of  dramatic suspense.  However, f o r s i x t y - s i x l i n e s T r i b o u l e t  declaims over what he imagines t o be the body of the King, the end  of t h i s speech our suspense wanes c o n s i d e r a b l y .  the p l a y has  j u s t r e c e n t l y gained  and  by  Since  some much-needed energy  and  excitement, T r i b o u l e t ' s o r a t i o n at t h i s c l i m a c t i c moment seems out of p l a c e . only underlines  Despite  i t s rhetorical brilliance,  t h i s speech  the d e f i c i e n c i e s of Hugo's dramatic  technique.  Howarth comments:  T h i s passage i s t y p i c a l of Hugo's grandiose i m a g i n a t i o n ; with i t s f a n c i f u l d i a l o g u e between God and the e a r t h , i t looks forward t o the more v i s i o n a r y p i e c e s of the Legende des s i e c l e s . There i s no denying the power of the w r i t i n g ; but the i n c o n g r u i t y of such a p o c a l y p t i c f a n t a s i e s , when put i n t o the mouth of a court j e s t e r , i s inescapable. ("From Le Roi s'amuse" 78-9)  By c o n t r a s t , Piave reduces t h i s long, vehement o u t b u r s t  to a  b r i e f s o l o which conveys the g i s t of the f i r s t dozen l i n e s of Hugo's scene.  He makes no attempt, however, t o reproduce  twenty l i n e s i n which T r i b o u l e t ' s s o l i l o q u y d i g r e s s e s  the  into  philosophical abstractions. As R i g o l e t t o i s about t o heave the sack i n t o the r i v e r  he  hears the v o i c e of the Duke s i n g i n g "La donna e mobile," which p a r a l l e l s the King's r e p e t i t i o n of "Souvent femme v a r i e . " i s another coup de few  theatre  taken d i r e c t l y from the p l a y ,  seconds the t e r r i b l e t r u t h i s d i s c o v e r e d .  open the sack and  This for in a  R i g o l e t t o cuts  a f l a s h of l i g h t n i n g r e v e a l s h i s daughter's  74 face.  He i s h o r r i f i e d , but h i s senses do not d e c e i v e him.  hears the f a i n t v o i c e of G i l d a , who  i s barely a l i v e .  He  In a  final  s h o r t duet, G i l d a begs her f a t h e r t o f o r g i v e both her and the Duke.  A l l the w h i l e R i g o l e t t o ' s urgent phrases break i n upon  G i l d a ' s u n e a r t h l y harmonies, but they are unheard, and  futile.  In the middle of a word she d i e s , and R i g o l e t t o l e t s out a  final  anguished c r y of "La m a l e d i z i o n e ! " and c o l l a p s e s over the body of h i s daughter.  The c u r t a i n f a l l s as the o r c h e s t r a thunders out  r e p e a t e d chords of D f l a t minor. The p l a y concludes on a d i f f e r e n t , powerful, note.  though a r g u a b l y l e s s  A f t e r Blanche's death, Hugo has  d e s p e r a t e l y r i n g i n g a f e r r y b e l l by the Seine. appear,  i n c l u d i n g a surgeon.  complete, i s now  f o r he who  Triboulet V a r i o u s people  T r i b o u l e t ' s d o w n f a l l i s now  r e c e n t l y taunted the n o b i l i t y at the  Louvre  a b j e c t and q u i t e unrecognized by the p a s s e r s - b y of P a r i s .  However, h i s f i n a l words--"J'ai tue mon  enfant"--seem  c o n s i d e r a b l y l e s s f o r t h r i g h t and c a t a s t r o p h i c than R i g o l e t t o ' s f i n a l utterance.  "Ah! La m a l e d i z i o n e ! " a l l o w s Piave t o emphasize  more s t r o n g l y the u n d e r l y i n g theme of the s t o r y ,  the  i m p l a c c a b l i t y of Fate--a f o r c e which i s as incomprehensible as i t i s unstoppable  (Godefroy 222).  In t h i s s e c t i o n I have attempted reasons why  t o i l l u s t r a t e some of the  the l i b r e t t o of R i q o l e t t o may  be c o n s i d e r e d more  e f f e c t i v e l y dramatic than Le Roi s'amuse i t s e l f .  Although i t i s  not n e a r l y on the same p o e t i c l e v e l as Hugo's p l a y , P i a v e ' s s t r e a m l i n e d v e r s i o n of the s t o r y i s s u p e r i o r i n i t s a b i l i t y t o e s t a b l i s h and t o m a i n t a i n f a r g r e a t e r momentum.  The  r e c o g n i z e s and s u c c e s s f u l l y e x p l o i t s those elements  librettist i n Le Roi  75 s'amuse which have genuine dramatic  power, while a t the same time  he condenses the p l a y ' s numerous l o n g speeches.  Despite  l y r i c a l beauty, these monologues a r e sometimes o n l y  their  marginally  r e l e v a n t t o the s t o r y , and have the d e c i d e d l y undramatic e f f e c t of b r i n g i n g the a c t i o n t o a complete stop.  From " v e r s i f i e d melodrama" t o o p e r a t i c triumph As  I mentioned a t the beginning  of t h i s chapter,  Le R o i  s'amuse c o n t a i n s many flaws as a dramatic  work f o r the stage.  