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Brita Sophia De la Gardie

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Brita Sophia De la Gardie
Born Brita Sophia De la Gardie
1713
Sweden
Died 1797
France
Nationality Sweden
Occupation none; was a noble. Later a nun.
Known for Amateur actor

Brita Sophia De la Gardie (1713–1797) was a Swedish noble and amateur actress. She was a central member of the cultural life in Stockholm in her time. She played a part in the history of Swedish theatre. She was the aunt of Count Axel von Fersen the Younger.

Biography

Brita Sophia De La Gardie was born to the politician count Magnus Julius De la Gardie and the salonist and amateur politician Hedvig Catharina Lilje. She was the sister-in-law to Eva Ekeblad. During the 1720s and 1730s, amateur theatre was immensely popular in Stockholm and at the royal court. At the time, only foreign theatre companies performed professionally at the national stage of the Bollhuset Theatre. In 1732, Dom Japhlet d'Arménie av Scarron was performed at the stage of Bollhuset by the noble amateur troupe of Count Carl Gustaf Tessin and Countess Ulla Tessin, who also participated themselves. The most famous one of these amateur troupe was the troupe commonly known as Greve de la Gardies komedianter (The Comedians of Count de la Gardie), active in 1734-1737, which was managed by the theatre-interested de la Gardie family.

The de la Gardie amateur theatre performed in the palace Torstensonska huset, which is now Arvfurstens palats, in the palace Lefebuerska huset and, occasionally, on the stage of Bollhuset, led by Höpken, between 1734 and 1737. Höpken had returned from Paris in 1734 and organized the troupe to perform more seriously and regularly than the other troupes. Brita Sophia De la Gardie became a part of the troupe and became its lead actress and prima donna. As such, she was well known in the city and a center of its cultural life. Historians have argued wehter this troupe performed for the public and can be counted as more than an amateur troupe. According to memoirs, "The whole city" was present at the plays, but the upper-class memoirists may simply have ment people from their own class. The plays may have been half public, with a symbolic sum paid by the audience, who likely came only from the city's upper-classes.

These amateur troupes created an enthusiasm for native speaking theatre which prepared for the foundation of the first Swedish speaking national theatre at Bollhuset at 1737. The foundation of the national theatre had been laid by the performance of a student theatre troupe. When the first Swedish national theatre opened in 1737, a suggestion was made (serious or not) to make Brita Sophia an honorary consultant in the theatre management, with a reserved box at the theatre. When the first professional actresses were hired to the theatre, it was jokingly suggested that another of the amateur actresses at the de la Gardie troupe, Augusta Törnflycht, should be asked to seek the position. One of the first professional Swedish actresses jointly with Beata Sabina Straas in the theatre troupe on the new national theatre, "Miss Wijkman" are guessed to have been Magdalena Wickman, earlier a servant at the de la Gardie household.

In 1738, Brita Sophia became a member in the board of a musical academy who arranged concerts in Lefebuerska huset. After the death of her father in 1741, Brita Sophia and her mother moved to Paris in France, where they converted to Catholicism. After her mother's death in 1745, she entered an convent and became a nun. She inherited Ekesjö manor in Sweden, but as she did not receive royal consent to her conversion and remained in France, her property was sold by her siblings. She died in Paris.

References

  • Tryggve Byström: Svenska komedien 1737-1753 (Swedish comedy 1737-1753) (1981) (Swedish)
  • [1].Wilhelmina Stålberg:Anteckningar om svenska qvinnor (Notes on Swedish women) (Swedish)
  • [2]Erik Tuneld : Geografi öfver konungariket Sverige. 8e uppl (Geography over the kingdom of Sweden)sv:Brita Sophia De la Gardie

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