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(also, A. Le Couvreur). Born Apr. 5, 1692, in Damery; died Mar. 20, 1730, in Paris. French actress. Daughter of an artisan.
Lecouvreur studied declamation in Paris with the actor Legrand, acted in provincial theaters, and made her debut in 1717 at the Comédie-Française in Paris. Some of her best roles were in Corneille’s tragedies, including Emilie in Cinna, Roxanne in Iphigénie, and Cornélie in La Mort de Pompée. Her other important parts included the title role in Racine’s Phèdre and Angélique and Alcmène in Molière’s Georges Dandin and Amphitryon.
Lecouvreur continued M. Baron’s pioneering work; she was the first French actress to introduce realistic traits in her performance, to abandon the classic declamatory style that was concerned with external effects, and to adopt a natural, flowing manner. She made an early attempt to reform stage costumes, wearing ordinary dresses instead of a court costume. Lecouvreur’s acting paved the way for the actors of enlightened classicism, including H. L. Lekain.
WORKSLettres d’Adrienne Lecouvreur. Paris, 1892.
REFERENCEIstoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Rivollet, G. Adrienne Le Couvreur. Paris, 1925.