Most of the i n i t i a l  (and the reason  suppression)  c r i t i c i s m of the p l a y  for its  was i n response t o i t s a g g r e s s i v e v i o l a t i o n o f a  c o l l e c t i v e moral code o f conduct--a code which was s p e c i f i c t o a p a r t i c u l a r time and p l a c e . a e s t h e t i c stance,  But beyond the p l a y ' s moral o r  i t i s v e r y l i k e l y t h a t o t h e r i n h e r e n t problems  would have c o n t r i b u t e d t o i t s eventual  failure.  Some o f the  obvious weaknesses r e g a r d i n g the p l o t have been p o i n t e d out i n the p r e c e d i n g  section.  But other aspects o f the p l a y , such as  p a c i n g o r c h a r a c t e r development, pose more s e r i o u s problems. L i g i e r , who was c a s t as T r i b o u l e t f o r the p l a y ' s premiere, the work extremely moving when i t was f i r s t e s p e c i a l l y the f i n a l a c t .  found  read t o him,  But he a l s o t e s t i f i e d t o the extreme  d i f f i c u l t y o f t h i s same a c t from the p o i n t o f view o f the a c t o r playing the c e n t r a l r o l e .  I t i s an e x c e p t i o n a l l y d i f f i c u l t  both i n i t s unusual l e n g t h and the emotional for.  intensity  part,  called  From the end of a c t 2 onwards, when T r i b o u l e t d i s c o v e r s  t h a t Blanche has been abducted, there i s a s u s t a i n e d i n t e n s i t y of f e e l i n g , w i t h o n l y a b r i e f r e s p i t e i n a c t 4 when the King p l a y f u l l y w i t h Maguelonne.  flirts  The whole of the l a s t a c t i s a s e r i e s  76 of  impassioned,  even f r e n z i e d s o l i l o q u i e s , w i t h  little  c o n t r i b u t i o n from the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s . Another  flaw common t o Hugo's drames i s the author's  d i f f i c u l t y i n c r e a t i n g rounded, c o n v i n c i n g c h a r a c t e r s .  In t h i s  r e s p e c t I f e e l that Le Roi s'amuse i s p a r t i c u l a r l y d e f e c t i v e . T r i b o u l e t we  see an example of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n by the  j u x t a p o s i t i o n of q u i t e incompatible elements. act  As he appears i n  1, T r i b o u l e t i s a rancorous and s p i t e f u l c o u r t f o o l ,  m o r a l l y degenerate of  others.  In  as the King, and who  as  laughs at the m i s f o r t u n e s  This act closes with S a i n t - V a l l i e r ' s "malediction"  which s e a l s T r i b o u l e t ' s f a t e , but d e s p i t e the goodness and repentance It  t h a t he l a t e r demonstrates,  T r i b o u l e t i s not  spared.  i s almost as i f r e t r i b u t i o n were f a l l i n g on the head of an  innocent person, as i f the s i n s of the c o u r t j e s t e r were b e i n g p a i d f o r by a complete  stranger.  s t r i c k e n at the death of Blanche,  Indeed,  when T r i b o u l e t ,  grief  asks "6 Dieu! pourquoi?"  the  answer i s c l e a r n e i t h e r t o him nor t o the reader. To summarize, most of Hugo's works f o r the stage b e t r a y h i s o b s e s s i o n w i t h the " v i o l e n t , the p i c t u r e s q u e , the c o n t r a r y " (Kimbell 463).  Moreover, those q u a l i t i e s which are g e n e r a l l y  regarded as c r u c i a l t o good spoken drama--the a b i l i t y t o c h a r a c t e r i z e , t o d e v i s e p l o t s that develop n a t u r a l l y out of the i n t e r a c t i o n of c h a r a c t e r and s i t u a t i o n ,  t o impart the d i a l o g u e s  and s o l i l o q u i e s , however b e a u t i f u l they may  be, w i t h a c e r t a i n  dynamic t h a t bears upon the course of the drama--appear t o have concerned Hugo v e r y l i t t l e .  I t i s a l s o c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Hugo's  dramatic s t y l e that the t r a d i t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between p o e t r y and drama i s r e v e r s e d .  In Hugo's p l a y s the purpose  of the p o e t r y  77 does not seem to be the development o r the i l l u m i n a t i o n of  the  drama, r a t h e r i t i s the purpose of the drama t o c o n t r i v e s i t u a t i o n s i n which the c h a r a c t e r s can launch themselves i n t o p o e t i c speeches.  In some cases these speeches are  only  t a n g e n t a l l y r e l e v a n t to the main i s s u e s of the p l a y . Hugo's ambition was  t o c r e a t e a new,  only p a r t i a l l y r e a l i z e d .  all-encompasing  k i n d of drama  Too o f t e n i n h i s p l a y s the  of s p e c t a c l e and the outpourings  scenes  of emotion are s t r u n g a l o n g  prompted by a c h a i n of r a p i d , v i o l e n t and incidents.  