An emblematic work of our literary heritage, the play “Cyrano de Bergerac”, written by Edmond Rostand at the end of the 19th century when he was only 29 years old, has stood the test of time.
Even today, this heroic comedy continues to be reinvented, as evidenced by the film “Cyrano”, with Peter Dinklage, which will be released in theaters on March 30. On this occasion, here are some anecdotes about this French play, the most performed in the world.
The play is a success from the first
In five acts and in verse, the play was a success from the first performance, on December 27, 1897 at the Porte St Martin theater in Paris. However, Edmond Rostand feared a fiasco after laborious rehearsals. The character of Cyrano was interpreted by Constant Coquelin, known as Coquelin Ainé. To attend the audience’s applause, which lasted twenty minutes, the playwright was hidden on stage among the actors.
Edmond Rostand decorated with the Legion of Honor
On January 1, 1898, four days after the premiere, the Minister of Finance Georges Cochery went to Edmond Rostand’s box to present him with the Legion of Honor. “I allow myself to take a little head start,” he declared, pinning the medal on the chest of the author, to whom we also owe the play “L’Aiglon” (1900), whose role -title was held by Sarah Bernhardt.
Cyrano de Bergerac really existed
In love with his cousin Roxane, Cyrano, master of words and the sword, is inspired by Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655), a French writer, free-thinker and soldier. Edmond Rostand had discovered it in Théophile Gautier’s work, “Les Grotesques” (1844). As in the play, Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac was decked out with a long nose and nicknamed the “demon of bravery” by his comrades in arms.
The title of a tube found on a Cyrano poster
In 1977, Sting, then a member of the rock band The Police, was in Paris. After seeing prostitutes walking down the street from his hotel, he started writing lyrics for a song.
While thinking about a title, the artist had laid eyes on an old poster of the play Cyrano de Bergerac, hung on the wall of his room, and on which was mentioned the name of the heroine…Roxanne.