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Moments musicaux: high culture in the Paris Commune

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 May 2011


During the Paris Commune of 1871, four spectacular concerts took place at the Tuileries Palace. Although the musical genre most often associated with the Communards is popular song, these Tuileries concerts primarily featured instrumental works and operatic numbers. Indeed, during much of their short reign the Communards sought to nurture elite music, in particular through attempts to control the Paris Opéra and its repertory. This article treats the Tuileries concerts as a starting point for understanding the Commune's brief direction of the Opéra, exploring ways in which the movement's attitude towards elite music at both venues engaged with a number of its central preoccupations. It suggests that Communards, often depicted as merely destructive, were anxious to rehabilitate their reputation and legitimise their status through the appropriation of high culture.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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1 ‘Paris a des soldats et il a des chanteurs! Il a des canons et des violons!’ Villiers de L’Isle Adam, ‘Sous la Commune: Tableau de Paris’, Mercure de France, 318 (1 August 1953), 577–98, at 593. This article first appeared in May 1871 as a feuilleton in the Communard newspaper, Le Tribun du peuple, with the same title, but under the pseudonym Marius. All translations are my own unless otherwise indicated.

2 One of the best introductions to the Franco-Prussian War and Paris Commune is Alistair Horne's, The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870–71 (London, 2002)Google Scholar . On the Commune specifically, Tombs's, Robert two books, The War Against Paris 1871 (Cambridge, 1981)Google Scholar , and The Paris Commune 1871 (London, 1999)Google Scholar , are excellent.

3 A journalist and medical researcher, Regnard was responsible for helping to reorganise national theatre to impress civic virtue on the masses under the Commune; see Hutton, Patrick H., The Cult of the Revolutionary Tradition: The Blanquists in French Politics (1864–1893) (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1981), 78Google Scholar . There are conflicting reports about the number of other political figures who attended this first meeting. The Journal de la régie 1871 (see n. 8) only mentions Regnard, but both Arthur Pougin and Jules Prével suggest that Edmond Levraud, chief of the First Division of the police prefecture, and a keen violinist, was also present; see Pougin, ‘Tablettes artistiques, 1870–1871’, Le Ménestrel, 19 November 1871, 405; and Prével, Jules, ‘L’Opéra sous la Commune’, Le Figaro, 11 June 1871Google Scholar .

4 On French opera and politics, see, for example, Fulcher's, Jane, The Nation's Image: French Grand Opera as Politics and Politicized Art (Cambridge, 1987)Google Scholar ; and Spies, André Michael, Opera, State and Society in the Third Republic, 1875–1914 (New York, 1998)Google Scholar .

5 See, for example, Coulonges, Georges, La Commune en chantant (Paris, 1970)Google Scholar , and Brécy's, RobertLa Chanson de la Commune: chansons et poèmes inspirés par la Commune de 1871 (Paris, 1991)Google Scholar . Quillec's, Robert LeBibliographie critique de la Commune de Paris 1871 (Paris, 2006)Google Scholar lists sixty-two entries under ‘popular song’ and only ten under ‘music’.

6 Tyre's, Jess article ‘Music in Paris During the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune’, Journal of Musicology, 22/2 (2005), 173202CrossRefGoogle Scholar , considers the changing role of music as the political situation evolved throughout 1870–71. This is an important article, but while Tyre discusses the Tuileries concerts, he does not consider the Commune's reign at the Opéra in any depth. The ‘Postscript’ to Tunley's, DavidSalons, Singers and Songs: A Background to Romantic French Song 1830–1870 (Aldershot, 2002)Google Scholar , provides another useful overview of musical life during 1870–71. Two further articles examine the Commune's relationship with the Opéra in some detail: Cohen, Deborah, ‘Une institution musicale entre repli et implication politique: le quotidien de l'Opéra de Paris pendant la guerre de 1870 et sous la Commune’, Le Mouvement sociale, 208 (July–September 2004), 728CrossRefGoogle Scholar , which offers a sociological analysis of the Opéra during this period; and Wild, Nicole, ‘L'Opéra sous la Commune par un témoin du théâtre’, in Musique, esthétique et société au XIXe siècle, ed. Colas, Damien, Florence Gétreau and Malou Haine (Wavre, 2007), 5361Google Scholar . Both Cohen and Wild focus almost entirely on the information provided by the Journal de la régie 1871 (see n. 8). Based on extensive archival research, the present study seeks to build on the work begun by these scholars, focusing on the use of serious music, primarily at the Opéra, but also at the Tuileries, during the period of the Commune alone.

7 A number of these concerts were organised by the Fédération artistique, an independent battalion of the National Guard (the citizen militia) established in early April 1871, which provided the theatrical and musical answer to Gustave Courbet's more famous Fédération des artistes, consisting of artists, painters and engravers. The two Fédérations were often mixed up; the Fédération des artistes finally requested that its sister organisation adopt the subtitle ‘lyrique et dramatique’ in order to stop the confusion; see Le Journal officiel, 10 May 1871. The similarity of the names continues to cause problems: Jess Tyre refers only to the Fédération des artistes, and as such finds that no musicians were on the committee; see Tyre, ‘Music in Paris During the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune’, 188. On the two federations, see Hippeau, Paul, Les Fédérations artistiques sous la Commune, souvenirs de 1871 (Paris, 1890)Google Scholar , and Sanchez, Gonzalo J., Organizing Independence: The Artists’ Federation of the Paris Commune and its Legacy, 1871–1889 (Lincoln, NB, 1997).Google Scholar

8 Journal de la régie 1871, Bibliothèque-musée de l'Opéra (henceforth BMO) RE 23 (928). An abridged manuscript copy of the Journal entitled ‘Le Théâtre National de l'Opéra sous La Commune, du 1er au 22 Mai 1871’, is held in the Archives Nationales (henceforth AN), AJ13507 Part 3. The BMO holds an almost complete series of Journaux de régie from 1849 to 1983. Written by the Opéra's régisseur, these journals provide a record of all the performances and rehearsals that took place at the theatre, among other details; see Archives de L'Opéra de Paris: Inventaire sommaire (Paris, 1988), 35–42.