Ultimately,  and  none-too-rational  As a r e s u l t , a p l a y such as Hernani resembles what  K i m b e l l d e s c r i b e s as  "a monstrously i n f l a t e d opera  libretto"  (465). Although Kimbell's  judgement i s perhaps a l i t t l e  r a i s e s an i n t e r e s t i n g p o i n t , s i n c e i t was  p r e c i s e l y the  " o p e r a t i c " q u a l i t y of Hugo's p l a y s t h a t drew V e r d i o t h e r composers) t o them.  So although  i n c l u d e d among the great masterpieces musicians  severe, i t  (and many  none of Hugo's p l a y s i s f o r the stage, many  have found them t o be i d e a l l y s u i t e d f o r m u s i c a l  adaptation.  The  composer Busoni once s t a t e d : "While f o r the  drama t h e r e are almost boundless p o s s i b i l i t i e s of m a t e r i a l , i t seems t h a t f o r the opera the o n l y s u i t a b l e s u b j e c t s are such as c o u l d not e x i s t or reach complete e x p r e s s i o n without  music--which  demand music and o n l y become complete through i t " (qtd. i n B a r r i c e l l i 26).  T h i s i n s i g h t may  help us understand how  Verdi i s  a b l e t o overcome the d e f i c i e n c i e s of Le Roi s'amuse as a spoken p l a y by g i v i n g "complete e x p r e s s i o n , "  as Busoni puts i t , t o  elements i n the work which have t r u e dramatic from b e g i n n i n g  t o end,  potential.  those  Indeed,  R i g o l e t t o i s f i l l e d w i t h examples where  78 V e r d i ' s music i s able t o c r e a t e a s t r o n g emotional the l i s t e n e r .  The opening prelude,  e s t a b l i s h e s the dark, brooding  f o r instance,  response i n firmly  atmospere which pervades t h e work.  Though b a r e l y three minutes i n l e n g t h , the p r e l u d e g i v e s us a f o r e t a s t e of the h o r r o r , the shame, the d i s g u s t and t h e d e s p a i r t h a t w i l l pursue R i g o l e t t o and h i s daughter t o t h e i r c a t a s t r o p h i c end.  Even the f e s t i v e dance music which s i g n a l s t h e b e g i n n i n g o f  a c t 1 cannot d i s p e l our f e e l i n g o f impending d i s a s t e r . Another example where V e r d i ' s music i s able t o c r e a t e an e m o t i o n a l l y charged atmosphere occurs musical  i n the t r i o i n a c t 3.  A  storm a c t s as the backdrop t o the c l i m a c t i c s e r i e s o f  events which culminates  i n G i l d a ' s murder, and here the composer  takes p a r t i c u l a r care t o make the scene as e x c i t i n g as p o s s i b l e . At one p o i n t the t r i o pauses f o r a c l o c k t o s t r i k e t h e h a l f hour b e f o r e midnight, the hour when R i g o l e t t o i s t o r e t u r n t o c l a i m his prize.  G i l d a t o knocks twice on the door o f the i n n between  p e a l s of thunder.  O f f s t a g e the chorus hums i n i m i t a t i o n o f the  moaning wind, a s t a r t l i n g l y e f f e c t i v e i n n o v a t i o n . she  i s about t o d i e i n order t o save the  knocks f o r the l a s t time, and i s admitted.  Knowing t h a t  f a i t h l e s s Duke, G i l d a The storm suddenly  b u r s t s overhead with alarming v i o l e n c e :  V e r d i l e t s a l l h e l l l o o s e f o r s i x t y - t h r e e bars w i t h the whole o r c h e s t r a p o u r i n g down t o r r e n t s t o g e t h e r w i t h drummage and cymbalclature and a thunder machine. Woodwind d e p i c t s the p a t t e r i n g r a i n , ' c e l l o s and basses rumble, v i o l i n s race, the chorus adds i t s w e i r d l y g o t h i c moaning. Then oboes, f l u t e s and v i o l i n s f l i c k e r f i t f u l l y as the storm abates i t s f u r y . (Godefroy 217)  Admittedly  t h i s s c e n a r i o c o n t a i n s many melodramatic c l i c h e s t h a t  79  '  c o u l d come a c r o s s as l u d i c r o u s i n the hands of a l e s s e r composer. But V e r d i i s able t o transcend c r e a t e s a dramatic  the b a n a l i t i e s of the scene  and  moment t h a t i s as p l a u s i b l e as i t i s e x c i t i n g .  Whereas Hugo's methods of dramatic  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n have  been shown t o be i n e f f e c t i v e , V e r d i i s more s u c c e s s f u l i n h i s a b i l i t y t o c r e a t e rounded, b e l i e v a b l e c h a r a c t e r s . G i l d a i s v i v i d l y brought t o l i f e arias  i n "Caro nome."  "Parmi veder l e lagrime" and  We  see  The  Duke's  "Le donna e mobile"  s i m i l a r l y r e v e l a t o r y of h i s c h a r a c t e r .  