May 19, 1906, at the Venice Auditorium, Mme. Sarah Bernhardt appeared in "La Tosca" as part of her Farewell, America tour--only five years after her first Farewell America tour. Of course, those who missed the 1906 tour could always catch the 1915 Farewell tour.
Hey, she was the greatest actress that ever lived, according to some. If she wanted to call her tours farewell performances, no one argued with her. (If I were really savvy, I'd figure out how to serenade you with "Time to Say Goodbye" as you read.)
Did you know that the opera Tosca was based on the play, written explicitly for the Divine Sarah? This picture is from her Wiki bio, and was taken by Nadar, before 1910.
Brokers in Los Angeles were selling a thousand tickets for $2 and $3--and that included the round trip to Venice-of-America from downtown. Of course, there were also the precious $4 and $5 seats.
On May 18th, the French residents of Los Angeles headed west to Venice and stormed the actress' private car (a railroad car, borrowed from the NY Vanderbilts). They were told by her press agent, "Madame never rises before 2 o'clock and is never visible before 3."
C'est la vie. Since it was after 3, the insistent fans got to meet with their idol and present her with roses. You can read the entire Los Angeles Express article, and a few others beside, at George Garriques' website. You can also read the Los Angeles Times' somewhat snarky review of "La Tosca" here.
This undated picture of the Venice Auditorium as from the Santa Monica Library archives. It sat on the Abbot Kinney pier, seated 3000, and had just been completed the summer before Mme's tour.
Garriques says that Mme. Sarah was brought to Venice by Abbot Kinney because Los Angeles theater owners had boycotted the famous actress. Why did they do that? Well, she dressed in men's clothing to perform men's roles. And not shabby little cross-dressing comedies mind you, but--Hamlet! Their prudish refusal to book the Divine Sarah resulted in a huge coup for Abbot Kinney, who dined with the actress before her shows and made big bucks from the performances.Find out almost anything about Venice History at Jeffrey Stanton's website.