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Paris Opera - Danse - 4 cdv, 1860s

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scans of two pairs of cdv documenting Paris Opera dancers during the 1860s:

the first pair shows Louise Marquet and Aline [Dorsé], a mime.

the second, Pauline Mercier and Giuseppina Bossi

the following information is that of the previous owner who is a scrupulous collector of photography and a careful investigator of dance history; incidentally, the emphasis given the last line of the note for Aline is mine, the character of Frantz's mother in COPPELIA was previously unfamiliar to me. Additionally it's perhaps worth noting, again, that Madge in Filippo Taglioni's LA SYLPHIDE was taken by both male and female mimes from the start, likewise I wonder if Aline ever performed in either F. Taglioni's or Titus's La Laitière suisse, as she seems to be holding a jug and a glass of milk in her hands:


Aline [Dorsé] (mime, 1861), who performed at the Paris Opera in various ballets and played the role of Madge in the 1858 revival of La Sylphide; the role of Jacinta, "the oldest member of the troupe, "in L'Étoile de Messine in 1861); the role of Berthe in Giselle in 1863 (with Muravieva as Giselle); the role of Frantz's mother, Nettchen, in Coppélia in 1870.

Louise Marquet, stating that her "career as a dancer at the Opéra covered a period of nearly forty years. Her first contract, entitling her to a salary of 200 francs a year, commenced on January 8th, 1841; she made her debut as a sujet in 1851 playing Fenella in La Muette de Portici; and retired in 1879, shortly after creating the role of the Princess in Merante's Yedda. After leaving the Opéra, she took over the deportment class at the Conservatoire, and later became maîtresse de ballet at the Opéra-Comique." Among her roles she played that of the Black Fairy in the October 8, 1849 premiere of La Filleule des fées, which starred Carlotta Grisi in the lead role of Ysaure. In December 1852 Marquet played one of the Seven Vices in Orfa; in the spring of 1853 she danced the role of the High Priestess in Aelia et Mysis; in August 1856 she was the Princess Bathilde in Les Elfes; and in 1860 she danced the role of the wicked fairy Hamza in Marie Taglioni's Le Papillon. In 1863, the year this particular carte-de-visite was made, she attended the funeral of her friend and fellow dancer Emma Livry. In the 1863 revival of Giselle, Marquet enjoyed the role of Bathilde.

Pauline Mercier. "Mlle. Mercier," as she was known, was a dancer with the Paris Opéra in the mid-19th century. She is described by Ivor Guest, in The Ballet of the Second Empire (p. 18), as "blonde, very pretty, and inclined to be buxom, qualities which greatly attracted the discerning Vicomte Paul Daru, whose mistress she was for a number of years. She stirred the Goncourt brothers too, who noticed her one evening at the Opera, bathed in a reddish glow of light that brought out the clear whiteness of her skin; they were reminded of the girl in Rembrandt's Night Watch, and began to ponder over the lighting effects the great artist must have used in his studio."
In the 1854 premiere of the ballet Gemma, starring Fanny Cerrito, Pauline Mercier, "a pretty blonde of sixteen, appeared as Cerrito's reflection." Therefore, in 1863, when this carte-de-visite was produced, Mercier would have been 25 years old.

Giuseppina Bossi. Ivor Guest, in The Ballet of the Second Empire (p. 265), notes that among the dancers who appeared at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin in Paris, during the years 1847 to 1870 was Giuseppina Bossi. She was a contemporary of Emma Livry, Fanny Cerrito, Carlotta Grisi, Pauline Mercier, Amalia Ferraris, and Louise Marquet.




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The photo of Pauline Mercier is exquisite, though it certainly doesn't suggest that she was "inclined to be buxom." I can understand how she was able to charm the vicomte and the Goncourts.

Do you have any idea of what role Giuseppina Bossi is portraying? It looks like something I've seen before. ' La Vivandiere'? Something along the lines of 'Fille du Regiment'?

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it's possible LA VIVANDIERE was still in rep. in Bossi's day:

Vivandière: Chor: Fanny Cerrito and Arthur Saint-Léon; mus: Cesare Pugni; lib: Arthur Saint-Léon. First perf: London, Her Majesty's Theatre, May 23, 1844.//First perf in Germany: Berlin, Königlichen Theater, Mar. 26, 1846; under title: Marketenderin und der Postillon.//First perf in France: Paris, Opéra, Oct. 20, 1848
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