Monday, July 02, 2007

Random thoughts on Beaumarchais

One important Frenchman during the American Revolution was Pierre Auguste Caron de Beaumarchais. Playwright and arms dealer, he had the tacit support of Louis XVI to found a company to supply weapons and other provisions to the Insurgents.

To students of French literature, of course, he is best known for his comic plays, Le Barbier de Seville and Le Mariage de Figaro. These are perhaps more familiar in their operatic forms, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.

July beckons, so I won't go into a long-winded paean to Beaumarchais here. In Paris you can visit a statue of him in the Marais, or you can go hear Le Barbier de Seville in September at the Open Air Opera at Vaux-le-Vicomte.
Please bear with me here, for a huge mental leap across time zones. I have to admit that my first introduction to Beaumarchais came at a tender age, watching Bugs Bunny feud with Elmer Fudd. It made me the amateur melomane that I am today. And all the more a francophile.

If you don't remember it (or don't believe me), check out "The Rabbit of Seville". It is summertime, after all.

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