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Brohan, Augustine Susanne

BROHAN, AUGUSTINE SUSANNE (1807-1887), French actress, was born in Paris on the 22nd of January 1807. She entered the Conservatoire at the age of eleven, and took the second prize for comedy in 1820, and the first in 1821. She served her apprenticeship in the provinces, making her first Paris appearance at the Odéon in 1832 as Dorine in Tartuffe. Her success there and elsewhere brought her a summons to the Comédie Française, where she made her début on the 15th of February 1834, as Madelon in Les Précieuses ridicules, and Suzanne in Le Mariage de Figaro. She retired in 1842, and died on the 16th of August 1887.

Her elder daughter, Josephine Félicité Augustine Brohan (1824-1893), was admitted to the Conservatoire when very young, twice taking the second prize for comedy. The soubrette part, entrusted for more than 150 years at the Comédie Française to a succession of artists of the first rank, was at the moment without a representative, and Mdlle Augustine Brohan made her début there on the 19th of May 1841, as Dorine in Tartuffe, and Lise in Rivaux d'eux-mêmes. She was immediately admitted pensionnaire, and at the end of eighteen months unanimously elected sociétaire. She soon became a great favourite, not only in the plays of Molière and de Regnard, but also in those of Marivaux. On her retirement from the stage in 1866, she made an unhappy marriage with Edmond David de Gheest (d. 1885), secretary to the Belgian legation in Paris.

Susanne Brohan's second daughter, Emilie Madeleine Brohan (1833-1900), also took first prize for comedy at the Conservatoire (1850). She was engaged at once by the Comédie Française, but instead of making her début in some play of the répertoire of the theatre, the management put on for her benefit a new comedy by Scribe and Legouvé, Les Contes de la reine de Navarre, in which she created the part of Marguerite on the 1st of September 1850. Her talents and beauty made her a success from the first, and in less than two years from her début she was elected sociétaire. In 1853 she married Mario Uchard, from whom she was soon separated, and in 1858 she returned to the Comédie Française in leading parts, until her retirement in 1886. Her name is associated with a great number of plays, besides those in the classical répertoire, notably Le Monde où l'on s'ennuie, Par droit de conquête, Les Deux Veuves, and Le Lion amoureux, in which, as the "marquise de Maupas", she had one of her greatest successes.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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