[WARNING: This is a long post, so if you've been following this topic the last few days and do not want to recap all that's happened, or just want to go straight to the juicy bits: Scroll down to about where the pictures begin and read down from there]
For some time now a certain diary of one Rodrigo Saenz de Castillon
has been said to contain a first hand account of his meetings with several famous personages of the 19th and early 20th century, has been circulating here at Andrew Gough's Arcadia, as well as other places on the internet. The entries of this diary are full of extraordinary meetings with larger-than-life personalities that at times, to put it gently, stretch the boundaries of probability and belief. One such entry was posted recently by forum user alexius on 1 September 2010:
The following may throw some light on the Johann Orth affair. I obtained this from Twyford and make no comment on it. Don't shoot the messenger.
The following are entries for May 1900. Castillon has been spending some time as a guest of La Diva [Emma Calve?] at her "little castle" i.e. the Chateau de Cabrieres in the Aveyron.
The party of guests comprised Castillon of course, JB described as La Diva's manager; CD a composer and his mistress EB the wife of a prosperous Parisian banker and previously mistress of GF another composer, she is an accomplished "amateur" singer; P a Polish exile, a pianist; Leconte, "a symbolist poet, effete and languid, writer of erotically charged verse usually about the devotees of Sappho on the Island of Lesbos and other like classical themes. CD is at present setting some of these to music." [the words in inverted commas are Castillon's own]; Marcel "a novelist of fragile health who is writing the novel of the 20th century having tired of and been revolted by what he calls the sweaty, heaving, realism of Zola and his clique of the late 19th."; JO "an odd fish, big, burly man with the appearance of a common labourer or deckhand rather who claims to be an English citizen, despite a pronounced guttural teutonic sort of accent, ship-owner and mercantile trader operating out of Gibraltar. Has a yacht moored at Port-Vendres."; JO's wife Molly "she is definitely teutonic, Viennese actually, plump, attractive embonpoint, blonde, singer in light opera and operetta."; the Ser "apparently the high-priest of the Symbolists and a founder of the Rose+Croix. So very interesting company and as far as the ladies are concerned quite a nest of nightingales." This house-party lasts from the 14th to the 17th May. Castillon grumbles about being alone following the desertion of Semiramis but nevertheless confesses to enjoying himself immensely.
Twyford identified (to his own satisfaction) most of the personages behind the initials and Castillon given pseudonyms as follows:-
CD = Claude Debussy who was a member of Rose+Croix
EB = His lover, Emma Bardac, later his wife.
P = Paderewski
Leconte = Pierre Louys
Marcel = Proust
JO = Johann Orth
Ser (sic) should be Sar = Josephin Peladin
This diary entry reads like a yearbook of some of the most distinguished artists, writers, and personages of 1900. Sounds almost too good to be true. Could all of these stars of the age have possibly come together at the medieval castle of Cabrieres in the Causses of France on the specified dates (May 14, 15, 16, 17 1900)?
As much as I wanted to believe (even though no evidence whatsoever has as yet been provided of this diary's existence beyond words), I began to notice some inaccuracies in the account. The first of these was the line:
JB described as La Diva's manager
"La Diva" as pertains to the Castillon Diary is identified as Emma Calve, one of the greatest sopranos of all time. During the year 1900 Calve was singing under contract with the Grau Opera Company, the entity that held the lease of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The Grau Opera Company took its name from Metropolitan Opera General Manager Maurice Grau whose tenure was from 1898 to 1903. During this year of 1900 Emma Calve was under the exclusive management of Grau as she had been previously, and still was after 1900. When I pointed out this fact in this post
I provided scans of contemporary newspaper accounts that in no uncertain terms confirm the professional relationship between Emma Calve and Maurice Grau as that of artist and manager. At this time I also introduced the idea that the pianist I. J. Paderewski(P in the Castillon account) was touring America, as well as putting the finishing touches on his opera Manru
which would premiere the following year. I also mentioned that Paderewski and Grau were acquainted with each other at this time, and thus P would have known that JB were not the initials of Calve's manager. The veracity of the newspapers was challenged by Hugo Furst:
Hugo Furst wrote:
Then the initials bit. Who is to say if in esoteric circles that Grau dude didn't go by a'nuvver handle as Twyford seems to think he did. Point I make is, Emma baby only had 1 manager, yes? uh, folks there is a 'thang' called the ergo factor, yes?