9 Dr Joseph Réné Etienne Narcisse Rousselle (1832–?) was in fact replaced as director general of ambulances on 4 May 1871, but continued to organise the concerts for the Commune; see the entry for ‘Rousselle’, in Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier français, ed. Jean Maitron and Madeleine Egrot, vol. 9 (Paris, 1967–71).

10 The fourth concert, held on 21 May 1871, appears not to have been organised by Rousselle; it is likely that it was organised by the Central Committee of the National Guard.

11 On Rosa Bordas, see Burion, Amédée, Rosa Bordas, sa biographie, appréciations de la presse, études littéraires, épilogue (Paris, 1870)Google Scholar .

12 ‘D’excellents collègues … me disaient bien de refuser … Comme c’était chose facile, quand l’invitation vous était faite, d’une manière toute charmante et toute gracieuse, par une douzaine de gaillards plus ou moins chamarrés de costumes divers, armés jusqu'aux dents, qui venaient à domicile vous enlever afin de les honorer de votre présence et de votre archet!…’; Dancla, Charles, Notes et souvenirs (Paris, 1893), 120Google Scholar .

13 Dancla, Notes et souvenirs, 121.

14 Thierry confirmed this, insisting that Agar had been performing on behalf of the Comédie-Française and not the Commune; Thierry, Edouard, La Comédie-Française pendant les deux sièges (1870–1871) (Paris, 1887), 452Google Scholar .

15 See Agar's letter printed in ‘Echos de Paris’, Le Gaulois, 8 April 1878; Jules Prével, ‘Courrier des Théâtres’, Le Figaro, 3 June 1872; and Mario Fenouil, ‘A propos d’une représentation: Mme Agar’, Le Gaulois, 24 October 1889. Thierry once again supported Agar's version of events; Thierry, La Comédie-Française pendant les deux sièges, 445.

16 [Anonymous], ‘Echos’, Le Figaro, 23 June 1871; and Jules Prével, ‘Le Courrier des théâtres’, Le Figaro, 3 June 1872. For the police files on Agar, see the Archives de la Préfecture de Police, B/a 927 (4362).

17 See Fenouil, ‘A propos d'une représentation: Mme Agar’.

18 ‘Si j’étais un homme, ce serait différent. Mais, hélas! Je ne suis qu’une femme.’ Agar, quoted in Clarétie, Jules, La Vie à Paris 1895 (Paris, 1896), 323Google Scholar . For an excellent study of the career consequences of the Commune for artists, see Sanchez, Organizing Independence.

19 The programme for the second Tuileries concert (11 May) is reproduced in Brécy, La Chanson de la Commune, 92. This concert once again featured an aria from Verdi's Le Bal masqué, but also included the famous duo from Auber's La Muette de Portici, and ‘Souvenirs de Rigoletto’, a violin showpiece composed and performed by Jules Danbé. See also Nel's, Charles review, ‘Concerts des Tuileries’, Journal Officiel, 12 May 1871Google Scholar .

20 For an interpretation of the inclusion of Moreau's L'Hiver on the Tuileries programme, see Tyre, ‘Music in Paris During the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune’, 193–4.

21 Bordas's performance is one of the most written about aspects of the Tuileries concerts, perhaps once again highlighting the tendency to focus on the importance of popular song to the Commune. See for example, Ross, Kristen, ‘1871. Commune Culture’, in A New History of French Literature, ed. Hollier, Denis (Cambridge, MA, 1989), 757Google Scholar ; Brécy, La Chanson de la Commune, 92; Christiansen, Rupert, Paris Babylon: Grandeur, Decadence and Revolution, 1869–1875 (London, 2003), 337Google Scholar ; and Horne, Alistair, The Terrible Year: The Paris Commune, 1871 (London, 1971), 117Google Scholar . Contemporary descriptions of Bordas's performance include: Barron, Louis, Sous le drapeau rouge (Paris, 1889), 122124Google Scholar ; Vuillaume, Maxime, Mes Cahiers rouges au temps de la Commune (Paris, 1909), 281285Google Scholar . ‘La Canaille’ (‘The Rabble’), written in 1865 by Alexis Bouvier (words) and Joseph Darcier (music), was one of the most popular songs during the Commune.

22 See Tissier, André, ‘Les Spectacles pendant la Commune’, Europe. Revue mensuelle, nos. 499–500 (1970), 179198, at 181Google Scholar . According to Gordon Wright, between 100,000 and 140,000 Parisians had left the city following the armistice in January 1871; roughly 600,000 fled at the start of the Paris Commune, so that a total of about 700,000 Parisians were absent during this period; see Wright, , ‘The Anti-Commune: Paris, 1871’, French Historical Studies, 10/1 (1977), 149172CrossRefGoogle Scholar , at 150.

23 See Lissagaray, Prosper-Olivier, Histoire de la Commune de 1871 (Paris, 1876; rpt. Paris, 2004), 302Google Scholar .

24 Descriptions of Rosa Bordas performing at the Tuileries concerts suggest that she was dressed in a flowing robe with a red sash, her long hair loose, and, in the tradition of goddesses of Liberty, her bosom half-exposed; see Barron, Sous le drapeau rouge, 122–3. This description matches the illustration of the performer in Figure 2.

