Thursday, August 28, 2014

Passionate about Wagner

The lovers in question are Charles Ephrussi and Louise Cahen d'Anvers, both members of wealthy, 19th c. Jewish banking families.
It is certain that the lovers shared a real interest in music, art and poetry -- and in musicians, artists and poets. Louise's brother-in-law, Albert, was a composer, and Charles and Louise went with him to the Opéra in Paris, and to the more radical premieres in Brussels to hear Massenet. They were both passionate about Wagner, a kind of passion that is hard to dissemble, but good to share. Wagner's operas, I imagine, also gave the couple plenty of time to themselves in one of those deep, plush boxes at the Opéra. They were present at a small and select dinner party (sans the husband) followed by a recital of poetry by Anatole France, hosted by Proust.
                                                                     Edmund de Waal, The Hare with Amber Eyes    


Mark Berry said...

I love 'a kind of passion that is hard to dissemble'!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yes, indeed. The book is very fine, though I am annoyed by something that might annoy you as well: the book doesn't have either an index or a bibliography, though from context you know that the author has read Edmond de Goncourt's memoirs and many issues of the (Paris Art) Gazette.