PRECURSORS OF THE THEATER
Béziers, and Orange, although they are almost ruined by the combined Provençal and Parisian influences, and fluctuating in their choice of plays from Les Précieuses ridicules to Le Châlet of Adolphe Adam, from the Phèdre of Racine to the Iphigénie of Moréas, the Œdipus of Sophocles to that of Péladan—these performances none the less serve the cause of the People's Theater in its mani-
- ↑ The Roman theater at Orange was reopened in 1869, I think, with the singing of a cantata, Les Triomphateurs, of Antony-Réal, and the Joseph of Méhul. Adam's Le Châlet was given in 1874; Les Précieuses ridicules in 1886; then followed a series of classic or pseudo-classic tragedies: Œdipus, Antigone, Alcestis, The Phœnician Women, Athalie, Phèdre, Horace; and the Orphée and Iphigénie en Tauride of Gluck. Lately there were three series of productions within a few weeks, and the variety of programs was disconcerting. In 1903 alone there were performances of La Légende du cœur by Jean Aicard, Œdipe et le Sphinx, by Joséphin Péladan, Citharis by Alexis Mouzin, Iphigénie by Jean Moréas; Horace, Phèdre, The Phœnician Women, Orphée, etc. In place of these antique imitations and absurd transpositions of parlor tragedies, I should like to see genuine Provençal plays, like Mistral's La Reine Jeanne.—See Léopold Lacour's articles, Au Thâtre d'Orange and Le Présent et l'avenir (in the Revue de Paris, Sept. 1, 1903), and Les Théâtres en plein air (in L'Art du Théâtre, Oct., 1903).
The performances in the arena constructed by M. Castelbon de Beauxhostes at Béziers have up to the present been exclusively musical; at first they were devoted to the music of M. Saint-Saëns (Déjanire and Parysatis) with few exceptions (such as the Prometheus, music by M. Gabriel Fauré, and libretto by MM. Jean Lorrain and Ferdinand Hérold). The more recent productions, at Nîmes, have not been so distinctly alive. M. Mounet-Sully acted in Œdipus there, which was preceded by a prologue from the pen of M. Maurice Magre.