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cyrano de bergerac

LITERATURE STAMP COLLECTION Country: France. Original title: Cyrano de Bergerac. Writted by: Edmond Rostand.

Literature Stamp Collection —France

Cyrano —by Edmond Rostand

First editon: 1897.

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CREDITS Graphic design: Eric Codina, Barcelona. www.ericcodina.com Especial thanks to: Jordi Embodas www.tipografies.com Text by: Wikipedia Year: 2014

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Introduction

cyrano de bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. Although there was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, the play is a fictionalization of his life that follows the broad outlines of it. The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets of 12 syllables per line, very close to the Alexandrine format, but the verses sometimes lack a caesura. It is also meticulously researched, down to the names of the members of the Académie française and the dames précieuses glimpsed before the performance in the first scene. The play has been translated and performed many times, and is responsible for introducing the word “panache” into the English language. Cyrano (the character) is in fact famed for his panache, and the play ends with him saying “My panache.” just before his death. The two most famous English translations are those by Brian Hooker and Anthony Burgess. Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a cadet (nobleman serving as a soldier) in the French Army, is a brash, strong-willed man of many talents. In addition to being a remarkable duelist, he is a gifted, joyful poet and is also shown to be a musician. However, he has an extremely large nose, which is the reason for his own self-doubt. v


cyrano de bergerac

“My heart alway itself behind my to bring down st sky, then, for fear I stop and pick li of eloquence.�

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s timidly hides mind. I set out tars from the r of ridicule, ittle flowers

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The play opens in Paris, 1640, in the theatre of the Hôtel Burgundy. Members of the audience slowly arrive, representing a cross-section of Parisian society from pickpockets to nobility. Christian de Neuvillette, a handsome new cadet, arrives with Lignière, a drunkard whom he hopes will identify the young woman with whom he has fallen in love. Lignière recognizes her as Roxane, and tells Christian about her and the Count De Guiche’s scheme to marry her off to the compliant Viscount Valvert. Meanwhile, Ragueneau and Le Bret are expecting Cyrano de Bergerac, who has banished the actor Montfleury from the stage for a month. After Lignière leaves, Christian intercepts a pickpocket and, in return for his freedom, the pickpocket tells Christian of a plot against Lignière. Christian departs to try to warn him. The play “Clorise” begins with Montfleury’s entrance, and Cyrano disrupts the play, forces him off stage, and compensates the manager for the loss of admission fees. The crowd is going to disperse when Cyrano lashes out at a pesky busybody, then is confronted by Valvert and duels with him while composing a ballade, wounding him as he ends the refrain (as promised: he ends each refrain with “When I end the refrain, ‘Thrust Home’.”) When the crowd has cleared the viii


Synopsis

cyrano de bergerac

theater, Cyrano and Le Bret remain behind, and Cyrano confesses his love for Roxane. Roxane’s duenna then arrives, and asks where Roxane may meet Cyrano privately. Lignière is then brought to Cyrano, having learned that one hundred hired thugs are waiting to ambush him on his way home. Cyrano, now emboldened, vows to take on the entire mob single-handed, and he leads a procession of officers, actors and musicians to the Porte de Nesle. The next morning, at Ragueneau’s bake shop, Ragueneau supervises various apprentice cooks in their preparations. Cyrano arrives, anxious about his meeting with Roxane. He is followed by a musketeer, a paramour of Ragueneau’s domineering wife Lise, then the regular gathering of impoverished poets who take advantage of Ragueneau’s hospitality. Cyrano composes a letter to Roxane expressing his deep and unconditional love for her, warns Lise about her indiscretion with the musketeer, and when Roxane arrives he signals Ragueneau to leave them alone. Roxane and Cyrano talk privately as she bandages his hand (injured from the fracas at the Port de Nesle); she thanks him for defeating Valvert at the theater, and talks about a man with whom she has fallen in love with her husband. ix


cyrano de bergerac

“Take it, and tur my fantasies.�

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n to facts

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cyrano Cyrano is courageous, poetic, witty, and eloquent. He is a remarkable fighter, poet, musician, and philosopher, as well as a lover of beauty, ideals, and values. Never presented in a bad or unflattering light, Cyrano is difficult to dislike. Throughout the play, Cyrano acts according to his uncompromising sense of values and morals. He remains steadfast in his pursuit to become an honorable man and comes to represent the kind of man that everyone would like to be—and more. Cyrano displays bravado reminiscent of the warrior tradition, never talking himself or others out of the important last fight.