how  are  Moreover, although  both  T r i b o u l e t and R i g o l e t t o undergo the same s w i f t metamorphosis from the e v i l c o u r t buffoon  to the l o v i n g , m o r a l l y u p r i g h t f a t h e r ,  V e r d i ' s v e r s i o n of t h i s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n  seems e a s i e r t o  accept.  R i g o l e t t o ' s music allows us to sympathise w i t h h i s p a i n , h i s rage,  and h i s d e s p a i r t o an extent One  cannot w i t h T r i b o u l e t .  of the best examples of V e r d i ' s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of  R i g o l e t t o occurs  i n a c t 2 where the j e s t e r c o n f r o n t s  c o u r t i e r s a f t e r G i l d a ' s abduction. T r i b o u l e t ' s t i r a d e i s presented "each stage the f l a t  t h a t we  V e r d i ' s shortened  the v e r s i o n of  i n three c o n t r a s t i n g s e c t i o n s ,  i n h i s a b j e c t i o n being marked by a f u r t h e r move to  s i d e of the key"  section, beginning  with  (Budden Operas 501).  The  first  " C o r t i g i a n i , v i i r a z z a dannata!" has  a  r e s t l e s s accompaniment which seems t o hearken back t o V e r d i ' s l e s s mature s t y l e .  However, as Budden comments, the  o r c h e s t r a t i o n here i s "no mere p e d e s t a l f o r a l a r g e r than character. at  life  I t absorbs the impetus of the p r e c e d i n g movement  the same time embodies R i g o l e t t o ' s impotent d e s p a i r as  h u r l s h i m s e l f at the c o u r t i e r s " (Operas 501). by the slower "Ebben i o piango, M a r u l l o  and  he  This i s followed  . . . s i g n o r e " i n which  80 R i g o l e t t o breaks down and weeps w h i l e a p p e a l i n g "gentle  heart."  s e c t i o n i s one  Budden continues: of p l e a d i n g ,  poignancy by d o u b l i n g octave"  (Operas 501).  "The  musical p a t t e r n  daughter.  in this  t o which the v i o l a s g i v e an added  p a r t of the v i o l i n l i n e at the F i n a l l y , h i s p r i d e and  R i g o l e t t o begs the c o u r t i e r s to f o r g i v e him his  to Marullo's  lower  defiance  and  gone,  t o g i v e him  back  Here the i n s t r u m e n t a i o n takes on the c h a r a c t e r  chamber music, music of an almost unbearable i n t i m a c y R i g o l e t t o ' s h u m i l i a t i o n i s complete. e f f e c t i v e n e s s of t h i s  Howarth, too,  of  as  stresses  the  aria  . . . whose i n n o v a t i o n c o n s i s t s i n the i n v e r s i o n of the t r a d i t i o n a l development, which would have i n c r e a s e d i n energy and volume from b e g i n n i n g t o end. The r e v e r s e development here, t o g e t h e r w i t h the much g r e a t e r economy, shows a c o n s i d e r a b l e i n c r e a s e i n p s y c h o l o g i c a l c r e d i b i l i t y , s t r e s s i n g the coherence t h a t V e r d i and h i s l i b r e t t i s t sought t o produce i n t h e i r c e n t r a l f i g u r e by a s y n t h e s i s of c o n t r a s t i n g elements r a t h e r than a b i z a r r e j u x t a p o s i t i o n of o p p o s i t e s . ("From Le Roi s'amuse" 83)  With R i g o l e t t o . V e r d i and opera t h a t was  Piave had  h i g h l y unconventional f o r i t s time.  many of the accepted s t r u c t u r a l and had  stylistic  an e n t i r e l y new  conventions which  k i n d of t h e a t r i c a l e x p e r i e n c e .  l i t t l e wonder t h a t those who  heard R i g o l e t t o f o r the  were b a f f l e d , even i n t i m i d a t e d , music.  an  In t h i s work  governed e a r l y I t a l i a n romantic opera were r e j e c t e d , and  r e s u l t was  by such i n n o v a t i v e  first  and  the  It i s time  complex  A review which appeared i n the G a z z e t t a d i V e n e z i a  exemplifies the  succeeded i n c r e a t i n g  first  the common r e a c t i o n of those who  time:  heard R i g o l e t t o  for  81 An opera l i k e t h i s cannot be judged i n one evening. Yesterday we were almost overwhelmed by i t s o r i g i n a l i t y ; o r i g i n a l i t y or r a t h e r strangeness i n the c h o i c e of s u b j e c t ; o r i g i n a l i t y i n the music, i n the s t y l e , even i n the form of the p i e c e s ; and we d i d not comprehend i t i n i t s e n t i r e t y . N e v e r t h e l e s s the opera had the most complete success and the composer was applauded, c a l l e d f o r and acclaimed at almost e v e r y p i e c e ; two of them had t o be repeated. And i n t r u t h , the s k i l l of the o r c h e s t r a t i o n i s stupendous, wonderful: the o r c h e s t r a speaks t o you, weeps f o r you, t