The opera singer and her wedding

Alexandra CantatriceHer family made bad financial investments, so Alexandra had to make a living herself. In the beggining she started an artistic carrier which lasted for nearly 8 years.

Alexandra CantatriceAs an opera singer… she interpreted, with success on the stages throughout Europe, Africa and Asia: Marguerite in Faust of Gounod, Manon of Massenet, Carmen of Bizet…

Philippe NéelIn 1900, after putting an end to a carrier that she disliked, she found herself in Tunis, where she met Philippe Néel de saint Sauveur, son of a french family living in « Gard » in France.

Philippe NéelHe was a distinguished and a charming railroad ingenier then she persuaded to put an end to her and his celibacy. Alexandra’s father was extremely surprised to receive a proposal from Philippe Néel asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage..

 

LOUIS DAVID :

« Mister Néel, I am extremely surprised by your letter.Until the present day, my daughter has always expressed a firm reluctance to give up her freedom  and has always protested against  the inferiority which is imposed by the law on a woman after she’s married. Today your proposal has made me believe that she has radicaly changed her ideas. If this is true, then, mister Néel, I see no good  reason why I should refuse you permission to marry my daughter. »

In 1904, she was 36 when Philippe accepted the marriage which, after several months only, led her to the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Alexandra’s father died not long after the wedding.

L'Hirondelle, voilier de Philippe NéelAlexandra wasn’t suited to the role of housewife.  Philippe Néel realized this very early on in the marriage. He understood that she was always haunted by her overwhelming desire to travel. The little cruises on board of his sailboat « The Hirondelle », as well as the trips to the desert and in the north of Africa, were not enough to satisfy her needs.