On show at the Alcazar Library in Marseilles until 26 January 2019 and co-produced by BNP Paribas and Thomas Sertillanges, Chairperson of the Friends of the Cyrano de Bergerac Museum, the exhibition is an opportunity to talk not only of the famous Cyrano and equally renowned Edmond Rostand, but also the banker uncle Alexis Rostand, another member of this extraordinary family of Marseilles.
The Rostands are an extraordinary old family from Marseilles (France). Members of the Rostand family were entrepreneurs, merchants, ship owners and bankers, and often eminent philanthropists who were not just excellent musicians, but also talented poets. They sailed across the Mediterranean and shaped social life in Marseilles all while composing music.
Among them, Alexis Rostand (1844-1919), uncle and godfather of Edmond Rostand, spent fifty years of his life working at the Comptoir national d’escompte de Paris (CNEP), a forerunner to BNP Paribas. In 1868, he joined the bank as assistant director of the new Marseilles branch and became Director of the CNEP in 1908. Throughout his career, he continued to compose and write about music.
Until 26 January 2019, the Alcazar Library in Marseilles will be hosting an exhibition based on the collection that Thomas Sertillanges, Chairperson of the 2018 Edmond Rostand Festival, put together with enthusiasm, tracing the unique story behind Cyrano de Bergerac, one of the most popular plays in French theatre.
Combined with documents from the Historical Archives of BNP Paribas, it highlights and compares the different views and perspectives of Edmond and Alexis, whose stories and destinies throw light on the 2,600+ lines of this great favourite among audiences. Their strong Mediterranean roots and exuberant activity characterised these flexible, committed spirits, both artist and economist, “who juggled with music notes and rhymes as easily as they did with millions”. An opportunity to (re)discover a musician banker whose values inspired his management style and that of his successors, and who could very well have uttered the words that his nephew Edmond put in the mouth of Cyrano:
“My moral grooming is impeccable.”