r a n s f u s e s p a s s i o n . Never was the eloquence of sound more p o w e r f u l . The v o c a l p a r t was l e s s s p l e n d i d , or so i t seemed at a f i r s t h e a r i n g . I t i s q u i t e d i s t i n c t from the s t y l e p r e v i o u s l y employed, s i n c e l a r g e ensembles are wanting, and a q u a r t e t and t r i o i n the l a s t a c t i n which the musical thought was not even p e r f e c t l y grasped s c a r c e l y gained our a t t e n t i o n , (qtd. i n K i m b e l l 279)  At  the b e g i n n i n g of t h i s s e c t i o n I mentioned  o p p o s i t i o n t o the success of R i g o l e t t o . and how its  b e i n g performed  the opera was author was  i n Paris f o r several years.  to forget h i s i l l - w i l l  attended a performance.  at  he even prevented However, when  f i n a l l y staged i n the French c a p i t a l i n 1857,  persuaded  c r i t i c i s m was  Hugo's vehement  the  towards V e r d i and  he  During the course of the evening Hugo's  r e p l a c e d by i n c r e a s i n g l y e n t h u s i a s t i c p r a i s e ,  and  l a s t he acknowledged the composer's genius and the beauty of  the opera.  I t i s r e p o r t e d that at the end of the q u a r t e t i n the  l a s t a c t he jumped t o h i s f e e t and exclaimed: " I f I c o u l d o n l y make f o u r c h a r a c t e r s i n my p l a y s speak at the same time and have the audience grasp the words and sentiments of each, o b t a i n the v e r y same e f f e c t "  (qtd. i n G a t t i 125).  I would  Although Hugo  f i n a l l y expressed h i s a d m i r a t i o n both f o r V e r d i and the dramatic p o s s i b i l i t i e s of opera, i t i s tempting t o s p e c u l a t e t h a t the poet must a l s o have f e l t a c e r t a i n amount of p r i d e i n the knowledge t h a t h i s p l a y had been the i n s p i r a t i o n f o r such a masterpiece.  82  R i q o l e t t o c o u l d thus be s a i d t o represent  both a v i c t o r y f o r  V e r d i and a k i n d o f v i n d i c a t i o n f o r Hugo.  I t was almost as  Hugo's "Romantic Waterloo" had been refought,  and won.  83 CONCLUSION  Hugo's v e r s e dramas and V e r d i ' s Risorgimento operas are i n f u s e d w i t h the r e v o l u t i o n a r y s p i r i t of European However, the view t h a t each h e l d of h i s own of  romanticism.  work i n the c o n t e x t  the a r t i s t i c and s o c i a l events of h i s s o c i e t y was  different.  To V i c t o r Hugo, the maverick,  markedly  romanticism r e p r e s e n t e d  a means by which many a r t i s t i c and s o c i a l freedoms c o u l d be Hugo was  won.  p a r t i c u l a r l y determined t o l i b e r a t e French drama from  the c o n s t r a i n t s of n e o - c l a s s i c a l tragedy, a form which had changed l i t t l e  s i n c e the seventeenth c e n t u r y and which  d e r i d e d by the romantics as a s t y l i s t i c d i n o s a u r .  was  Beginning with  Cromwell and i t s famous p r e f a c e , Hugo t r i e d t o put h i s dramatic theories into practise.  While not always  were n e v e r t h e l e s s b o t h c o n t r o v e r s i a l and Consequently,  successful, his plays influential.  works such as Hernani and Le Roi s'amuse are  remembered l e s s f o r t h e i r l i t e r a r y m e r i t than f o r t h e i r importance  i n the war  strategic  against neo-classicism.  L i k e most of h i s contemporaries, Hugo was  i n f l u e n c e d by the  l i t e r a t u r e o f o t h e r c o u n t r i e s and o t h e r c e n t u r i e s .  For Hugo,  Shakespeare  k i n d of  drama, one  was  the model f o r the c r e a t i o n of a new  i n which a l l walks of l i f e  n a t u r e were r e p r e s e n t e d .  and a l l the v a r i e t y of  Consequently,  p a r t i c u l a r l y between the sublime p r i n c i p a l dramatic t e c h n i q u e .  marked c o n t r a s t ,  and the grotesque, became Hugo's  He a l s o borrowed h e a v i l y  p o p u l a r melodrama--perhaps too h e a v i l y ,  from  f o r some c r i t i c s d i s m i s s  Hugo's p l a y s s i m p l y as w e l l w r i t t e n melodramas. D e s p i t e h i s shortcomings as a p l a y w r i g h t i t i s u n d e n i a b l e  84 t h a t Hugo's dramas had the  1830's.  a p o s i t i v e i n f l u e n c e on French t h e a t r e  Perhaps h i s most important c o n t r i b u t i o n was  of  his  l i b e r a t i o n of the p o e t i c language from the l i m i t a t i o n s imposed upon i t by the n e o - c l a s s i c a l s t y l e noble.  