The Hôtel de Bourgogne
Updated: Apr 7
Facade of the theatre known as the Hôtel de Bourgogne at the time it was used by the Comédiens Italiens in the 18th century. Scan from the original work: Parouty, Michel (1998), L'Opéra-Comique. Paris: Asa Editions. ISBN 9782841100897. Page 14.
The Hotel de Bourgogne in 1647 in "Histoire du théâtre dessinée" A. Degaine, Nizet, 1992.
Stage set at the theatre of the Hôtel de Bourgogne. The chair indicates an interior. The characters portrayed show that a comedy is in progress. They are from left to right: "the watching Frenchman"; the celebrated comic actors: "wild-faced" Turlupin, "true" Gaulthier, Gros-Guillaume; a lady; and a Spaniard (identified by his ruff). Turlupin is stealing Gaultier-Garguille's purse. The Frenchman and lady are dressed in fashionable contemporary costume. Engraving by Abraham Bosse(1634)
The first act of the play Cyrano de Bergerac is set in a 17th century theater in Paris called the Hôtel de Bourgogne. Cyrano even uses the setting as the title of his famous duel in verse.
CYRANO (declaiming): Voilá. A ballade of the duel Upon the steps of the Hôtel Bourgogne Between de Bergerac and a buffoon!
The real Hôtel de Bourgogne was built by the 1548 by Confrérie de la Passion (or Confraternity of the Passion) as a venue for their religious drama. In an excess of irony, the king banned productions of religious plays in Paris in the year of the theater's completion. In partial recompense he then granted the Confrérie a monopoly on the production of French drama in Paris. The theater then became a rental venue for traveling companies and was in continuous use until until it closed in 1783. It was called the "de Bourgogne" because it was built on land that once was part of the residence of the Dukes of Burgundy.
In order to get a feel of what the theater might have looked like, we have several images. A drawing of the front facade from the 18th century, a modern drawing of a floor pan made from contemporary descriptions, and a wonderful Abraham Boss etching of a contemporary performance.
It will be an exciting challenge to turn the beautiful Scottish Rite theater into a representation of this historic space for our production.