25 This engraving also appeared under the title ‘The French Siege of Paris: Concert for the Wounded at the Tuileries’, in the Illustrated London News, 20 May 1871. Another engraving of the same scene, this time by Vierge, was published in Le Monde illustré, 13 May 1871. For a description of Vierge's engraving, see Tyre, ‘Music in Paris During the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune’, 190.

26 Robert Tombs suggests that workers attending the concerts would probably have been unfamiliar with the more serious music, but that many of the Commune members ‘were serious autodidacts who thought that the ignorant should be instructed and motivated’; Tombs, Paris Commune, 102. While it does seem likely that working-class audiences might have been less familiar with the music than regular bourgeois concert-goers, it is, however, hard to know just how unfamiliar the music would have been. Jann Pasler, for example, has pointed out that while lower classes had little access to staged operatic works, they would have had some access to opera through transcriptions; Pasler, , ‘Material Culture and Postmodern Positivism: Rethinking the “Popular” in Late-Nineteenth-Century French Music’, in Historical Musicology: Sources, Methods, Interpretations, ed. Marvin, Roberta Montemorra, Marissen, Michael and Crist, Stephen A. (Rochester, 2004), 356387Google Scholar .

27 Hans, Ludovic, Second siège de Paris: Le Comité central et la Commune, journal anecdotique (Paris, 1871), 167Google Scholar .

28 See, for example, Alfred Ixel, ‘Le Concert des Tuileries’, Le National, 9 May 1871.

29 Hans, Second siège de Paris, 167.

30 According to one report, each of the three rooms advertised for this concert was to house an orchestra appropriate for its size; the same soloists were to appear successively in each room: ‘ainsi veut l'égalité’; [Anonymous], ‘Les Concerts du Tuileries’, Paris-Journal, 14 May 1871Google Scholar .

31 See Nel, Charles, ‘Représentations de bienfaisance données sous le patronage des membres de la Commune’, Le Journal officiel, 20 May 1871Google Scholar .

32 A brief review of this concert can be found in Lepelletier, Edmond, ‘Paris’, Le Tribun du peuple, 23 May 1871Google Scholar .

33 ‘Citoyens, M. Thiers avait promis d'entrer hier dans Paris; M. Thiers n'est pas entré; il n'entrera pas. Je vous convie pour dimanche prochain, ici à la même place, à notre second concert au profit des veuves et des orphelins’; quoted in Lissagaray, Histoire de la Commune de 1871, 309–10. Although this announcement was made at the end of the fourth Commune concert in the Tuileries, it was only the first concert for the new organisers (see n. 10). It is likely that this is why the speaker invited audiences to the ‘second concert’, due to take place the following week.

34 1793 is significant as the year in which Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were executed, the Committee of Public Safety was created, the Revolutionary Calendar was introduced, and the Festival of Reason was held in Notre-Dame.

35 The Commune was not, of course, alone in looking to the past to help define its identity and seek legitimation for its actions; rather, as Robert Gildea has shown, this was a common feature of French political groups throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; Gildea, , The Past in French History (New Haven, 1994)Google Scholar . See also Pierre Nora (dir.), Realms of Memory: The Construction of the French Past, 3 vols., ed. Lawrence D. Kritzman, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (New York, 1996–8).

36 The Committee of Public Safety (Comité de Salut Public), a five-member executive, was instituted by the Communal Council on 1 May 1871. On 3 April 1871, hundreds of women assembled on the Place de la Concorde to march on the government at Versailles, inspired by the actions of a group of women and National Guards who put an end to the monarchy's flight in October 1789; see Johnson, Martin P., ‘Memory and the Cult of Revolution in the 1871 Paris Commune’, Journal of Women's History, 9/1 (1997), 3957, at 39CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

37 ‘Nous n'avons plus de révolutions, mais bien des parodies de révolution!’ Bizet, Georges, Lettres de Georges Bizet: Impressions de Rome (1857–1860); La Commune (1871) (Paris, 1907), 285Google Scholar .

38 Marx, Karl, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, trans. from the German, (Moscow, 1954), 10Google Scholar .

39 ‘Allons aux spectacles que Paris n'a pas vus depuis 1793’; Lissagaray, Histoire de la Commune de 1871, 301. The prices to attend the Tuileries concerts even went up from 1fr50 and 3fr for the first concert to 2fr and 5fr for the second.

40 The Communard fixation with the past involved not only borrowing from '93, but also negating the history of the intervening years through the destruction of Orleanist and Napoleonic imagery. Perhaps the most famous example of this was the Communard destruction of the Vendôme Column on 16 May 1871; for an insightful analysis of this event, see Matsuda, Matt K., The Memory of the Modern (Oxford, 1996), 1938Google Scholar . A similar attempt at historical erasure lay behind the return to the Republican calendar; see Edwards, Stewart, The Paris Commune 1871 (London, 1971), 300Google Scholar .

41 See Johannès Weber, ‘La Musique sous le régime Communaliste’, Le Temps, 23 June 1871.

42 For more on the literary stereotypes surrounding the Commune, see Lidsky, Paul, Les Écrivains contre la Commune (Paris, 1999), 97121Google Scholar .

