Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the greatest love stories ever told. Cyrano himself is a passionate man whose great white plume, his panache, was to make himself in all things admirable. It is his cape, his coat, his shield.

For many, Cyrano's purity of purpose and unyielding honour serves as a reminder to us that, perhaps, there once was a time when a person was judged by more than the weight of their gold purse.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a wondrous play that never fails to stir even the hardest of hearts. Dealing with love, passion, anger, freedom, and pride, this play seems to capture the essence of what it is to be human, and to feel.

I hope you enjoy learning more about this superb story. Better yet, I hope you go out and read it if you haven't already!

I don't know nearly enough about the play as I would like to, so if you have any input on this page, please let me know. Any little facts or ideas would be great! Please look at the HELPFUL PEOPLE page to see the letters of some great Cyrano fans who not only helped me to correct the dates and details of the story, but also spurred me to create the best CYRANO page on the web! Thank you my friends! Without you, I'd still be some 200 years off on the setting of the play...

Jason Dunn January 20th, 1997

ABOUT THIS SITE
BACKGROUND
HISTORY OF THE PLAY
SUMMARY OF THE PLAY
EXCERPTS FROM THE PLAY
CYRANO AT THE MOVIES
CYRANO LINKS
LETTERS FROM CYRANO LOVERS!
DISCUSSION AREA
MULTIMEDIA AREA
BUY A CYRANO BOOK/MOVIE
READ THE 1898 CRITIQUE

Latest News:

(7/12/00)

  • Oh my, where have the months gone? I still plan to update this site, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of men...

 

(11/23/99)

  • Well, the story goes something like this. I'm insanely busy, but am starting to do more writing and less web design, so I'm slowly but surely gaining more time for personal web sites. I recently updated another personal web site, and the Cyrano site is next. I have a few wonderful critical essays written by others to post up, and if you'd like to contribute to the cause, please email me your work.

(some news has been cut)


(11/7/98)

  • A very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Queen of Cyrano, the brilliant Rachel Stigge! Today she turns 23, and she has contributed to many of the "little" pieces of knowledge on this site.


(10/23/98)

  • If you're a teacher and looking for a simple lesson plan, check this out.

  • There's a musical version of Cyrano being put on the stage, and here's a site that has some nice RealAudio clips!

  • No, I haven't abandoned the site. Some news: I'm getting a new video card tomorrow that will allow me to FINALLY get around to capturing down some Cyrano to video. And with a massive increase in my server space, expect to see some actual clips of my favourite scenes. Also, look for a complete re-design sometime in December. The site has grown to the point where I want to organise it better, add a more interactive chat system, and organise a team of "Cyrano Experts" from around the world to help people who have Cyrano questions (since I truly don't know as much as most of the people who email me with information).

    There's even a chance that we might get some Cyrano merchandise in the form of t-shirts and posters, designed by a fan of the site. Nothing will happen for a month or more, but it is coming...take heart!


(8/20/98)

  • A fellow Cyrano fan is sending me the PBS version I've heard so much about, so look for some audio/video samples from it. I'm looking forward to it! And yes, I STILL prefer the Ferrer version of Cyrano to the Depardieu! :7)

  • I've also received something fascinating from a fellow Cyrano fan - a review of the original play, written by Max Beerbohm in 1898!


(5/25/98)

  • Apparently the link to the text below goes up and down a great deal, so although this might be a violation of some sort, you can get the complete text here on my site.


(4/20/98)

  • I've managed to find the complete text of Cyrano in English!  It was on the Project Gutenberg site, a  wonderful resource. I'm not sure how long they've had Cyrano, but I feel a bit silly for not finding it sooner. I've also downloaded a copy for safe keeping in case the link ever goes dead.

  • Well, I've managed to figure out what the problem with the discussion web was. It turns out it was linked to the server on my local hard drive - thus I could post, but no one else could. It has been fixed. Sorry it took me so long to figure out. Post away!

  • Everything I have is on this site! I'm not hiding any clip art or other graphics...

  • Would anyone have any use for video/audio captures from either the Ferrer or Depardieu versions of Cyrano? If there is a demand for it, I'll spend the time

  • Thank you to those who have ordered Cyrano merchandise from Amazon! It's not much yet, but I do appreciate your patronage. Think of it as a sponsorship for the work I've done...