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roxane

Cyrano’s plot revolves around the effort, by many men, to win Roxane’s love. With little agency, curiosity, or will in regard to the entreaties of her suitors, Roxane is the constant star in a perplexing galaxy of affection. Nearly every character is either directly affected by her love or is hoping to win it. But winning Roxane is not Cyrano’s or Christian’s goal: winning her love. It alters Christian and Cyrano in respectively different ways throughout the play, and it defines each scene’s tone. Roxane’s kindness and sincerity never waver and are never questioned. But she has a major dramatic shift in thought at the war at Arras when she tells Christian that although she once loved him.

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“A great nose ma of a great soul” student friends of his—Rosencrantz and Guildenstern—to discover the cause of Hamlet’s mood and behavior. Hamlet greets his friends warmly, but quickly discerns that they are spies. That night, the Ghost appears to Hamlet and tells him that Claudius murdered him by pouring poison in his ear. The Ghost demands that Hamlet avenge him; Hamlet agrees and decides to feign madness to avert suspicion. He is, however, uncertain of the Ghost’s reliability.¶ Polonius is Claudius’s trusted chief counsellor; his son, Laertes, is about to resume studies in France, and his daughter, Ophelia, is courting Hamlet. Neither Polonius nor Laertes approves of the match, and both warn her off. Shortly afterwards, Ophelia meets Hamlet secretly but is so alarmed by his strange antics that she tells her father of Hamlet’s state. Polonius blames an “ecstasy of love”[7] for Hamlet’s madness and informs Claudius and Gertrude. At their next tryst, Hamlet rants at Ophelia, accusing her of immodesty and dismissing her to a nunnery.

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ay be an index

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T

cyrano de bergerac

he original Cyrano was Constant Coquelin, who played it over 410 times at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin and later toured North America in the role. Richard Mansfield was the first actor to play Cyrano in the United States in an English translation. The longest-running Broadway production ran 232 performances in 1923 and starred Walter Hampden, who returned to the role on the Great White Way in 1926, 1928, 1932, and 1936. Hampden used the 1923 Brian Hooker translation prepared especially for him, which became such a classic in itself that it was used by virtually every English-speaking Cyrano until the mid-1980s. In 1946 Hampden passed the torch to José Ferrer, who won a Tony Award for playing Cyrano in a much-praised Broadway staging, the highlight of which was a special benefit performance in which Ferrer played the title role for the first four acts and Hampden (then in his mid-sixties) assumed it for the fifth. Ferrer reprised the role on live television in 1949 and 1955, and in a 1950 film version for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. It became Ferrer’s most famous role. Other notable English-speaking Cyranos were Ralph Richardson, DeVeren Bookwalter, Derek Jacobi, Richard Chamberlain, and Christopher Plummer, who played the part in Rostand’s original play and won a Tony Award for the 1973 musical

adaptation. Kevin Kline played the role in a Broadway production in 2007, with Jennifer Garner playing Roxane and Daniel Sunjata as Christian. A taped version of the production was broadcast on PBS in 2009. Anthony Burgess wrote a new translation and adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac in 1970, which had its world premiere at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Paul Hecht was Cyrano. Also in the cast were Len Cariou as Christian, and Roberta Maxwell as Roxane. A later production was the Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed 1983 stage production, starring Derek Jacobi as Cyrano and Alice Krige (later Sinéad Cusack) as Roxanne, which was videotaped and broadcast on television in 1985. For this production, Burgess very significantly reworked his earlier translation; both Burgess translations have appeared in book form. Emily Frankel wrote a condensed prose adaptation for her husband John Cullum which was first performed at Syracuse Stage, directed by Arthur Storch, in 1983, then at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in 1984. A national tour in 1985-1986 concluded with a month’s stay at Baltimore’s Morris Mechanic Theatre. In 2004, Barksdale Theatre in Richmond kicked off its 50th Anniversary season with a production of Emily Frankel’s Cyrano, starring David Bridgewater.