BTW, use of doubles has happened many times thruout history. The fact Emma wasn't able to sing and had to cancel her opera dates, tells me, that was a cover pretense so that she could be else where durin' that time and could re-surface in say Havana, etc. Just look at who owned the NY Times, need I say more? Thorstein's bit of research only re-inforces this cover story IMHO.
There were more posts following, and even though it is well documented and demonstrable that Maurice Grau was the one and only manager of Emma Calve in the month of May 1900, the doubters still refused to accept the truth. Renne(the author of the afore mentioned UFO Digest article on the Castillon Diary) had this to say:
The mgr. you mention was the mgr. for the American tour.
The "Orient" performances were in Russia where the opera season is in the winter. Emma Calve returned by ship to Paris earlier in May to perform at the Paris Exposition and afterwards she and her friends returned to her castle for a get-together. Rodrigo was a newspaper reporter who covered the arts and Calve, he was a big fan and she appreciated his articles about her.
I then replied:
Even worse! For him not to know the name Maurice Grau as a reporter of the arts is almost unforgivable. Before the Met, Grau had dealings at Covent Garden. His name was well known in the European opera circles. It was in London that he met Paderewski. How could a reporter who most likely had written of Grau previously inexplicably refer to him as JB instead of GM in his diary??
Great articles, very informative. I don`t think that newspaper reviews of her performances would have included the name of her mgr. The guests were new to him and only introduced using their initials.
The intrinsic problem I see with Emma Calve's involvement in this Diary is that whoever is writing these entries shows a very rudimentary understanding of the world of opera which Calve is inseparable from. Mary Bennett herself said Castillon was an art reporter... if that's the case, his lack of knowledge makes him untrustworthy, and makes you wonder whether he simply would have invented a review of Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable rather than sit through it. I understand how some people could find it not easily approachable, or be star-struck by the costumes and the orchestra, but it is a performing art which is dissected, reviewed, and captured on a daily basis. There is hardly any aspect of opera, its performers, and peripheral characters that is not documented.
After this exchange, Team Castillon continued to stick to their guns:
JB, JB, who could that possibly be?!!
I wonder whether Alexius could tell us.
Here`s a clue, JB would not be a good escort for a visit to a priest,
you would need someone else for that.
Notice that up to this point no reasonable explanation for why "JB" would have been introduced as Emma Calve's manager has been fielded by Team Castillon (Renne, alexius, twyford, Hugo Furst) Though it has not been posted by them yet
that JB could possibly refer to Jules Bois, I will say this in the case that after today that suggestion is put forth. It is true that Jules Bois and Emma Calve were engaged, but they did not announce it until 1903 (published in NYT), and they never did marry. There is a report from the years after 1900 that states that although there were rumours that Emma Calve was to be married, she never did. This is two suitors AFTER Bois. The only question here is, why would a not-yet-fiance be introduced as a "manager" in the presence of people who were acquainted with the real manager?
I decided then to turn my attention to the matter of dates. The Wikipedia entry for Calve's 1899-1900 year says only "Travel in Orient." This would present a perfect opportunity for a journal to appear that sheds light on this vaguely described year. However, my involvement with opera told me that the diary was by far too convenient, and inaccurate to be believed.
The Castillon Diary asserts that:
This house-party lasts from the 14th to the 17th May
Let us see where Emma (the owner of the castle/hostess) was on these dates. For this portion of my research I used mainly the British Library's British Newspaper Archive. Each scan contains information on the name of the publication, the date published, and the issue number if available.