  • My name is "Jason", not "Ken"  :-)


(3/3/98)

  • I do apologize to everyone who has been visiting, looking for something new. Simply put, between going to school full time, working full time, and trying to have a social life, I have no time to spare for this web. Tonight is CATCH UP TIME - I've updated about 6 months worth of information!  I've changed quite a few things - I've added new links, a lot of new information, a few corrections, and linked to all the CYRANO books that Amazon has! I have a separate page for AMAZON books, please look at it! I've noticed that the discussion web is broken, which is a shame! It's now fixed, so please look through the whole site.

  • Just for fun, here's a RealAudio file of William Shatner, AKA Captain Kirk, from his album "The Transformed Man". On this album, he performs a brief scene from "Cyrano". Here's all I could find...still, it's amusing!

  • The entire text of Cyrano...in French. It's the original language, so if you can read it, wonderful!

  • I've finally gotten around to adding the school assignments that I received some eight months ago (sorry!)

  • How can I say this without sounding rude? My dear students - I made this web site for everyone who enjoys the play, and for those who are studying it. Everything you see here is yours! But PLEASE do not email me asking for essays, or with questions like "What makes this play good in 500 words or less?" I cannot and will not do your homework for you. I would encourage you to read the play, to look for the Cliff's Notes if you need to, or ask your teacher for help. If you are having trouble with a specific element of the play, or don't understand a specific scene, please let me know, and I'll be glad to help - but only if you are specific.

ABOUT THIS SITE

This small page is borne out of a desire to fill a void in the world of web pages; to right a great wrong, and to avenge a great injustice. What might this be, you ask? A personal vendetta? A response to a challenge? Nay, merely a "lack of Cyrano" in the wonderful world of web pages. While I have found a few new pages, none of them have been specifically devoted to Cyrano.

This is the second version of the CYRANO web site. The very first version was created with MS Publisher 97, which is quite a remarkable little program. Based on the phenomenal feedback I've received on this site, I decided to re-design it from the ground up using the two most powerful web tools I have: FrontPage 97 and PhotoShop 4.0. I hope that you enjoy this site! Having now spent a concentrated effort to create it, I can see how scattered my thoughts were in the previous version. Creating pages at 2 am will have that effect!

BACKGROUND

I've long held a great love for the play Cyrano de Bergerac. The first time I heard the name "Cyrano" was during the early 1990's, when Gerard Depardieu starred in the latest film version. Around the same time I remember hearing "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" by the Spin Doctors, in which they had a line that went "...she want one man made of Hercules and Cyrano". I thought to myself "Who's Cyrano?". Little did I know that I would be captured by the brilliance of the play soon enough.

I studied the play in a high school English class, and it was a Mr. Valleau who helped the class understand the complexities of the play. In a way, this page is dedicated to him; his dedicated teaching and love for literature would make Cyrano proud! During these classes, I grew more and more interested in the play, and after seeing the Ferrer version (discussed later), I was truly impressed. And thus this web page is born!

THE HISTORY OF THE PLAY

Cyrano de Bergerac was written by Edmond Rostand (1868-1918), a French playwright known for his light and entertaining style. By far his most popular piece was Cyrano. What most people do not know what that the Cyrano of Rostand's play was, in fact, based on a real person. Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (1619 - 1655), a French duelist and satirist , was quoted as having said:

"A large nose is the mark of a witty, courteous, affable, generous, and liberal man."
- Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac

The real Cyrano fought at Arras, who was also hit by a "falling log", although he died a year later (dates range from 1655 to 1665 on this). Was he murdered as Rostand's play would suggest? Who knows...

Thanks to Bob Arens for the following information on the real Cyrano!

Cyrano was born in 1619 in Perigord. He was truly reviled by most children his own age, as he did have the legendary nose. This fuled his hot temper, and he joined the army because of it. He left the military in 1642 to study science and literature in Paris. His literary works are the comedy The Ridiculous Pendant (1653), the tragedy Death of Agrippina (1654), and two books of science-fiction, The Other World, or the States and Empires of the Moon (1657) and The States and Empires of the Sun (1662). These last two works were published posthumously, thereby placing Cyrano's death in 1655, not a decade later.

Voyage dans la Lune & Histoire comique des etats et empires du Soleil - the complete text!

