06 October 2005

In my defense (Colin's response to Amy's description of Père Lachaise)

I think Amy may have made a mistake--a number of the celebrities whose tombs we visited today are significant to more people than just me. Of course, many of these people are also directly related to my dissertation (on Georges Auric's film music and criticism). So, to fill out the list:

-Daniel Auber (a key player in the 19th-century rebirth of French opera)
-Vincenzo Bellini (19th-century opera composer, see especially Norma and La Sonnambula)
-Sarah Bernhardt (the celebrated 19th-/early 20th-century opera star)
-Georges Bizet (of Carmen fame, which happens to be Amy's favorite opera)
-Maria Callas (some of my opera-fan friends think I'm crazy, but she's still the soprano for me)
-Luigi Cherubini (19th-century composer and pianist)
-Paul Dukas (yes, the one who wrote The Sorceror's Apprentice)
-George Enesco (who we stumbled across)
-Edith Piaf (the incomparable voice of the French chanson)
-Francis Poulenc (member of the famed Groupe des Six and a close friend of Auric's)
-Antoine Reicha (who we stumbled across)
-Gioacchino Rossini (composed operas like William Tell and La Cenerentola)

-Guillaume Apollinaire (among other things, one of Auric's favorite poets)
-Honoré Balzac (one of my favorite French authors, and evidently an Auric look-alike...)
-Molière and La Fontaine (need I add anything to these two names?)
-Marcel Proust (you know, I just ate my first madeleine the other night...)
-Raymond Radiguet (a close friend of Auric and Cocteau, I just finished his Le Bal du Comte d'Orgel)
-Jules Romains (playwright active in the 1920s, collaborated with Auric on Le Mariage du M. Le Trouhadec)
-Gertrude Stein (one of my other interests is the music of Virgil Thomson, who wrote two operas on libretti by Stein; evidently we missed finding Alice B. Toklas's grave in the cemetary... :(
-Emile Vuillermoz (who we stumbled across, and whose feud with Auric seems to have at last been settled...)
-Richard Wright (I still think of Native Son as one of the most engaging novels I've ever read)

-Christian Bérard (a set designer in the 1920s and 30s--definitely check out his work in René Clair's films Sous les toits de Paris and A nous la liberté)
-Eugène Délacroix (no visitor to France can miss the legacy of his Marianne)
-Marie Laurencin (painter and lithographer associated with Les Six, she did one of my favorite portraits of Auric)
-Amadeo Modigliani (painter prominent in the modernist scene in 1910s Paris)
-Camille Pissarro (one of the important Impressionists and Pointillists)

-Pierre Bourdieu (whose writings are part of the habitus I have come to enjoy at U. of Michigan)
-Boris Kochno (choreographer for the Ballets Russes, collaborated with Auric on several ballets)
-Georges Méliès (if you don't know his films, check them out!)
-Anna Comtesse de Noailles (a poet and patron of the 1920s avant-garde, including Auric on several occasions)
-Max Ophüls (post-World War II filmmaker, hired Auric for Lola Montès)

In short, if you're in Paris, don't miss the Cimitière du Père Lachaise. We only saw a small portion of the rich and famous celebrities buried there, you will undoubtedly find others to add to the above list (the map locates about 250 celebrities).

P.S. Amy's actually lucky that I decided to skip a number of tombs, such as Boieldieu, Reynaldo Hahn, and Paul Eluard!


At 6/10/05 23:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fascinating list! Unfortunately, when I read the name Balzac, the only thing I can think of is Mrs. Shinn in Music Man. (I hope this will make sense to you!)

SD Mom


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