The New York Times reports that the opera season at Covent Garden, London opened on Monday, 14 May 1900:
But as Hugo/Jake doesn't trust the NYT, let's turn to the Brits themselves:
On Saturday, 12 May 1900 The London Graphic reports that Mme. Calve will likely take the stage on Thursday, 17 May 1900
On Friday, 18 May 1900 The Pall Mall Gazette confirms that Emma Calve made her season debut on Thursday, 17 May just as The Graphic said:
Also on Friday, 18 May 1900 the Glasgow Herald's London correspondent confirms that Calve performed on the 17th, and adds one more piece of information- Emma Calve arrived in London THE NIGHT BEFORE her performance
What does this mean for the Castillon Diary? It means that if Emma Calve arrived in London on Wednesday(16th) evening, she was traveling that entire day as well. Her castle in the Cevennes is rather a long way from London. Using transportation and the infrastructure available to her in her remote part of southern France in 1900 how long do you suppose that trip might take? This of course precludes her from shuttling back and forth from Cabrieres to London to spend time with her friends during the four days Castillon claims she was in residence. The critics who submitted reports to their journals are to be considered eye-witnesses, as they were present in the theatre and laid eyes on Calve and place her in London on the 16th and 17th of May. Their accounts appear in different publications and so corroborate each other. What kind of hostess leaves her "get together" halfway?
Emma Calve WAS NOT
, by published eye-witness testimony, in her castle in France on the 16th and 17th of May 1900. Castillon is wrong about this, just as he was wrong about the initials of Emma Calve's manager. What else could this diary entry have gotten wrong?
As demonstrated in a previous post of mine, during the Spring of 1900, pianist and composer I. J. Paderewski was on a North American recital tour sponsored by Steinway and making his way from West to East across the U.S. Mainland. Castillon says Paderewski was at Emma Calve's castle from 14 May to 17 May, 1900:
P a Polish exile, a pianist ... Twyford identified (to his own satisfaction) most of the personages ... P = Paderewski
Unfortunately for Team Castillon, Paderewski was placed in New York on the evening of May 12, as he gave a recital at Carnegie Hall (Birmingham Daily Post). The article also tell us that Mr. Paderewski "sails for England in the Oceanic on the 16th inst."
There is only one conclusion... Paderewski was categorically NOT on the European continent on the 14th, 15th, or 16th of May.
As an Atlantic crossing by ship in those days was at least a 2 to 3 day affair, it is safe to say that he was not on the European continent on the 17th or 18th of May either thereby missing the entire party. Castillon asserting that Paderewski was in France during those dates crosses the line from factual inaccuracy to flat out fabrication and dishonesty.
1. An anonymous man posts a Castillon diary entry he received from another anonymous man (Colin H.?), sight-unseen.
2. Castillon was wrong about the name of Emma Calve's manager, a man he would have known if he was any type of reporter on the arts. If he reviewed Calve's performances, he was there. If he was there, he had a playbill. In the playbills the name Maurice Grau appears prominently wherever the name Emma Calve appears, just as in the newspapers.
3. Castillon claims Emma Calve was present at her castle in France from May 14-17 1900. As I have shown she was not in France, but in London on the 16th and 17th, facts backed up by multiple published sources.
4. Castillon lies
about the presence of Ignacy Jan Paderewski at Calve's castle. If the "get together" took place from the 14th to the 17th of May 1900, Paderewski could not have been there as he boarded a ship in an American port on the 16th for a trip that would take 2 to 3 days. He could not have possibly reached European shores until after the party was over.
5. No single shred of evidence for the existence of this diary has ever been presented beyond the posted words(and only words) of Renne (Mary Alice Bennett), alexius, twyford, and Hugo Furst.
The Castillon diary is riddled with inaccuracies, anachronisms, and blatant lies. I am not the first to point out errors and inconsistencies contained in the journal entries( a search of the posted contents of this site will reveal that this diary was suspect from the beginning). Given this it is safe to say that the Castillon diary is a fabrication in its entirety. The case for authenticity is not helped by the refusal of the perpetrators of this hoax to provide any images or submit the journal for independent verification. As I said a few days ago:
You cannot reveal that which does not exist, eo ipso the Castillon diary does not exist.R.I.P. Castillon Diary
edit- spelling fails