Below is a bit more on Rostand, as taken from a web page of whose address I have no recollection (it's a failing of mine!)

Edmond Rostand was born in Marseilles in 1868 and died in 1918. His thirty year literary career is marked primarily by one astronomical success and a number of plays of lesser note. His father had groomed Edmond for a career as a lawyer. Early on, however, he displayed an interest in marionette theatre and poetry. While attending the College Stanislas in Paris, Rostand studied French literature, history and philosophy. He followed his own inclinations and deviated from the course designed for him, although he did finally earn a legal degree and gain admission to the bar.

Rostand's fame peaked on December 28th, 1897, with the first production of Cyrano de Bergerac, at Theater de la Porte St Martin in Paris.

After his next success L'Aiglon (The Eaglet) in 1900, ten years followed before Rostand completed another play. Chantecler, an allegorical, experimental drama, opened in 1910 and was quickly judged a failure.

Rostand was refused entrance into the French Army in 1914 because of failing health. He spent the remaining years of his life in semi-retirement.

Extracts from publishers note in "Cyrano de Bergerac" by Edmond Rostand, published in English in 1981 by Bantam Books:

"This is an immortal play by Edmond Rostand in which chivalry and wit, bravery and love are forever captured in the timeless spirit of romance. Set in Louis XIII's reign, it is the moving and exciting drama of one of the best swordsmen in France, gallant soldier, brilliant wit, tragic poet-lover with the face of a clown.

The play was first performed in 1898 and consists of five acts:

•ACT I: A performance at the Hotel de Bourgogne
•ACT II: The Bakery of the Poets
•ACT III: Roxane's kiss
•ACT IV: The Cadets of Gascoyne
•ACT V: Cyrano's Gazette

The play was important to the drama of its time for its romantic nature, a departure from the realistic conventions then in vogue. It was an enormous success."

"...Love, I love beyond breath, beyond reason, beyond Love's own power of loving!"

Little bits of info...

Rachel Stigge found a great deal of information and links about Cyrano in her web-travels, and here's are some interesting things she shared with me (a potpourri of Cyrano!)

  • The Damrosch Opera.
    CYRANO, opera in 4 acts
    Libretto by W.J. Henderson
    premiered February 27, 1913, at the Met; ran for 5 performances; Cyrano is written as a baritone, Roxane as a soprano, Christian as a tenor.

  • There are presently a LOT of translations (most of which are currently on their way to me via UPS). The Drama Book Shop of NYC (1-800-322-0595) has the Brian Hooker, Christopher Fry, Lowell Blair, James Forsyth, John Murrell, Anthony Burgess, and Charles Marowitz translations... and they
    will send them to people if they are asked nicely

  • There is a 1925 French-Italian movie version of Cyrano available from Kino Videos (1-800-3330).

  • Cyrano's birthday was March 6, 1619.

  • Two actors have won Tonys playing Cyrano on Broadway: Jose Ferrer in 1947, and Christopher Plummer, for the musical version Cyrano in 1974. (Leigh Berry was also nominated for her role as Roxane, in the "supporting actress in a musical" catagory.)

  • Cyrano de Bergerac was also on Broadway in 1987 - 84 starring Sir Derek Jacobi as Cyrano.

  • There are two musical versions on record (in English):

    CYRANO
    book by Anthony Burgess
    music by Michael J. Lewis
    premiered Sunday, May 13, 1973 @ the Palace Theatre in NYC -ran for 49 performances
    [The original Broadway cast recording is available on LP; check http://www.eur.com/musicals  (EUR.COM: the Musical Cast Album Database) for more info.]

    CYRANO: THE MUSICAL
    book by Koen Van Kijk
    score by Ad Van Dijk, Koen Van Kijk, Peter Reeves, Sheldon Harnick

    premiered sometime in 1993 or 1994 (I'm still checking)
    [The cast album is available via EUR or Footlights Records (http://www.footlight.com) in the English version or the original Dutch.]

    CYRANO DE BERGERAC
    music & lyrics by David Reeves
    Australian Studio Cast, 1994
    There are actually 2 versions of this; it may be a concept album since there is no premiere date listed.

    EUR.COM also lists another CYRANO-- this one with music and lyrics by Sebastian. (No first name.) The Danish cast recorded it in 1993; the Swedish cast recorded it in 1996.