43 Gautier, Théophile, ‘Paris-Capitale’, La Gazette de Paris, 5 October 1871Google Scholar .

44 ‘La foule est grande, diverse, parée de tous ses atours, contente et calme: elle a le triomphe modeste et digne. En toute sorte de formes et de couleurs, elle se presse aux abords du guichet de l'Horloge, dont les portes béantes laissent le lustre étincelant du vestibule darder ses gerbes de feu sur l'allée de sable. Sous cette lumière ruisselante s'accusent les étranges disparates fraternellement mêlés. Il y a des chapeaux à plumes, des bonnets à rubans, des châles à carreaux, des cachemires, des robes de soie, des jupes d'indienne, des flots de mousseline blanche, de floconneuses sorties de bal. Il y a des visages ridés et couperosés de vieilles prolétaires toutes voûtées, des figures blanches et grasses de bourgeoises bien nourries, de jolis minois de rieuses jeunes filles. Il y a des curieux de toutes les fortunes, sinon de toutes les classes. Et tout ce monde, impressionné par le nouveau, le grandiose de l'aventure, s'avance sans impatience, sans bousculade, presque avec majesté, une majesté gaie. Chacun entend montrer qu'il mérite l'honneur qu'il se fait. Le bonnet à rubans n'est pas moins aristocrate que le chapeau à plumes. Le tartan à carreaux est aussi bien élevé que le cachemire, et pour les bonnes manières, la robe de soie n'a rien à reprocher à la jupe à l'indienne. Et ce sont de l'un à l'autre, à tout propos, des salutations, des révérences, des excuses, des politesses … Ah! Citoyenne! … Ah! citoyen…’; Barron, Sous le drapeau rouge, 115–16.

45 ‘Ce palais, souillé par les orgies de la royauté et de l'empire, a été purifié par la présence du peuple’; Rousselle, letter published in Le Mot d'ordre, 20 floréal, an 79.

46 Catulle Mendès, Les 73 journées de la Commune (Paris, 1871), 285–6. What appears to be an unacknowledged translation of Mendès's description of the concert appears in Leighton, John, Paris Under the Commune: Or, the seventy-three Days of the Second Siege (London, 1871), 299301Google Scholar .

47 Mendès, Les 73 journées de la Commune, 286.

48 Labarthe, Gustave, Le Théâtre pendant les jours du siège et de la Commune (juillet 1870 à juin 1871) (Paris, 1910), 113Google Scholar .

49 ‘Le grand répertoire n'était guère à la portée de ce public, bon tout au plus à voir jouer le mélodrame ou à écouter la romance sentimentale de café-concert. / Tous ces généraux, officiers aux uniformes chamarrés, faisaient néanmoins bonne contenance, tout en bâillant sous cape’; Labarthe, Le Théâtre pendant les jours du siège et de la Commune, 113–14.

50 ‘Ernest Coquelin est allé, hier soir [6 May] aux Tuileries avec Mme Agar. Foule immense. Bruit et désordre à proportion. Il n'a pas dit de vers. Mme Agar a commencé, mais elle s'est arrêtée tout de suite, ne pouvant pas continuer. On parlait, on criait, on chantait la Marseillaise dans les galeries voisines’; Thierry, La Commune pendant les deux sièges (1870–1871), 434.

51 [Anonymous],‘The French Siege of Paris’, Illustrated London News, 20 May 1871Google Scholar .

52 Henry George Farmer, ‘The Intellectual Life of the Paris Commune – (continued) III’, 15/9 (September 1911), The Social Democrat, 390–402, at 394.

53 The mixture of popular and more serious music appears, unsurprisingly, to be a common tactic by authorities wishing to educate the public. Lynn Hunt writes about this strategy with regard to the revolutionary fêtes in Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2004), 63; Jann Pasler discusses Third Republic attempts to promote art music by devising concerts that would balance the ‘popular’ (to draw in the crowds), with the ‘serious’ (to develop audience tastes); Pasler, ‘Material Culture and Postmodern Positivism’, 356.

54 I am influenced here by Bourdieu, Pierre, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Nice, Richard (London, 1984)Google Scholar .

55 ‘Mais messieurs de la Commune … se souvinrent un jour qu'il existait, rue Le Peletier, un monument assez vaste dans lequel on avait fait parfois d'assez bonne musique.’ Pougin, ‘Tablettes artistiques, 1870–1871’, Le Ménestrel, 19 November 1871, 405.

56 See Albert Regnard's speech to the personnel of the Opéra on 1 May, reproduced in the Journal de la régie 1871. On Duval as a general, see the entry in Noël, Bernard, Dictionnaire de la Commune (Paris, 2001)Google Scholar ; on Duval as ticket-touter, see Prével, Jules, ‘L'Opéra sous la Commune’, Le Figaro, 11 June 1871.Google Scholar

57 The exodus increased from the start of April when it was announced that any able-bodied citizen who did not enrol in the National Guard would be disarmed and arrested; see de Goncourt, Edmond, Paris Under Siege, 1870–1871: From the Goncourt Journal, ed. and trans. Becker, George J. (Ithaca, 1969), 246Google Scholar .

58 See the Journal de la régie 1871, 3 May.

59 See the Journal de la régie 1871, 8 May. According to Jules Prével, the recruitment drive attracted not only musicians from the main theatres, but also vielle players, accordionists and an organ grinder; see Prével, ‘L'Opéra sous la Commune’, Le Figaro, 11 June 1871.

60 On exemption from the National Guard, see AN AJ13 445 Part 3 i; and the Journal de la régie 1871, 12 May.

61 See the Journal de la régie 1871, 15 May.

62 Le Journal officiel, 9 May 1871. As Regnard explained to the staff of the Opéra, all such appointments were provisional, but he insisted that Garnier nevertheless had complete authority over the Opéra's personnel; Journal de la régie 1871, 12 May.

63 Morel, Henry, Le Pillori des communeux (Paris, 1871), 40Google Scholar .

64 ‘De tous les sinistres coquins et ambitieux grotesques qui, pendant deux mois, se sont partagé les bonnes places et les hautes fonctions de la ville de Paris, il en est un qui a passé comme une ombre, dont on ignore la fin et qui, à lui tout seul, est plus comique que tous les autres réunis n'étaient hideux. / Je veux parler du nommé Garnier, ce fruit sec du cabotinage, qui promena naguère dans les départements le talent vieilli et la voix usée de Mme Ugalde et dont la commune, un jour qu'elle était en train de rire, fit le directeur de l'Opéra. / – Garnier, qui? Garnier, quoi? Garnier, qu'est-ce? Se demandait-on de toutes parts. / Et personne ne trouva de réponse’; Gringoire, ‘Et Garnier?’, Le Grelot, 4 June 1871.

