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Sarah Bernhardt as L'Aiglon (1900)
Maude Adams as Napoleon II

L'Aiglon is a play in six acts by Edmond Rostand based on the life of Napoleon II, who was the son of Emperor Napoleon I and his second wife, Empress Marie Louise. The title of the play comes from a nickname for Napoleon II, the French word for "eaglet" (a young eagle).

The title role was created by Sarah Bernhardt in the play's premiere on 15 March 1900 at the Théàtre Sarah Bernhardt. In October of the same year, the play (in an English translation by Louis N. Parker) premiered at New York's Knickerbocker Theatre, with Maude Adams in the title role.

Its first performance in London was at His Majesty's Theatre in 1901, with Bernhardt again playing the leading role. Rostand had written L'Aiglon specifically for Bernhardt, and it became one of her signature roles.

Clemence Dane made an English translation which was broadcast by the BBC on National Radio in 15th November 1936 and Regionally the following day.[1]

Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert composed an opera in five acts, also with the title L'Aiglon, to a libretto by Henri Cain, based on Rostand's play. It was first performed at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in 1937.


  1. ^ [1]
  • New York Times, "Rostand's New Play a Success", 16 March 1900
  • New York Times, "Maude Adams as the Stricken Eaglet", 23 October 1900
  • Spratt, Geoffrey K., The music of Arthur Honegger, Cork University Press, 1987, p. 544. ISBN 0-902561-34-0
  • V&A Archive L'Aiglon radio script [2]

External links[edit]