Lucrèce Borgia

Lucrezia Borgia
by Victor Hugo
Directed by Denis Podalydès


24 May 20 July 2014


Lucrèce Borgia

2014-05-24 00:00:00 2014-07-20 00:00:00

Ferrara is ruled by the sinister and pernicious Lucretia Borgia, a woman of power, her hands stained with blood and her body by incest, who has added fratricide to the crimes of the Borgia.

Gennaro, the fruit of her union with her brother, is unaware of his parents’ identity. During a ball in Venice, Gennaro courts a masked beauty before discovering, to his horror, the face of Lucretia, trembling with love for the son she approaches secretly, under cover of the carnival. Stung by the insults of Gennaro’s friends who unmask her, and suspected of adultery by her husband Don Alfonso, Lucretia sets in motion a harrowing revenge whose implacable intent is inextricably linked to the fate of her son.

Victor Hugo, the author
In 1832, three years after the censorship of Marion Delorme and the momentous Hernani, “battleground” between supporters of classicism and romanticism, Victor Hugo (1802-1885) wrote Lucretia Borgia and one month later The King’s Fool. “Born at the same time in the same place of the heart” (Preface), the two plays differ in their form and destiny. The King’s Fool was banned by royal authority after the first performance at the Comédie-Française while Lucretia Borgia, whose rehearsals Hugo diligently attended, enjoyed a successful run at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin. Hugo distorted the historical facts and adapted them to his dramatic vision by attributing the crime of fratricide to Lucretia rather than to Caesar Borgia. The fine, literary, patron of the arts is thus transformed into a monster of maternal love. Considered by George Sand as Hugo’s “most powerful” work, Lucretia Borgia, the embodiment of a “theatre of cruelty” as conceived by Antonin Artaud, represents for its author a victory over royal power and censorship.

Denis Podalydès, the director
Denis Podalydès returns to the Romantic century for his third staging at the Comédie-Française after Cyrano de Bergerac (2006) and Fantasio (2008). For him, Victor Hugo’s appeal lies in his impetuous, theatrical language, “fully saturated with dreams” and devoid of restraint, in which rhetorical excess compounds moral debauchery. The staging by Vitez (1985), which he described as “carved into the very flesh of night”, fuelled Denis Podalydès’ desire to let himself be guided by Hugo’s lyricism so as to “descend more profoundly into the dark abyss of Lucretia Borgia, an ambivalent and subversive tragedy, a sort of monster of beauty and impropriety”. In this production he would like to return to the “poetic violence of the melodrama”.

This show is accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people
05/06/2014 - 20:30
08/06/2014 - 14:0011/06/2014 - 20:30
20/06/2014 - 20:30
28/06/2014 - 20:30




Creative team

Direction: Denis Podalydès
Direction assistant: Alison Hornus
Scenography: Éric Ruf
Scenography assistant: Dominique Schmitt
Costumes: Christian Lacroix
Lights: Stéphanie Daniel
Sound design: Bernard Vallery
Make-up and VFX: Dominique Colladant
Make-up assistant: Laurence Aué and Muriel Baurens
Masks: Louis Arene
Choreography: Kaori Ito


the company

The Comédie-Française Academy

  • pushpaulmcaleer1314



  • pushheidievaclavier1314


    Femmes et Soldats

  • pushlolafelouzis1314


    Femmes et Soldats

  • pushpaulinetricot1314


    Femmes et Soldats

  • Lunettes connectées disponibles à la Salle Richelieu

  • Shop


Ouverture des réservations pour les représentations du mois de juillet Salle Richelieu :

  • MER 20 MARS à partir de 11h


En raison du renforcement des mesures de sécurité dans le cadre du plan Vigipirate « Urgence attentat », nous vous demandons de vous présenter 30 minutes avant le début de la représentation afin de faciliter le contrôle.

Nous vous rappelons également qu’un seul sac (de type sac à main, petit sac à dos) par personne est admis dans l’enceinte des trois théâtres de la Comédie-Française. Tout spectateur se présentant muni d’autres sacs (sac de courses, bagage) ou objets encombrants, se verra interdire l’entrée des bâtiments.