L’Entente Cordiale – Berlioz dines with Wagner

    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 Sainton’s home in London, where Berlioz and Wagner had been invited to dinner (see below). 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. 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. A separate page on this site discusses in detail the relations Berlioz had with Wagner over the whole of his career, 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 our composer to life at: Entente Cordiale.

    Sainton’s residence in London in the mid 1850s was at no.8 Hinde Street (just off Manchester Square), which is still extant – see the section on 8 Hinde Street in our Berlioz in London page. 

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