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Rachel

paris, france, modern, voice and stage

RACHEL, rd-shel (Ei.isnARAcHELFtrux), French tragedienne: b. Mumpf, canton of Aargau, Switzerland, 28 Feb. 1820 or 21; d. Le Cannet, Provence, 3 Jan. 1858. Her father was an Alsatian Jew, naturalized in France, and after much wandering about Europe in his trade of peddling established his family at Lyons, where the twl ) oldest children, Sarah and Rachel, sang and begged in the streets and in cafes to help out the family support. About 1830 they removed to Paris and the two girls sang on the boulevards until discovered by Etienne Choron, teacher in the school of Sacred Music, who undertook to teach them singing. Rachel's voice was found to be too harsh for this, and in 1834 Choron induced his friend, Saint Aulaire, to train her for the stage. On the advice of M. Samson she entered the Consevatoire, where, however, her harsh voice and small stature seemed at first against her. She made her debut in a play called at the Gymnase in 1837. The next year she joined the company of the Theatre Francais and made her first appearance as Camille in Corneille's 12 June 1838. She appeared in several parts successively and finally repeated in September her performance of Camille, was seen and applauded by the powerful critic of the Debuts, Jules Janin, and her position estab lished. After appearing in other parts in the French classic drama with increasing success, she visited England in 1841 and again in 1842, re peating her triumphs there. Later while still supreme at the Theatre Francais she made visits to other European cities, and in 1855 appeared in America. Here her success was only mod erate, owing to her unfamiliarity with the language. A severe cold caught during her

American tour ended in a consumption, from which she died at Le Cannet in the south of France. She was buried in the Jewish part of the Pere Lachaise in Paris. Her great reputa tion was made in five or six rides of the ancient classic drama of France, of these Phedre being accounted her greatest. In the course of her career she created 13 modern roles, written for her Lecouvreur' alone of these still holding a place on the modern stage. She several other modern roles that had been acted before her representation. She excelled especially in the impersonation of evil passion. Both her voice which through careful training had been changed from its former harshness to remarkable flexibility and melodi ousness, and her restrained majestic acting, re sulted in a rendition of her parts which was as perfect as it was thrilling. Consult B—, Madame de, (Memoirs of Rachel' (New York 1858) ; Beauvallet, L., (Rachel and the New World; a Trip to the United States and Cuba' (New York 1856) ; Darcie, J., and Corbin, W. ed., (Mlle. Rachel's Plays' (New York 1855) Faucigny-Lucinge A. de, (Rachel et son Temps' (Paris 1910) ; Fleischmann, H., (Paris 1859) ; Kennard, N. H., (Boston 1886) ; Mirecourt, E. de, (Rachel' (Paris 1854) ; Poin sot, E. A.,