Sarah Bernhardt: The French golden voice
Considered as one of the best actress ever, Sarah Bernhardt’s artistic curiosities included plastic arts and Literature. Sara (Paris, 1844 – 1923), known as the queen of the postures and princess of the expression, was the daughter of a Jewish family from Holland and her true name was Henriette-Rosine Bernard. Her beauty and deep dark eyes together with her great bearing made her bright over the stage. Bernhardt studied Interpretation in the prestigious Conservatory of Pais, but before that she had passed most of her childhood in a convent. It was around 1870 when she started achieving a big success.
She was extremely gifted and her expertise was perfectly understand the psicology of the characters. Very soon, she was known as “the golden voice”. The audience admired her because of her spontaneity, her high knowledge and also, her eccentricities… She loved travelling by hot-air balloon and the coffin she always had with her to sleep in sometimes… In her trips she also used to take with her a lot of pets (cats, birds and turtles, among others).
London was her first hit out of France. She had an enormous success also there. One year later, Sarah Bernhardt launched her own Company, she became an entrepreneur and started the first of her many tours in the US. She was an international star soon enough.
Her career was long and she had the chance to play any kind of role, far away from her own character and personality. Some of her hits were Rey Lear (as Cordelia) or La Dame aux Camelias (by Dumas). Rumours say that the last scene in this stage play was so realistic that a few women among the public fainted.
When she was 70, she created Hamlet. One of her many virtues was modernize Shakespeare’s work. Instead of recite, she spoke the “to be or not to be” just whispering, which was an innovation.
After she suffered from the amputation of her right leg after an accident, she started donating funds for soldiers injured during the first world wide war. From that momento onwards, she only could accept roles where she could be sat in a chair.
Life was so good to her that she had even time to write her memories and publish a novel. However, death came to pick her up in 1923 when she was getting ready her new work. Her beauty, her talent and her personality made her be admired by men like Sigmund Freud and Oscar Wilde, and remembered as one of the best actresses in Europe.
Texto @ Esther Ginés
Fotografias Wikipedia y @ María Vintage Photography