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1925 A silent, hand tinted French-Italian film version of the play, starring Pierre Magnier 1945 Love Letters is a screen adaptation by novelist Ayn Rand of the book Pity My Simplicity by Christopher Massie which converted his story into an adaptation of Rostand’s play. The heroine, Singleton (played by Jennifer Jones), falls in love with a soldier during World War II, believing him to be the author of certain love letters that had been written for him by another soldier at the front. In this version, the heroine discovers the identity of the true author (played by Joseph Cotten) in time for the protagonists to experience a “happy ending.” The film, produced by Hal Wallis, was a commercial success and earned four nominations for Academy Awards, including that of Jones for “Best Actress of 1945,” and was one of the four films which paired Jones and Cotton as romanic leads. (The others were Since You Went Away, 1944, Duel in the Sun, 1946, and Portrait of Jennie, 1948.) The musical score by Victor Young was also nominated for an Oscar, and featured the melody of the hit song “Love Letters,” which has been recorded by numerous artists since 1945, including Rosemary Clooney, Dick Haymes, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Jack Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Shelley Fabares, Elton John and Sinéad O’Connor. The melody or song has been reused in other films, including the Blue Velvet (1986), directed by David Lynch. 1945 There is also a relatively unknown French-language black-andwhite film version made in 1945, starring Claude Dauphin. Posters and film stills give the impression that the set designs and costumes of the 1950 José Ferrer film may have been modeled on those in the 1945 movie. 1950 José Ferrer played the role in the 1950 film, the first film version of the play made in English. The film was made on a low budget, and although it was highly acclaimed, it was a box office disappointment and was nominated for only one Oscar – Best Actor – which was won by Ferrer. Nevertheless, it has become a film classic. Mala Powers co-starred as Roxane and William

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Films

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Prince played Christian. This is perhaps the most famous film version of the play. 1959 Aru kengo no shogai (Life of an Expert Swordsman) is a samurai film by Hiroshi Inagaki, adapted from Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, and starring Toshiro Mifune in the Cyrano role. It was released in the English-language market with. 1973 a Filipino comedy film Cyrano de Bergerac at Roxanne starred the most famous Filipino comedian, (the late) Dolphy. 1987 film Roxanne, a contemporary comedy version with a happy ending added, starred Steve Martin as C.D. Bales, Daryl Hannah as Roxanne, and Rick Rossovich as Chris. 1990 French movie adaptation with Gérard Depardieu in the title role won several awards including an Oscar. 2005 The movie Bigger Than the Sky is set around the actors performing a rendition of the play. 2007 A contemporary retelling of the tale was made into a movie in Venezuela, with the title Cyrano Fernández. In this case, Cyrano was disfigured and without the large nose. 2009 The movie The Ugly Truth has a similar plot, with a reverse variation involving Cyrano’s counterpart advising his own love interest how to date another man, but eventually falling for her himself. 2010 The movie Megamind features a plot that echoes the play, including a titular character with an outlandishly large body part. Megamind falls in love with Roxanne and woos her as Bernard, believing that he would never win her heart as himself. Much like the 1987 comedic adaptation, Megamind features a happy ending for the protagonists. 2012 The Disney Channel Original Movie Let It Shine is also based around this play.

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About the autor

cyrano de bergerac

edmond eugène alexis rostand; 1 april 1868 – 2 december 1918) was a French poet and dramatist. He is associated with neo-romanticism, and is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Rostand’s romantic plays contrasted with the naturalistic theatre popular during the late nineteenth century. Another of Rostand’s works, Les Romanesques, was adapted to the musical comedy, The Fantasticks.¶ His first play, a burlesque, Les romanesques was produced on 21 May 1894 at the Théâtre Français; it would be adapted in 1960 by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt into the long-running American musical The Fantasticks. Another early play, La Princesse Lointaine, was based on the story of the troubadour Rudel and the Lady of Tripoli. This play opened on 5 April 1895 at the Théâtre de la Renaissance. The part of Melissande was created by Sarah Bernhardt, who also was the original Photine of Rostand’s La Samaritaine (Theatre de la Renaissance, 14 April 1897), a Biblical drama in three scenes taken from the gospel story of the woman of Samaria.¶ Edmond Rostand, aged 29, the time of the first performance of Cyrano, final on 1898. The production of his heroic comedy of Cyrano de Bergerac (28 December 1897, Theatre de la Porte Saint-Martin), with Benoît-Constant Coquelin in the title-role, was a triumph. No such enthusiasm for a drama in verse had been known since the days of Hugo’s Hernani.¶ The play was quickly translated into English, German, Russian and other European languages. For his hero he had drawn on French seventeenth-century history.¶ In L’Aiglon he chose a subject from Napoleonic history, suggested probably Henri Welschinger’s Roi de Rome, 1811–32 (1897), which contained much new information about the unhappy life of the Duke of Reichstadt, son of Napoleon I, and Marie Louise, under the surveillance of Metternich at the Schönbrunn Palace. L’Aiglon in six acts and in verse, was produced (15 March 1900) by Sarah Bernhardt at her own theatre, she herself undertaking the part of the Duke of Reichstadt.•

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ŠEric Codina xxiv

Cyrano de Bergerac - Literature Stamp Collection  

Booklet about Don Quijote, from the Literature Stamp Collection

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