65 A. von Ende, ‘A Concert During the Commune’, Music: A Monthly Magazine, 3 (November 1894–April 1895), 366–70, at 368.

66 See Garnier's letter to the staff of the Opéra in AN AJ13 445 Part 1 vii. Jules Prével reproduced this letter in his ninth instalment of ‘L'Opéra sous la Commune’, Le Figaro, 17 June 1871.

67 See the entry for ‘Garnier’, in Joan Maitron and Madeleine Egrot (eds.), Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier français, vol. 6 (Paris, 1969). Garnier appears to have returned relatively quickly to Paris, despite the sentence hanging over him; see the entry on Garnier in Lyonnet, Henry, Dictionnaire des comédiens Français (ceux d'hier): Biographie, Bibliographie, Iconographie, 2 vols. (Geneva, 1912)Google Scholar .

68 Gringoire, ‘Et Garnier?’, Le Grelot, 4 June 1871.

69 Ugalde created the travesti title role of Gil Blas at the Bouffes Parisiens in 1860. The serenade was widely recognised as the finest number in the opera, and was apparently regularly heard emanating from barrel organs for the next few years; see de Lasalle, Albert, Mémorial du Théâtre-Lyrique (Paris, 1877), 52Google Scholar .

70 Although ‘Le Petit cousin’ is a fictional song, Ugalde was known as a composer as well as a singer and theatre director. In 1867, her one-act opéra comique, Une halte au moulin, was premiered at the Bouffes Parisiens, starring not only Ugalde herself (who was also running the theatre at this time), but her brother, and her cousin, Garnier. Aside from two other operettas, Ugalde also wrote a number of mélodies; see Jules Clarétie, ‘Une grande cantatrice d'hier: Delphine Ugalde’, Le Temps, 22 July 1910.

71 The creation of a commission to look after the interests of music and musicians was proclaimed as part of the decree that announced Garnier's appointment as Director; Le Journal officiel, 9 May 1871. The other members of the commission were Frédéric Cournet, Albert Regnard, Paul Frédéric Lefebvre-Roncier and Edmond Levraud.

72 For more on Selmer's work, see Grinde, Nils, A History of Norwegian Music, trans. Halverson, William H. and Sateren, Leland B. (Lincoln, NB, 1991)Google Scholar .

73 ‘Obituary’, Musical Times, 51 (1910), 595.

74 There appears to be some confusion over the exact role that Pugno played in the Commune: Pougin suggests that Pugno was the director of music at the Opéra, see ‘Tablettes artistiques 1870–1871’, Le Ménestrel, 19 November 1871, 406; Philippe Morant, in his entry on Pugno in Joël-Marie Fauquet's, Dictionnaire de la musique en France au XIXe siècle (Paris, 2003)Google Scholar , 1022, claims that Pugno was the director of the Opéra, as does Le Gaulois in a short article under the title ‘Echos de partout’, 5 January 1914. The article ‘Raoul Pugno est mort’, La Presse, 4 January 1914, suggested that Pugno had been made Director of the Conservatoire, but this post was occupied by Salvador Daniel, not Pugno. Archival sources merely confirm that Pugno was on the aforementioned committee to look after the interests of music and musicians, and that he helped to organise the Commune's planned concert at the Opéra; see AN AJ13 445 Part 1 viii and the Journal de la régie 1871, 1, 8, 10, 12 and 16 May.

75 Pugno's father's letter was printed in Le Figaro, 3 June 1871. A similar account is given by Ginisty, Paul, Paris intime en révolution, 1871 (Paris, 1904), 7374Google Scholar . According to Hugues Imbert, the Communard officer who refused Pugno his laissez-passer was not Théophile Ferré, as in Ginisty's version, but Edmond Levraud, who was soon to become a member, with Pugno, of the commission to look after the interests of music: Levraud's sister was apparently one of Pugno's students; see Imbert, , Médaillons contemporains (Paris, 1903), 368Google Scholar .

76 See [Anonymous], ‘Echos de Paris’, Le Gaulois, 5 January 1914; and M. Rémusat, ‘Raoul Pugno pendant la Commune’, Le Gaulois, 10 January 1914. Von Ende suggests that Pugno was General Eudes’ wife's protégé; see von Ende, ‘A Concert During the Commune’, 367.

77 See AN AJ13 445 Part 1 viii.

78 See the Journal de la régie 1871, 12 May.

79 On Pugno's imprisonment and the letters of denunciation he received, see Spycket, Jerôme, A la recherche de Lili Boulanger: essai biographique (Paris, 2004), 5758Google Scholar ; and Imbert, Médaillons contemporains, 369.

80 Some newspapers were more convinced than others of Pugno's involvement: Musica (n.d.), for example, published the line: ‘Pugno révolutionnaire, Pugno communard! Cette histoire est trop ridicule pour être contée’; see BMO Dossier d'artiste: Raoul PUGNO. Le Gaulois, on the other hand, did not question Pugno's role in the Commune; see M. Réusat, ‘Raoul Pugno pendant la Commune’, Le Gaulois, 10 January 1914. Of the other musicians involved in the Opéra concert, the tenor Jules Michot also ran into difficulties: at the end of the Commune he was arrested and imprisoned in the Orangerie at Versailles. Although he was released, his colleagues at the Opéra refused to perform with him; he moved to Marseilles, but was met with whistling audiences: see [Anonymous], ‘Nécrologie’, Le Guide musical, 26 April 1896; Combarnous, Victor, L'Histoire du Grand-Théâtre de Marseille: 31 octobre 1787 – 13 novembre 1919 (Marseille, 1927), 129Google Scholar .

