Cormon, Eugène [Piestre, Pierre-Etienne]
- Lesley A. Wright
(b Lyons, May 5, 1811; d Paris, March 7, 1903). French playwright and librettist. During his long and prolific career (1832–78) he used his mother’s name, Cormon. He wrote more than 135 plays and librettos, normally with a collaborator such as Laurencin (P.-D.-A. Chapelle), A.-P. d’Ennery or Michel Carré. One of his dramas, Philippe II, roi d’Espagne (1846), later served as a source for the libretto of Verdi’s Don Carlos (1867).
Cormon began writing librettos in the mid-1840s, and in 1847 he provided Maillart with the book for Gastibelza, an ephemeral success which opened Adolphe Adam’s Opéra National. With Maillart he also produced a more enduring contribution to the repertory, Les dragons de Villars. At his death his works were praised as ‘interesting and well made’, and he is supposed to have regretted that such a talented beginner as Bizet had to work with one of his weakest efforts, ...