Marie Louise Marcadet

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Marie Louise Marcadet
Born Marie Louise Baptiste
Died 1804 (aged c. 56)
Other names Marie Louise Baptiste
Spouse(s) Jean Remi Marcadet

Marie Louise Marcadet (née Baptiste) (1758–1804) was a Swedish opera singer and a dramatic stage actress. She was active in both the Royal Swedish Opera, and at the Royal Dramatic Theatre. She is regarded as the greatest tragedienne in Sweden during the 1780s decade, before the first noted native tragedienne, Maria Franck. She was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music from 1795.

Background and career[edit]

Marcadet was born in Sweden as the daughter of two actors of the French Theatre of Bollhuset and at the court theatre at Drottningholm of Queen Louisa Ulrika of Prussia; Jacques Anselme Baptiste and the prima donna Marie Baptiste, and of French descent. In 1780 she married a dancer from her parents home country, Jean-Rémy Marcadet (b. 1755),[1] premierdancer and instructor of ballet at the Royal Swedish Ballet and was thereby known as Madame Marcadet.

When the French Theatre was dissolved in 1771, Marie Louise left Sweden with her parents and followed them touring in Europe; they returned to Sweden in 1776 and performed in a French Court Theatre at the Swedish court in 1776–1781. She debuted at the Opera-theater in Bollhuset in Les deux avares, an opéra bouffon by Grétry in the 1777–1778 season and was later the same year acclaimed in Lucile by the same composer. From this year, she was employed at the Royal Swedish Opera as an opera singer.

She was also a dramatic actress; from 1781, she was a part of the French dramatic theatre of Monvel in Bollhuset, and from 1788, she was employed at the Royal Dramatic Theatre. When the director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre left the country in 1788 to escape his creditors, the actors ruled the theatre themselves by votes, and she became a member of the board of directors. This rule was considered quite chaotic, but Marcadets judgement was praised.

Together with Jaques Marie Boutet de Monvel and the couple Desguillons, she was the greatest contributor responsible for the fact that the Swedish national theatre and opera was formed after a French pattern.

Reputation and repertoire[edit]

Marie Louise Marcadet was not considered beautiful, but she was described as a splendid actor, and also as a competent singer. Johan Henric Kellgren considered her acting divine, Gjörwell wrote: "The entire soul was created for the Theater" after having seen her in the opéra comique Zémire et Azor by Grétry opposite Carl Stenborg (season 1778–1779), and she was mentioned by Carl von Fersen as an example of the meaning of education in his book The Improvement of the Swedish Opera and entertainment, written in 1780 [2]

As an opera singer, her voice is described as, in reality, nothing more than a normally good operatic voice, but she handled it so well that she became a very good opera singer. She was, however, considered to be best as a dramatic actor in speaking drama, were her hard French accent gave her lines power and energy, and she was recommended for its passioned strength. Among her most admired parts, from both her operatic and her dramatic career, was Clytaimnestra[citation needed], Merope by Voltaire, Jocasta in Oedipe by Adlerbeth, Statira in Olympie by Johan Henric Kellgren, Athalie by Racine and countess Walltron in Der Graf von Walltron by Heinrich Ferdinand Möller.

She played Henriette in Les deux avares (season 1777–1778), Arséne in the opera La belle Arsène by Monsigny (with Elisabeth Olin and Christoffer Christian Karsten) and Iphigenie in Iphigénie en Aulide by Gluck (with Carl Stenborg), 1779–1780, Cybèle in Atys by Piccinni (with Carl Stenborg and Kristofer Kristian Karsten), 1784–1785, Hermione in Andromaque by Grétry (with Franziska Stading), Cecilia av Eka in Gustaf Wasa by Johann Gottlieb Naumann (with Carl Stenborg, Kristofer Kristian Karsten and Caroline Halle-Müller), 1785–1786, Ramfrid in Folke Birgersson till Ringstad by Gustav III (with Kristofer Kristian Karsten and Inga Åberg), 1792–1793, and Minerva in Alcides inträde i världen (The arrival of Alcide in the world) by Haeffner, 1793–1794.

Later life[edit]

In 1795, Marcadet became involved in a conflict with the direction at the royal theaters (meaning borth the opera and the theatre) and joined the Stenborg theatre, where she made her farewell-performance in November before she left Sweden with her husband and moved to Paris in France, where she died. She is one of many examples of the French actors and singers, who made themselves a career in Sweden during the 18th century, when Swedish theatre and opera was more or less entirely French.

In the 19th century, the Swedish press pointed out the irony in the fact that three of the most popular singers, who were a part of the "first generation" of performers in the two national stages Royal Dramatic Theatre and Royal Swedish Opera, was in fact foreigners; the German Franziska Stading, the Polish Sophie Stebnowska (grandmother of Marie Taglioni), and the French Marie Louise Marcadet.

See also[edit]


  • Carin Österberg: Svenska kvinnor: Föregångare, nyskapare (Swedish women: Predecessors, pioneers) 1990 (Swedish)
  • Oscar Levertin: Teater och drama under Gustaf III. (Theatre and drama during the age of Gustav III) Albert Bonniers förlag, Stockholm, Fjärde Upplagan (1920). (Swedish)
  • Georg Nordensvan:Svensk teater och svenska skådespelare Från Gustav III till våra dagar. Förra delen 1772-1842 (Swedish theatre and Swedish actors from the days of Gustav III to our days. First Book 1772-1842). Albert Bonniers Förlag (1917), Stockholm. (Swedish)
  • Kungliga teaterns repertoar 1773-1973 (The repertoire of the Royal Theatre 1773-1973) (1974) (Swedish)
  • Hilleström, Gustaf: Kungl. Musikaliska akademien: matrikel 1771-1971, Nordiska musikförlaget, Stockholm 1971, Publikationer / utgivna av Kungl. Musikaliska akademien, 99-0168608-3 ; 10 (swe). (Swedish)


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Carin Österberg: Svenska kvinnor: Föregångare, nyskapare (Swedish women: Predecessors, pioneers) 1990 (Swedish)