- Christopher Smith
(b Paris, Aug 22, 1790; d Paris, Nov 19, 1859). French theatre manager, playwright and librettist . His earliest work was an Ode sur le mariage de S. M. l’Empereur (1810), but after the fall of Napoleon he devoted his energies exclusively to the theatre. His favourite dramatic form was the brief comédie-vaudeville and, like many of his contemporaries, he often worked with collaborators, notably Eugène Scribe and Mélesville. Among the relatively small number of his opera librettos the most famous is that of the two-act Le comte Ory, written with Scribe and set to music by Rossini. First performed in 1828, it is based on a one-act comédie-vaudeville, also the product of collaboration between Delestre-Poirson and Scribe, dating from 1816. This so-called ‘Anecdote from the 11th century’ pokes fun at the ‘troubadour’ medievalism that was a feature of early Romanticism in France. In December 1820 Delestre-Poirson became manager of the new Gymnase-Dramatique (sometimes called the Théâtre de Madame); he retired from this post in ...