In both Hernani and  Le  Roi s'amuse Hugo's p o e t i c genius i s s t r i k i n g l y apparent-overflowing  w i t h i n v e n t i o n and  exuberance, y e t capable o f a most  moving l y r i c i s m . Giuseppe V e r d i was Hugo was.  not  A l t h o u g h he came t o be  composer of h i s century, c o n s i s t e d of a slow and and  imitation.  sacred,  the c h a r i s m a t i c revered  t r a i l blazer  as the g r e a t e s t  Verdi's early a r t i s t i c  o f t e n f r u s t r a t i n g p r o c e s s of a s s i m i l a t i o n  Rather than impetuously r e j e c t i n g a l l t h a t  c o n v e n t i o n s a l r e a d y e s t a b l i s h e d by o t h e r composers.  end  his apprenticeship  served  him  w e l l , s i n c e the  In  L i k e the French w r i t e r s of the p e r i o d ,  the  from contemporary l i t e r a r y sources as w e l l .  plays,  f o r example, were set t o music b e f o r e  nineteenth adapting  century.  The  f a c t t h a t V e r d i and  Italian  restricted itself by the gods and conceived  the end  of  the  o t h e r composers were  changed s i n c e the e i g h t e e n t h  L i k e n e o - c l a s s s i c a l tragedy, opera s e r i a had  past,  E i g h t of Hugo's  the works of contemporary w r i t e r s i n d i c a t e s how  I t a l i a n opera s e r i a had  only  techniques.  composers of opera drew t h e i r i n s p i r a t i o n not o n l y from the but  the  astounding  t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h e s such operas as R i g o l e t t o was  by a mastery of t r a d i t i o n a l forms and  was  boundaries  and  achieved  Italian  development  V e r d i i n i t i a l l y p r e f e r r e d t o work w i t h i n the  innovation  that  much  century.  previously  to the p o r t r a y a l of an a r c a d i a n world p o p u l a t e d  heroes of a n t i q u i t y .  These c h a r a c t e r s  as i d e a l i z e d models of v i r t u e and  bore  little  were  85 resemblance t o r e a l people. changed.  Not  But by the 1830's the s i t u a t i o n had  o n l y were the a c t u a l s u b j e c t s of operas f a r more  v a r i e d and u n c o n v e n t i o n a l ,  but  the c a s t of c h a r a c t e r s had  s u b s t a n t i a l l y broadened to r e p r e s e n t Luisa M i l l e r  been  a l l l e v e l s of s o c i e t y .  (184 9), f o r example, i s a drame bourgeois  i n which  V e r d i p o r t r a y s the s t r u g g l e s and emotions of o r d i n a r y p e o p l e (Budden V e r d i 206-7). As the dramatic element become much more important, composers began t o take a more h o l i s t i c approach t o t h e i r work. From the q u a l i t y of the l i b r e t t o and the d e t a i l s of costumes and were c a r e f u l l y planned and e n t i r e l y new  staging, a l l aspects coordinated.  k i n d of opera.  c o u l d b e l i e v e i n and  the nuances of the s c o r e ,  The  of  production  r e s u l t was  an  Here at l a s t were c h a r a c t e r s  sympathize with; here was  s p e c t a c l e of the human heart r e v e a l e d and  to  one  the e n t i r e  animated by  vividly  p o w e r f u l music. Of course, I t a l y was  no a r t i s t  i n R e s t o r a t i o n France o r R i s o r g i m e n t o  f r e e from the t h r e a t of p o l i t i c a l c e n s o r s h i p ,  Hugo and V e r d i knew too w e l l the i n d i g n i t y of h a v i n g expunged o r banned o u t r i g h t by o v e r z e a l o u s political  romantic a r t r e p r e s e n t e d  society.  t h e i r works  officials.  and produced.  To  the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of  P l a y s such as Le Roi s'amuse were viewed as  and were q u i c k l y suppressed.  The  they were allowed  the civilized subversive  For the same reason R i q o l e t t o  many o t h e r V e r d i operas o f t e n had before  both  l e a d e r s of these c o u n t r i e s were i n t o l e r a n t of much of  what the romantic "rabble", p r o f e s s e d Ultras,  and  and  to be e x t e n s i v e l y a l t e r e d  t o be performed.  d e l i b e r a t e than V e r d i i n h i s p r o v o c a t i o n  Hugo was  more  of the c e n s o r ' s wrath,  86  and  r e l i s h e d the p u b l i c i t y i n c u r r e d by the banning o f Le R o i  s'amuse and the s e n s a t i o n a l t r i a l  t h a t ensued.  Indeed, Hugo  f i r m l y b e l i e v e d t h a t h i s most s a c r e d r e s p o n s i b i l i t y as France's p r e m i e r homme de lettres political  was t o take a stand  and i n t e l l e c t u a l Establishment,  i t s conservatism.  a g a i n s t the  a group infamous f o r  A l t h o u g h V e r d i was not the p o l i t i c a l  extremist  t h a t Hugo was, he q u i t e openly supported t h e I t a l i a n n a t i o n a l i s t cause.  