The Hector Berlioz Website

L’Entente Cordiale – Berlioz dines with Wagner

Olivier Teitgen

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This page is also available in French

    This page presents the text of a play in French which should appeal to all those who are interested in Berlioz, Wagner and the culture of 19th century Europe. This fascinating play, written by Olivier Teitgen, is a real “tour de force” and would have delighted the author of Les Soirées de l’orchestre.

    The play takes as its starting point one evening in June 1855 at the home of Prosper Sainton in London, where Berlioz and Wagner had been invited to dinner. Sainton was a French violinist established in London, and his residence at no. 8 Hinde Street, just off Manchester Square, is still extant. See the section on 8 Hinde Street in the page on Berlioz in London.

    During the five hours that they spent together, the two men exchanged views on art, philosophy and life. The conversation between them and the views they express have all been faithfully taken from the memoirs, letters, and other writings of the two men. The whole occasion was mentioned in a letter by Wagner to Liszt, dated 5 July 1855, and also years later in his autobiography, Mein Leben. The episode, along with Berlioz’s other meetings with Wagner in London at the time, is also discussed in the second volume of David Cairns’ biography of Berlioz, Berlioz: Servitude and Greatness, 1999, pp. 568-575. The complex relations between Berlioz and Wagner are discussed in detail in a separate page on this site, with citation in English translation of all the relevant texts.

    We are grateful to the author for giving us permission to publish this play on the Hector Berlioz Website.

    You can read this fascinating play which brings the composer to life at: L’Entente Cordiale.

The Hector Berlioz website was created on 18 July 1997 by Michel Austin and Monir Tayeb; this page was created on 9 May 2000, and revised on 1 March 2023.

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