81 On the seemingly uneven distribution of reprobation delivered to performers who took part in the Commune, see d'Heylli, Georges, ‘La Comédie-Française pendant le siège et la Commune’, Le Correspondant, 138 (1885), 496511Google Scholar . Ugalde's involvement with the Commune was not as disastrous for her later career as might have been expected: by December 1871 she was starring in Javotte at the Théâtre-Lyrique de l'Athénée, and, following a number of provincial tours, she took back directorship of the Bouffes Parisiens in 1885. See the entries on Ugalde in Lyonnet, Dictionnaire des comédiens Français (ceux d'hier); and François-Joseph Fétis, , Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique, 8 vols. (Paris, 1860–65)Google Scholar , Supplément et complément, ed. Arthur Pougin, 2 vols. (1878–80). These biographies do not mention the Commune. Adolphe Julien's biographical sketch of Ugalde does briefly refer to the Commune, but suggests that she only agreed to take part in the Opéra concert because it was in aid of victims of the war; see Julien, , ‘Delphine Ugalde’, La Revue musicale, 10/15–16 (1910), 388390Google Scholar .

82 Journal de la régie 1871, 12 May.

83 For more on the Société des artistes de l'Opéra, see Mordey, D. M., ‘Music in Paris, 1870–71’, Ph.D. diss. (University of Cambridge, 2007), 3549, 6774Google Scholar . Elisabeth Bernard also writes about this organisation under the title ‘Société des concerts de l'Opéra’, in Fauquet, Dictionnaire de la musique en France au XIXe siècle, 1159–60. It was originally hoped that the ballet corps at the Opéra would benefit from the proceeds of the concerts, but takings were not high enough; see Gustave Lafargue, ‘Opéra’, Le Figaro, 19 December 1870; and AN AJ13 445 Part 1 iv.

84 See AN AJ13 445 Part 1 ii, ‘Société des artistes: lettres et arrêtés ministériels’. See also Mordey, Music in Paris, 1870–71, 36–50.

85 ‘Je me propose d'inaugurer sur des bases nouvelles, qui réaliseront peut-être le rêve que nous tous artistes, avons si inutilement caressé, celui de travailler un peu pour nous, au lieu d'user notre vie et notre talent à faire la fortune des Directeurs’; Journal de la régie 1871, 12 May. Garnier's speech was also printed in Le Journal Officiel, 13 May 1871.

86 ‘Quels que puissent être les évènements, nous serons toujours fiers d'avoir à l'aide de vos délégués fondés sur des bases solides et fructueuses l'association des artistes de l'Opéra’; Journal de la régie 1871, 12 May.

87 Bourgin, Georges and Henriot, Gabriel (eds.), Procès-verbaux de la Commune de 1871: édition critique, II Mai 1871 (Paris, 1945), 427Google Scholar .

88 See Bourgin and Henriot, II, 410–33.

89 See Bourgin and Henriot, II, 438.

90 As a member of the education delegation, Salvador Daniel placed an announcement in Le Journal officiel, 20 May 1871, requesting that all artists attached to the theatres of the Opéra, Opéra-Comique and Théâtre-Lyrique, whether soloists, members of the chorus, orchestra, administration or dancers, meet at the Conservatoire on 23 May to discuss moving from the exploitative system of director-led theatres to theatres run by artist associations.

91 Ross, Kristen, The Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune (Minneapolis, 1988), 5CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

92 ‘Le Théâtre national de l'Opéra … pourrait renouveler les belles représentations qui furent données en 1793’; Journal de la régie 1871, 30 April.

93 Colleuille states that the ticket prices were to be the same as for the siege concerts given by the Société des artistes de l'Opéra (see Journal de la régie 1871, 20 May). The ticket prices for these concerts may be found in AN AJ13 445 Part 2 ii.

94 As Pasler has noted, ‘We know that people at the time looked to opera and opera singers to confer distinction on their consumption in part because of opera's traditional association with elites’; Pasler, ‘Material Culture and Postmodern Positivism’, 356.

95 See the Journal de la régie 1871, 30 April.

96 The concert was originally planned for Saturday 20 May, but as late as 19 May it was decided to postpone it until 22 May, following problems in rehearsal; see the Journal de la régie 1871, 17, 18 and 19 May. Tyre claims that a reprint of the poster for the concert in Em. Mathieu de Monter's ‘Revue rétrospective: janvier 1870–octobre 1871’, Revue et Gazette musicale, 1 October 1870, incorrectly bears the date Monday 22 May 1871; he argues that it should instead read 21 May, the day of the Versailles invasion; see Tyre, ‘Music in Paris During the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune’, 194. However, Monter is correct: the only two dates mentioned for the concert in the archives are 20 and 22 May; the original posters held in the Archives Nationales verify this; see the Journal de la régie 1871 and AN AJ13 445 Part 3 ii.

97 Farmer, ‘The Intellectual Life of the Paris Commune – (continued) III’, 399.

98 See Farmer, 402.

99 This was Johan Selmer's first orchestral work. It appears to have been premiered on 30 September 1871 in his home country, by the Christiania Theaters orchestra, under Johan Edvard Heennum. It was finally published in 1890 by Warmuth as Scène Funèbre pour orchestre (l'année terrible 1870–71) op. 4, with a note from the composer explaining the inspiration behind the work, and a prologue, consisting of fragments of Victor Hugo's poem of the same name.

100 Litolff was a member of the Commission for drawing up the federation's statutes; see ‘Fédération artistiqe’, Le Journal officiel, 30 April 1871. Le Chevalier de Nahel, ou La gageure du diable, a drame lyrique in three acts with a libretto by Edouard Plouvier, was premiered in Baden-Baden in 1863.