  • In 1959, there was a ballet called Cyrano de Bergerac; music by Marius Constant, in the "Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit". The page I found this on was in Italian so I couldn't figure out much else. :-)

  • Speaking of smiley faces, there is one for Cyrano-- :/7)

  • There are, according to rumor (I'm still tracking them down) four operatic "Cyrano"s-- one by Walter Damrosch (1913?), one by Franco Alfano on or around March 5 in 1926, a satirical operetta by Victor Herbert, and an opera called Cyrano de Bergerac by Enio Tamberg in 1976.

  • There is a web site called The Mysticism of Cyrano de Bergerac at http://hyperlink.com/weaver/95/25_9/east/sufi/cyranom.htm   it's an interesting read.

  • Cyberflick Classic Movies http://www.cyberflic.com/classic.htm lists Cyrano de Bergerac in their classic movies section for $7.99. (I can
    only assume the 1950 version...?)

  • The Act 1/scene 4 poetry/fight scene (a la fin de l'envoi, je touche!) is online in the original French at http://www.synec-doc.be/escrime/dico/anth8.htm
    and http://www.sv.vtcom.fr/ftv/fr3/ecrivain/rostand.html   is a good French page with lots of Edmond Rostand stuff (including a spiffy .jpg image). http://www.cam.org/~infopix/ht-scb2.html   is a site with the original French version of the real Cyrano's "Histoire comique des itats et empires de la lune" (the whole thing!!!).

And from Diane, here is some information on international versions of Cyrano!

France, 1997: Jérôme Savary (Pierre Santini as Cyrano)
England, 1997: Gregory Doran (Anthony Sher as Cyrano)
Italy, 1996: Maurizio Scaparro (Pino Micol as Cyrano)
Finland, 1995: Laura Jäntti (Esko Slaminen as Cyrano)
Denmark, 1993: Fleming Flint
Holland, 1992: Eddy Habbema (Bill van Dijk as Cyrano)
France, 1990: Robert Hossein ("the Great") (Jean-Paul Belmondo as Cyrano)
Czechoslovakia, 1987: Jaroslav Dudek
National Theatre of Catalunia, 1985: Maurizio Scaparro (José Maria
Flotats as Cyrano)
France, 1983: Jérôme Savary (Pierre Santini as Cyrano, like ten
years before)
Czechoslovakia, 1971: Jiri Belka
"Radio-Television Française" (RTF), 1960: Claude Barma (Daniel Sorano as Cyrano).

SUMMARY OF THE PLAY

Cyrano de Bergerac is set in 1640 during one of the many times France was at war with Spain (it seems France liked to fight everyone, n'est-ce pas?). Our friend Cyrano is a "Gascon", a soldier from Gascony, known for their aggressive nature, bravery, and sheer arrogance. The captain of his particular unit was one Carbon Castel-Jaloux, although most would acknowledge Cyrano as the leader through sheer charisma.

Cyrano is poor in coin but rich in spirit; something we might consider to be a cliché today, but powerfully true in Rostand's play.

Among those who have seen Cyrano, he is most remembered for his nose. This nose isn't a normal nose; it is truly an enormous nose. In Cyrano's own words, "...one could launch ships from that peninsula!" (paraphrased somewhat). Cyrano is deeply in love with his cousin Roxanne, a lovely and intelligent woman. 

Cyrano soon discovers that she is in love with Christian, a young man recently put in Cyrano's command. The wonderful story that ensues involves Cyrano and Christian becoming partners to create
"...one mighty hero of romance!"

Cyrano provides the beautiful poetry to woo the heart of Roxanne, while Christian provides the handsome face. Christian actually possesses a wit, but it seems to fail him around women of great beauty. Cyrano, on the other hand, is inspired to new heights of poetic glory by Roxanne.

The result is worthy of reading, studying, and loving by anyone of any age or background. The play is profound and humorous, and deserving of the accolades it has received!

Cyrano possesses a passion for his poetry, his life, and his love for Roxanne. Some of the most inspired speeches I've ever read have come from this play. In the face of so many obstacles, Cyrano never relents his passion for honour and freedom.

Cyrano's love for Roxanne creates some of the most awful tension I've ever read, but also some of the most wondrous expressions of love ever to have been penned.

On the following pages you'll see excerpts from the play, information on the "contemporary Cyrano", letters, and more!

NEXT

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