Works such as E r n a n i  and La B a t t a g l i a d i Legnano b e t r a y  V e r d i ' s Risorgimento sympathies, and he i n e v i t a b l y came t o be r e g a r d e d as the o f f i c i a l composer o f the movement. when he f e l t t h a t h i s a r t i s t i c  Moreover,  freedom was t h r e a t e n e d , V e r d i ,  l i k e Hugo, r a r e l y h e s i t a t e d t o c h a l l e n g e  h i s oppressors.  A l t h o u g h Hugo was a b r i l l i a n t poet, many s c h o l a r s his  s k i l l s as a d r a m a t i s t .  inability  A commonly c i t e d problem i s h i s  t o d e v i s e p l o t s t h a t advance i n a p l a u s i b l e manner, and  too o f t e n he r e l i e s on a great d e a l o f e l a b o r a t e borrowed from p o p u l a r melodrama.  creates  stage b u s i n e s s  More s e r i o u s d i f f i c u l t i e s are  posed by h i s methods o f c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . presents  criticize  T y p i c a l l y Hugo  c h a r a c t e r s who a r e e i t h e r a l l good o r a l l e v i l , o r he still  more u n l i k e l y f i g u r e s compounded o f c o n t r a s t i n g  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s without t r o u b l i n g t o demonstrate the r e l a t i o n s h i p between them. Despite  the v a l i d i t y o f many of these c r i t i c i s m s ,  I also  agree w i t h those s c h o l a r s who a s s e r t t h a t the b e s t o f Hugo's v e r s e p l a y s - - p a r t i c u l a r l y Hernani and Ruy B i a s - - b e l o n g d i s t i n c t l y H u g o l i a n genre: the drame lyrique. the  to a  Indeed, because o f  l y r i c i s m and the emotional i n t e n s i t y t h a t i n f u s e s much o f  t h e i r w r i t i n g , works such as  Hernani, Marion de Lorme, and Ruy  87 B i a s c r e a t e an e f f e c t t h a t i s c l o s e r t o opera than t o spoken drama. normally  Consequently, many of the c r i t e r i a by which p l a y s  are  judged cannot, i n a l l f a i r n e s s , be a p p l i e d t o Hugo's  v e r s e dramas.  Howarth comments:  With Hugo, r a t i o n a l i s t i c concepts of p l a u s i b i l i t y of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n are not r e a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e . In rHernanil perhaps more than anywhere e l s e i n Hugo's t h e a t r e , c h a r a c t e r s are above a l l v e h i c l e s f o r p o e t i c developments of a l y r i c a l , e l e g a i c , o r s a t i r i c a l nature. I t i s i m p o s s i b l e not t o be s t r u c k by . . . the d i s t i n c t l y operatic q u a l i t y of Hugo's dramatic w r i t i n g . For the p l a y w r i g h t has r e j e c t e d the l i n e a r p l o t development of the t r a d i t i o n a l s e r i o u s drama of the r a t i o n a l i s t n e o c l a s s i c a l era, i n which even s o l i l o q u i e s f u l f i l l e d a d i a l e c t i c a l f u n c t i o n ; i n p l a c e of t h i s we have a s t r u c t u r e i n which " p l o t " i s a framework f o r a s e r i e s of s o l o s and duets, a r i a s and r e c i t a t i v e s . . . ("Hugo and the Romantic Drama i n Verse" 70)  U n l i k e the heroes of n e o - c l a s s i c a l drama, who  are i n t e n s e l y  inward l o o k i n g and c o n s t r a i n e d by t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r  circumstances,  Hugo's c h a r a c t e r s , l i k e Shakespeare's, look outward from the p a r t i c u l a r t o the u n i v e r s a l . the l i m i t a t i o n s of context,  Their imaginative  and  flights  i t i s the f u n c t i o n of  transcend  the  imagery, l i k e t h a t of the music i n opera, t o g i v e memorable, s t r i k i n g form t o t h e i r u t t e r a n c e s Drama i n Verse"  70).  (Howarth "Hugo and  Seen i n t h i s l i g h t ,  w i t h i t s cumbersome, melodramatic p l o t and sublime/grotesque both a dramatic  the Romantic  even Le R o i s'amuse. i t s heavy-handed  a n t i t h e s i s , c o n t a i n s many passages which convey grandeur and a l y r i c a l beauty.  s o l i l o q u y i n the l a s t a c t , f o r example, although  Triboulet's incongruous w i t h  h i s c h a r a c t e r , i s n e v e r t h l e s s a g l o r i o u s e x p r e s s i o n of a folie grandeur  (Howarth "Drama" 223),  and stands on i t s own  as a k i n d  de  88 of spoken "concert  aria":  Songer que s i demain Dieu d i s a i t a l a t e r r e : --0 t e r r e , q u e l v o l c a n v i e n t d ' o u v r i r son c r a t e r e ? Qui done emeut a i n s i l e C h r e t i e n , 1'ottoman, Clement-Sept, D o r i a , C h a r l e s Quint, Soliman? Quel Cesar, q u e l J£sus, q u e l g u e r r i e r , quel a p o t r e , J e t t e l e s n a t i o n s a i n s i l'une s u r l ' a u t r e ? Quel b r a s t e f a i t trembler, t e r r e , comme i l l u i p l a i t ? La t e r r e avec t e r r e u r r e p o n d r a i t : T r i b o u l e t ! Oh! j o u i s , v i i bouffon, dans t a f i e r t e profonde. La vengeance d'un f o u f a i t o s c i l l e r l e monde! (5.1.1457-66)  B a r r i c e l l i a f f i m s t h a t whereas Hugo wrote more f o r the reader,  V e r d i wrote more f o r the l i s t e n e r .  