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Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de (1732-1799)
The comedy The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro is a vivid satire of society during the Ancien Régime and of aristocratic privileges; it was first performed on April 27, 1784 and presaged the beginning of the French Revolution, which it doubtlessly helped bring about. After the fall of the monarchy in 1792, the comedy was again performed on several Parisian stages, albeit the concluding songs were modified by Beaumarchais. The final stanza of the stuttering judge Don Gusman Brid'oison, which in 1784 had concluded Tout fini-it par des chansons, was adapted to the difficulties of the period: Pour tromper sa maladie, / Il [the people] chantoit tout l'opera : / Dame ! il n'sait plus qu'ce p'tit air-là : / Ca ira, ça ira... However, after the fall of Robespierre and the Thermidorian Reaction, these words roiled young Muscadins just as the previous ones had caused the Sansculottes to react. Since the performances were disrupted by such turbulent audiences, Beaumarchais entrusted La Rochelle, the actor who performed the role of Brid'Oison, with an alternative ending that could be recited en cas de bruit (in case of noise). This variant, which remained unpublished until recently, was a praise of freedom of speech and of the sang froid de la raison (the cold blood of reason) against the stratagème (wiles) of ideological cabals.
Online Since: 06/22/2017
- Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de (Author)