101 The Tuileries poster announced that Mlle Morio was from the Théâtre-Italien; the Opéra poster hailed her as from La Scala (Milan), where she had been appointed in 1865 to sing the role of Sélika in L'Africaine. Morio had performed the same scene from Nahel only the year before in a concert of Litolff's music at the Salle Herz, organised and conducted by the composer himself; see Revue et gazette musicale, 6 February 1870, 44. It seems likely that it was a combination of Morio's availability and willingness to perform, and Litolff's pro-Commune sympathies, which resulted in the programming of Nahel at the Opéra.

102 See Clément, Jean-Baptiste, Chansons de Jean-Baptiste Clément (Paris, 1887), 179181Google Scholar . Clément is chiefly known for having written the words for ‘Le Temps des cerises’, one of the popular songs most closely associated with the Commune.

103 See Tiersot, Julien, ‘Victor Hugo musicien’, La Revue musicale, 159 (1935), 167196Google Scholar .

104 It is clear from the Opéra records that Garnier intended to use both scenery and costumes for the concert, unlike the performances during the siege of Paris: the scene from Nahel, and L'Hymne aux immortels were to employ costumes from Freischütz, and the Hymne was to be performed against the backdrop of the salon from Act III of La Muette de Portici; the trio from Guillaume Tell, Alliance des peuples and Vive la liberté were all to feature scenery from Act III, scene 2 of Don Giovanni. See the Journal de la régie 1871, 21 May.

105 Tyre has noted that the absence of German symphonic music from the Tuileries and Opéra concerts suggests ‘a conscious decision by the Commune to dismiss the symphonic art of the enemy’, which had been so popular before the Commune, and would continue to be afterwards; Tyre, , ‘The Reception of German Instrumental Music in France, 1870–1914’ (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 2000, 85Google Scholar . As an example of the popularity of German symphonic music before and after the Commune, Tyre cites concerts given by Pasdeloup's Concerts Populaires and the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, 197–8. I am not entirely convinced by Tyre's interpretation. Neither of these concert societies performed during the Commune – Pasdeloup appears to have left Paris during this period, and the Société des Concerts had barely performed at all since the outbreak of war in 1870. Given that the two foremost interpreters of German symphonic music were not functioning, it is hardly surprising that such works should have been largely absent from Commune programmes. Furthermore, the tight schedule on which the performers were working would have made it very difficult to rehearse symphonic works adequately. A further, perhaps more obvious, reason for arguing that the Commune was not deliberately snubbing German music is the fact that the Opéra planned to perform works by Weber and (what they thought to be) by Beethoven.

106 See the Journal de la régie 1871, 12–21 May. According to Pougin, Garnier had initially wanted to stage La Muette de Portici, but pressure to mount a performance quickly meant that there was no time to prepare Auber's opera and so a mixed concert programme was chosen instead; see Pougin, , ‘Tablettes artistiques 1870–1871’, Le Ménestrel, 26 November 1871, 414Google Scholar .

107 See the Journal de la régie 1871, 12 and 14 May; a draft programme for the Commune concert at the Opéra may be found in AN AJ13 445 Part 1 ix. It is also possible that Pugno planned to perform the first act of Gluck's Armide; see ‘Echos de Partout’, Le Gaulois, 5 January 1914; and [Anonymous], ‘L’ “Armide” en 1870’, Le Guide Musical, 16 April 1905, 318–20.

108 Journal de la régie 1871, 14 May.

109 Journal de la régie 1871, 20 May.

110 See Vandam, Albert, An Englishman in Paris: Notes and Recollections, vol. 2, The Empire (London, 1892), 348Google Scholar .

111 I have discussed post-war criticism of Second Empire culture in more detail in ‘Auber's Horses: L'Année terrible and Apocalyptic Narratives’, 19th-Century Music, 30 (Spring 2007), 213–29.

112 For further discussion of Communard attitudes towards Offenbach, see Tyre, ‘Music in Paris During the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune’, 197.

113 ‘Mozart, Meyerbeer, les grandes œuvres de l'art ont chassé les obscénités musicales de l'Empire’. Lissagaray, Histoire de la Commune de 1871, 301.

114Rigoletto, Guillaume Tell, Le Prophète plaisent au peuple; il laisse à ses souverains les charmes de La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein. Point de quadrilles, ni de ba-ta-clan. Ceci, voyez-vous, c'est l'art vrai.’ Henry Maret, ‘Les Concerts des Tuileries’, La Commune, 14 May 1871.

115 The anti-Communard press did of course offer a different side to the story, suggesting that the Commune had turned the Tuileries into a branch of the Eldorado and of the Ba-ta-clan; see Choury, Maurice, Le Paris Communard (Paris, 1970), 160Google Scholar .

116 Tyre, ‘Music in Paris During the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune’, 196–7.

117 The Communard adoption of aspects of bourgeois lifestyles is reflected in numerous ways, including their interest in photography. Aside from the desire to capture the moment (see below), the members of the Commune, by embracing photography, were embracing a medium that had hitherto been the preserve of the bourgeoisie; see Przyblyski, Jeannene M., ‘Revolution at a Standstill: Photography and the Paris Commune of 1871’, Yale French Studies, 101 (2001), 5478CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

118 ‘La flamme ronflait comme une basse continue, qu'entrecoupaient de temps à autre des crépitements secs. La clarté devint si vive, que la terrasse en fut tout illuminée; effroyable apothéose … Le quadrille d'Orphée aux Enfers ne faisait plus rugir ses cuivres sous les lustres de l'Opéra; il n'y avait plus que la sarabande des pétroleuses autour des décombres, piétinant les lambeaux splendides de cette gloire éclatante et galante: Le second Empire’; Colombier, Marie, Mémoires. Fin d'Empire (Paris, 1898), 319320Google Scholar .