He  argues t h a t Hugo's  p l a y s succeed on an i n t e l l e c t u a l l e v e l , whereas V e r d i ' s operas speak t o our emotions. Hernani t o be (26).  In my  For t h i s reason  Barricelli  considers  "roman manque" w h i l e E r n a n i i s a "drame r e a l i s e " o p i n i o n , t h i s judgement does not do j u s t i c e  Hugo's achievement as a d r a m a t i s t .  I t i s t r u e t h a t most of h i s  p l a y s have f a l l e n i n t o o b s c u r i t y , whereas V e r d i and  Piave's  adaptations  of t h e m - - p a r t i c u l a r l y R i g o l e t t o - - c o n t i n u e t o  popular  critical  provided  and  success.  Neverthless,  i t was  the o r i g i n a l i n s p i r a t i o n f o r these and  masterpieces  of the o p e r a t i c r e p e r t o i r e .  s e r v i n g as g r i s t  to  But  enjoy  Hugo  who  other  f a r from  simply  f o r the o p e r a t i c m i l l , Hugo's v e r s e dramas  p o s s e s s a l y r i c i s m and an exuberance which a t t e s t to h i s p o e t i c genius,  and which s t i l l  have the power t o move us.  L i k e V e r d i ' s operas, Hugo's p l a y s changed the course French t h e a t r e f o r e v e r .  Moreover, l i k e V e r d i , Hugo not  of  only  d e c i s i v e l y r e j e c t e d the a e s t h e t i c and p o l i t i c a l t r a d i t i o n s of previous  century,  but he c r e a t e d something new  the  and b e a u t i f u l i n  89  the p r o c e s s .  In Chapter 4 I c i t e a review of the premiere  performance o f R i q o l e t t o which s t a t e s : "Never was the eloquence of sound more p o w e r f u l , " a judgement  which I b e l i e v e a p p l i e s as  e a s i l y t o the music o f V e r d i ' s operas as t o the p o e t r y t h a t i n s p i r e d them.  90 BIBLIOGRAPHY  PRIMARY SOURCES: Hugo, V i c t o r . Vol.  1.  Hernani.  Hugo: Theatre.  Ed. Raymond  P a r i s : Garnier-Flammarion,  Hugo, V i c t o r .  Le R o i s'amuse.  Pouilliart.  V o l . 1.  1979.  Pouilliart.  311-440.  Hugo: T h e a t r e .  Ed. Raymond  P a r i s : Garnier-Flammarion, 1979.  461-572. Hugo, V i c t o r .  Lucrece B o r g i a .  Pouilliart.  V o l . 2.  Hugo: T h e a t r e .  Ed. Raymond  P a r i s : Garnier-Flammarion,  1979.  45-  142. Hugo, V i c t o r .  P r e f a c e de "Cromwell".  Piave, Francesco M a r i a .  Libretto.  Trans. Mary E l l i s P a l t z .  P a r i s : Flammarion,  Ernani.  1972.  Music by V e r d i .  New York: F r e d Rullman Inc.,  1956. Piave, Francesco M a r i a .  Libretto.  New York: F r e d Rullman V e r d i , Giuseppe.  Ernani.  and M i r e l l a F r e n i .  Rigoletto.  Inc., n.d. With P l a c i d o Domingo, Renato Bruson,  Cond. R i c c a r d o M u t i .  chorus o f the T e a t r o a l i a S c a l a . V e r d i , Giuseppe.  Rigoletto.  Giuseppe D i Stefano.  Music by V e r d i .  O r c h e s t r a and  EMI, CDS 7470838, 1983.  With Maria C a l l a s , T i t o Gobbi, and  Cond. T u l l i o S e r a f i n .  chorus o f the T e a t r o a l i a S c a l a .  O r c h e s t r a and  EMI, CDS 7474698, 1955.  SECONDARY SOURCES: Allen,  James Smith.  Popular French Romanticism.  Syracuse:  Syracuse UP, 1981. Barricelli,  Jean-Pierre.  "Percept and Concept: From Hugo's  Hernani t o V e r d i ' s E r n a n i . "  Le ravonnement  international  de V i c t o r Hugo: A c t e s du symposium de 1 ' A s s o c i a t i o n I n t e r n a t i o n a l e de L i t t e r a t u r e Gomparee Ed. F r a n c i s Claudon. Bassan, Fernande. Hugo."  York;  1985).  P e t e r Lang, 1989.  17-26.  "La r e c e p t i o n c r i t i q u e d'Hernani de V i c t o r  Revue d ' h i s t o i r e du t h e a t r e 1 (1984): 69-77.  Budden, J u l i a n . CDC  New  ( P a r i s , aout  Jacket notes.  7470842,  Budden, J u l i a n .  Ernani.  By Giuseppe V e r d i .  EMI,  1983. The Operas of V e r d i .  V o l . 1.  London: C a s s e l l ,  1973 . Budden, J u l i a n .  Verdi.  C h a r l t o n , D. G.,  ed.  Cambridge  UP,  Coe, R i c h a r d N. librettistes  London: J.M.  Dent and Sons,  The French Romantics.  "Meli-melo-drame italiens."  C o l l i n s , Herbert F.  L i t t e r a t u r e et Opera.  Introduction.  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