Don César de Bazan
Don César de Bazan is a French melodrama in five acts by Dumanoir (Philippe-François Pinel, 1806-1865) and Adolphe d'Ennery (1811 – 1899).
The original text
The play was apparently a commissioned work, deriving from performances of the tragedy Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo (1802–1885) (1838), a work which had many subsequent imitators and adaptations.
In this case, a secondary character named "Don César de Bazan", played by Frédérick Lemaitre for a number of years, led to a commission for a new melodrama by that name, written to provide Lemaitre with a lead role of his own. The play was thus was written by in 1844 and produced by Frédérick Lemaître on 30 July 1844 at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin. This French adaptation was in itself also imitated or adapted over the years.
Translations and adaptations
A French opéra comique in four acts by Jules Massenet , entitled Don César de Bazan, said to be based on Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo was composed , to a French libretto by Adolphe d'Ennery, Philippe-François Pinel "Dumanoir" and Jules Chantepie, and first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 30 November 1872. (The involvement of Dumanoir and d'Ennery does suggest that the “libretto” may have in fact been their 1844 play.)
Three English versions of the French play all appeared in 1844-5:
The first was by Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett (1811-1856) and Mark Lemon (1809-1870), entitled Don Caesar de Bazan (a drama in three acts), and had its première at the Princess's Theatre, London, on October 8th, 1844. Published in London by T. H. Lacy. In 1878 the a'Beckett and Lemon version was produced as The Comedy of Don Caesar de Bazan by Edwin Booth, and published by Winter under this title.
Caesar de Bazan, or Love and Honour a drama, in three acts (or alternatively also called Don Caesar de Bazan, or Love and Honour, Don Caesar de Bazan, or The Dancing Girl from Madrid, or simply Don Caesar de Bazan) by Benjamin Webster and Dion Boucicault (1820-1890). (It is sometimes credited to Dion Boucicault only.) This premièred at The Adelphi on 14 October, 1844 and printed by W.S. Johnson.
The third English version of the story was by Charles Mathews (1803–1878) and entitled Match for a King. It was first done at the Haymarket in 1844.
An operatic version
Maritana (also known as Maritana, or Don Caesar de Bazan), a three act opera including both spoken dialogue and some recitatives, was composed by William Vincent Wallace (1812 – 1865), with a libretto by Edward Fitzball (1792–1873). The opera premiered at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 15 November 1845.
Burlesque versions of the opera
Two burlesques, both playing on the title "Maritana", were written and performed in the 19th century:
Mary Turner by William Brough was specifically written for Steele and Norton's Christy's Minstrels,
Mary Turner, or The Wicious Willin and Wictorious Wirtue by F.C. Burnand (1867)
For South African performances of the burlesques, see entries on Mary Turner.
Performance history in South Africa
1851: The Webster and Boucicault version was performed under the title Don Caesar de Bazan, or Love and Honour was performed in the Garrison Theatre by the English Amateur Company on Wednesday 3 December, with a farce, Thimble Rig (Buckstone), as afterpiece. The performance was in aid of "(S)ufferers by the Kaffir War" (i.e. the border war taking place on the eastern border of the Cape Province).
1852: The Webster and Boucicault version was performed as Don Caesar de Bazan, or Love and Honour in the Garrison Theatre by the Amateur Company on Tuesday 13 April and again on 21 April. It was one of three fundraisers done for the survivors of the troop ship Birkenhead. The Thumping Legacy (Morton) was played as afterpiece.
1857: The Webster and Boucicault version was performed as Don Caesar de Bazan by Sefton Parry and his company in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town on 5 October, with The Good for Nothing (Buckstone). Repeated on 12 October, with an unknown farce.
1857: The Webster and Boucicault version was performed as Don Caesar de Bazan by the Boscawen Amateurs (officers of H.M.S. Boscawen) in "a suitable place" in Simonstown on 29 June, with Box and Cox (Morton). The lead of "Don Caesar" was played by W.R. Jeffreys and the performances were in aid of the Free Schools. Repeated on 7 July, this time with Grimshaw, Bagshaw and Bradshaw (Morton).
1857: On 11 February 1859, while the H.M.S. Boscawen was in Table Bay, the Boscawen Amateurs (officers of H.M.S. Boscawen) put on a third performance of Don Caesar de Bazan in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, with The Rose of Amiens, or Our Wife (Morton). The officers were supported by Mrs Delmaine, Miss Delmaine and Miss Rowlands, as well as a number of local amateurs. W.R Jeffreys was the star once more, while the rest of the cast included R. Wells, C.B. Sevecke, J.R.F. Fullarton, T.A. de Waal, C.T. Layton, C.R. Smith, W.S. Brown, W.H. Maxwell and J.C. Plow.
1860: The Webster and Boucicault version (now announced as Don Caesar de Bazan, or The Dancing Girl from Madrid) was performed by Sefton Parry and his company in the Theatre Royal in Harrington Street, Cape Town, on 28 May, with Nursery Chickweed (Williams) and a Spanish dance ("La Yolta Arragonaise") by Miss Powell.
1862: The Webster and Boucicault version was performed as Don Caesar de Bazan by Mrs Clara Tellett and her company in the Theatre Royal in Harrington Street, Cape Town, on 28 November, with That Blessed Baby (Moore).
1869: Wallace and Fitzball's opera performed as Maritana, or Don Caesar de Bazan in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town by the Miranda-Harper Company on 28 September, 3 October.
1869: Act 4 of the opera Maritana performed in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town by the Miranda-Harper Company on 26 October, with acts 2 and 3 of La Somnambula (Moncrieff) and act 4 of Il Trovatore (Verdi).
1874: The Webster and Boucicault version was performed as Don Caesar de Bazan in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town by Disney Roebuck and his company, with The Laughing Hyena (Webster) on 23 and 24 February.
1875: The Webster and Boucicault version was performed as Don Caesar de Bazan in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town by Disney Roebuck and his company, with Act 5 of Richard III (Shakespeare) on 5 June.
1875: Performed as part of the repertoire of the Harvey-Turner Opera Company when it visited the goldfields in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The other works listed include Faust, Il Trovatore, The Bohemian Girl, Lobgesang and Stabat Mater.
1887: The opera Maritana performed in the Opera House Cape Town by the Searelle Opera Company, as part of their repertoire while on an 8 month tour of the country under the auspices of the Wheeler Brothers. Blanche Fenton scored a personal triumph as "Lazarillo" in the piece, and the evening also included an interlude between acts 2 and 3 (the visiting Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi (1828-1898) playing his own fantasia on "The Huguenots").
1893: The opera Maritana performed in the Opera House Cape Town by the Lyric Opera Company, as part of their repertoire while touring the country at the time.
1899: Performed and taken on a tour the South African cities and towns by the visiting Arthur Rousbey Grand English Opera Company, under the management of Frank de Jong and Herbert Flemming, appearing in Cape Town's Opera House in the second half of the year.
D.C. Boonzaier. 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)
F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. : pp. 401-3, 420
F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.59-63, 79, 91, 132, 164, 247-8, 312, 313, 324, 385, 398, 407
William Groom. 1899-1900. Drama in Cape Town. Cape Illustrated Magazine, 10(4): 478-481, 517-520, 547-552, 580-584, 640-643, 670-672, 706-708.
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