RACHEL, the stage name of Eliza Rachel Felix (1821–1858), French actress and one of the world's greatest tragediennes. Born in Switzerland, Rachel was the daughter of a peddler, Jacob Felix, who took his large family to Paris. She was singing with her sisters in the streets when she was heard by the singing master, Etienne Choron, who undertook to give her free instruction. Under his sponsorship, she attended drama classes and the conservatoire, and at the age of 17 played at the Théâtre Gymnase. The leading Paris critic, Jules Janin of the Journal de Débats, was the only one to perceive her quality, and saw his enthusiasm vindicated when, in 1838, she entered the Comédie-Française and achieved success in Corneille's Horace. Thereafter her career was one of fame and notoriety. Rachel was slight of build and by some considered plain; but on the stage she had beauty, charm, and power. Though she had little formal education, her supreme dramatic achievement was in the French classics, especially Corneille and Racine, in which she replaced the declamatory style of the period with vitality and passion. She appeared in some contemporary plays, including Adrienne Lecouvreur, written for her by Legouvé and Scribe. Her greatest performance was in Racine's Phèdre; it was described as "an apocalypse of human agony." The notoriety attending Rachel's name arose from her private life. She never married, but she had two children, one by Count Colonna-Walewski, an illegitimate son of Napoleon. She was also the mistress at different times of the poet Alfred de Musset, the Prince de Joinville, and a nephew of Napoleon, Prince Jerome. She first appeared in London in 1841 and subsequently toured the Continental capitals, including St. Petersburg. Her tour of the United States in 1855 proved to be the end of her career, for the tubercular condition from which she suffered became worse, and she never acted again. At her funeral, the chief rabbi of the Consistory of Paris delivered an oration in Hebrew. Rachel's brother RAPHAEL (1825–1872), and her sisters SARAH (1819–1877), LIA (1828–1908), REBECCA (1829–1854), and DINAH (1836–1909) all had theatrical careers of varying success. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.E. Agate, Rachel (Eng., 1928); B. Falk, Rachel the Immortal (1936); J. Richardson, Rachel (Eng., 1956). (Ravelle Brickman)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • RACHEL — (Heb. רָחֵל), matriarch of Israel, wife of jacob and the mother of joseph and Benjamin. Her name means ewe, while that of her sister leah means cow. She was the younger daughter of laban , brother of Rebekkah. Rachel first appears as a… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Rachel — (Hebrew Name|רחל|Raḥel|Rāḫēl, Rāḥēl ; meaning ewe [Campbell, Mike [http://www.behindthename.com/name/rachel Behind the Name] ] ) is the second and favorite wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin, first mentioned in the Book of Genesis of …   Wikipedia

  • Rachel — steht für: Rachel (Vorname), weiblicher Vorname; Namensträgerinnen siehe dort Rachel (Bibel) (auch Rahel), biblische Gestalt Rachel (Schauspielerin) (1820–1858), französische Schauspielerin Rachel (Dichterin) (1890–1931), hebräische Dichterin… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rachel — • Mother of Joseph and Benjamin, and love of Jacob Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Rachel     Rachel     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • RACHEL — Personnage biblique (en hébreu, râchel : «brebis mère»; cf. Gen., XXXI, 38) qui, dans l’histoire des Patriarches, est la fille de l’Araméen Laban et la femme préférée de Jacob (Gen., XXIX, 6 30). Elle est la mère de Joseph (Gen., XXX, 22 24) et… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Rachel's — Pays d’origine Louisville (Kentucky),Kentucky,  États Unis Genre musical minimaliste Années d activ …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rachel Z — Rachel Z. in München (2002) Rachel Z (eigentlich Rachel Carmel Nicolazzo; * 28. Dezember 1962 in Manhattan) ist eine US amerikanische Jazz Pianistin. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • RACHEL — (first century C.E.), wife of . The daughter of kalba savua , one of the three richest men of Jerusalem, Rachel secretly married Akiva, who was ignorant and her father s shepherd, because she saw in him a man of modest and noble character. When… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Rachel — Outre les départements d Outre Mer, c est en Haute Savoie que le nom est le plus porté. Il correspond au prénom biblique Rachel (hébreu rahel = brebis) porté par la femme préférée de Jacob (mère de Joseph et de Benjamin) …   Noms de famille

  • Rachel — Rachel1 [rā′chəl] n. [LL(Ec) < Gr(Ec) Rhachēl < Heb rachel, lit., ewe] 1. a feminine name: dim. Rae 2. Bible the younger of the two wives of Jacob, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin: Gen. 29 35 Rachel2 [rȧ shel′] (born Élisa Félix) 1820?… …   English World dictionary

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