119 Some of the fires were almost certainly started by the Versaillais who were shelling the city; others were intentionally caused by Communards, though not as the result of any centralized decision. See Tombs, The Paris Commune, 168.

120 For Garnier's explanation of how he saved the Opéra, see his letter to the theatre's employees in AN AJ13 445 Part 1 vii. For Colleuille's view, see Journal de la régie 1871, 22 May.

121 On theatricality and the French Revolution, see, for example, Friedland, Paul, Political Actors: Representative Bodies and Theatricality in the Age of the French Revolution (Ithaca, 2002)Google Scholar ; Ravel, Jeffrey, The Contested Parterre: Public Theatre and French Political Culture: 1680–1791 (Ithaca, 1999)Google Scholar ; Maslan, Susan, Revolutionary Acts: Theater, Democracy, and the French Revolution (Baltimore, 2005)Google Scholar ; and Huet, Marie Hélène, Rehearsing the Revolution: The Staging of Marat's Death, 1793–1797, trans. Hurley, Robert (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1982)Google Scholar .

122 Although it is to theatre that the Commune is most often compared, Communards were also sometimes thought to be influenced by historical fiction, including the works of Alexandre Dumas; see Hallays-Dabot, Victor, La Censure dramatique et le théâtre: Histoire des vingt dernières années 1850–1870 (Paris, 1871), 55Google Scholar . Whether referring to theatre or literature, the implication is always the same: that Parisians cannot tell the difference between reality and fiction.

123 Nass, Lucien, Essais de pathologie historique: Le Siège de Paris et la Commune (Paris, 1914), 196Google Scholar . See also Philibert Audebrand, quoted in Nass, Essais de pathologie historique, 196.

124 Johnson, ‘Memory and the Cult of Revolution’, 44.

125 See, for example, Maillard, Firmin, Histoire des Journaux publiés à Paris pendant le siège et sous la Commune (Paris, 1871), 176177Google Scholar ; and Johnson, ‘Memory and the Cult of Revolution’, 44.

126 ‘La beauté, – une beauté infernale –, ne manquait point à ces terreurs. / Se colorant de teintes diverses, selon les aliments qu'on lui jetait en pâture, le feu prenait par intervalles, les tons fantastiques que les chimistes de l'Opéra excellent à donner à leurs apothéoses de la fin’; Enault, Louis, Paris brûlé par la Commune (Paris, 1871), 5Google Scholar .

127 Francisque Sarcey, ‘Ruines de Paris’, Le Drapeau Tricolore, 6 (10 juin 1871), 17.

128 ‘… les acteurs de ce grand drame militaire de la Commune, glorieux de leur rôle, le jouent en artistes convaincus … L'action s'enchaîne, se complique, se resserre, les scènes se pressent, les tableaux se déroulent. Le dénouement s'annonce … Comment imaginer qu'une pièce si diverse, mais si amusante, puisse jamais tourner au tragique?’ Barron, Sous le drapeau rouge, 86–7.

129 See, for example, Samuels, Maurice, The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca, 2004), 34 and 3540Google Scholar . See also Koselleck, Reinhart, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, trans. Tribe, Keith (Cambridge, MA, 1985)Google Scholar ; and Koselleck, , The Practice of Conceptual History: Timing History, Spacing Concepts, trans. Presner, Todd Samuel et al. (Stanford, 2002)Google Scholar .

130 See Samuels, Spectacular Past, 35.

131 See also Vanessa Schwartz for an account of how popular entertainment in the 1880s and 90s, particularly waxwork museums, by featuring current events, ‘offered a sort of “instant and living history” that not only emphasized the ephemeral but also seemed to extend the duration of the past’; Schwartz, , Spectacular Realities: Early Mass Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Paris (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1998), 137Google Scholar .

132 Farmer, ‘The Intellectual Life of the Paris Commune – (continued) III’, 394.

133 Ozouf, Mona, Festivals and the French Revolution, trans. Sheridan, Alan (Cambridge, MA, 1988), 11Google Scholar .

134 Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, cited and translated by Edwards, Stewart, The Communards of Paris, 1871 (London, 1973), 142Google Scholar .

135 See Tombs, Paris Commune, 163.

136 For more on the problems faced by the Commune, see Tombs, Paris Commune, 151–83.

137 Barron, Sous le drapeau rouge, 86, 83.

138 Whilst it would be wrong to underestimate the dark side of the Commune – the terror it inspired, the chaos, mistrust and murders – for many it represented a much better way of life; see Horne, Fall of Paris, 305.

139 Przyblyski, Jeannene M., ‘Moving Pictures: Photography, Narrative, and the Paris Commune of 1871’, in Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life, ed. Charney, Leo and Schwartz, Vanessa R. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1995), 253278, at 253254Google Scholar .

140 Barron's Sous le drapeau rouge, and Villiers de L'Isle Adam's ‘Sous la Commune: Tableau de Paris’, both describe the festive nature of the city during the Commune.

141 Lefebvre, Henri, La Proclamation de la Commune: 26 mars 1871 (Paris, 1965), 2021Google Scholar . For an interesting recent engagement with Lefebvre's work on the Commune, see Starr, Peter, Commemorating Trauma: The Paris Commune and its Cultural Aftermath (New York, 2006), 2632CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

142 Terry Eagleton, foreword to Ross, The Emergence of Social Space, ix.

143 Bakhtin, Mikhail, Rabelais and His World, trans. Iswolsky, Hélène (Bloomington, 1984), 15Google Scholar .

144 See Gallet, Louis, Guerre et Commune: Impressions d'un hospitalier 1870–1871 (Paris, 1898), 313316.Google Scholar

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