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commedia dell'arte

An improvised kind of popular comedy in Italian theatres in the 16th–18th centuries, based on stock characters. Actors adapted their comic dialogue and action according to a few basic ...

commedia dell'arte

commedia dell'arte   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature
Length:
129 words

... dell'arte A popular, unscripted form of comedy, which developed in Italy in the sixteenth century and flourished there until the 18th century. Commedia dell'arte , so called to distinguish it from literary, scripted commedia erudita , was performed by troupes of professional actors and was characterized by stock roles and minimal scenarios which actors amplified by improvisation and shared experience. Some if not all the actors wore masks, and in time the names of certain characters became stereotypes, in particular the servants Harlequin,...

commedia dell'arte

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The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Literature
Length:
86 words

... dell'arte A popular, unscripted form of comedy, which developed in Italy in the sixteenth century and flourished there until the 18th century; the name distinguishes it from literary, scripted commedia erudita . Some if not all the actors wore masks, and the names of certain characters became stereotypes, in particular the servants Harlequin, Pulcinella, and Colombine, and the ridiculous old man Pantaloon. In Italy commedia dell'arte was superseded by the theatrical reforms of Carlo Goldoni , but its influence continued in England in pantomime and...

Commedia dell’arte

Commedia dell’arte   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

... dellarte (Italian, ‘comedy of art’) A type of popular theatre that originated in Italy and flourished throughout Europe in the 16th–18th centuries. It featured a number of stock characters, e.g. harlequin , Pantaloon ( see pantaloons ) and scaramouch , who improvised around any of a set of stock situations, usually involving a complicated romantic liaison. The character of Punch ( see punch and judy ) derives from commedia dellarte...

commedia dell'arte

commedia dell'arte   Reference library

The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
History, Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
Length:
212 words

... dell'arte , A genre of improvised drama which flourished in Italy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and exercised an important influence on French drama, where it evolved into the comédie italienne . The phrase commedia dell'arte carries the sense of comedy improvised by the profession (of actors), and so distinguishes the genre from the written plays of the commedia erudita . The contemporary names for the genre are indicative of its most prominent features: commedia a soggetto is indicative of the practice of improvising within the...

Commedia Dell'arte

Commedia Dell'arte   Reference library

The International Encyclopedia of Dance

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Performing arts, Dance, Music
Length:
3,716 words

.... The Commedia dell'Arte . New York, 1912. Stoppato, Lorenzo . La commedia popolare in Italia . Padua, 1887. Studies in the Commedia dell'Arte . David J. George and Christopher J. Gossip , eds. Cardift, 1993. Tani, Gino . Storia della danza dalle origini ai nostri giorni . 3 vols. Florence, 1983. Taviani, Ferdinando . La commedia dell'arte e la società barocca: La fascinazione del teatro . Rome, 1969. Taviani, Ferdinando , and Mirella Schino . Il segreto della commedia dell'arte . 2d ed. Florence, 1986. Tessari, Roberto . La commedia dell'arte nel...

commedia dell'arte

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World Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Encyclopedias
Length:
62 words

... dell'arte Style of Italian comedy, popular from the mid-16th to late-18th century, which spread throughout Europe. Professional players performed on street stages or at court functions. Plays were comic, often coarse, and crudely improvized on briefly outlined scenarios. Commedia produced several (now standard) masked characters: Harlequin (clown), Capitano (braggart soldier), Pantalone (deceived father or cuckolded husband), Colombina (maid) and Inamorato...

commedia dell’arte

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Jane Kingsley-Smith

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...number of his plays reflect the traditions of the commedia , in particular Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Tempest . Jane Kingsley-Smith Lea, K. M. , Italian Popular Comedy: A Study in the Commedia dellArte 1560–1620 (2 vols.,...

commedia dell'arte

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Sarah Hibberd

The Oxford Companion to Music

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011
Subject:
Music
Length:
228 words

...commedia dell'arte . A form of semi-improvised Italian comic theatre popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. It made use of stock scenes ( lazzi ), characters, and masks. The plots usually concerned customs surrounding marriage and procreation, while mocking the earthier aspects of love and sex, and punning on gender reversals. Much of the humour was physical, ranging through gesture, dance, and acrobatics. Modern companies like the Cirque du Soleil still model their practices on the commedia dell'arte , but perhaps the best-known form in which it survives is...

Commedia dell'arte

Commedia dell'arte   Reference library

The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
114 words

... dell'arte . Italian popular theatre, first brought to France in the 16th c. It was originally a theatre of improvisation, relying on the reappearance of stock types, or masks, such as the servants Arlecchino [ see Arlequin ], Scaramuccia [ see Scaramouche ], Scapino , and Pedrolino (Pierrot), the old man Pantalone, and a pair of young lovers, whose desires form the basis of the plot. Acrobatics and physical business ( lazzi ) played a large part in this theatre, as did verbal wit and innuendo. The commedia was the origin of the ...

commedia dell'arte

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The Oxford Dictionary of Dance (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Performing arts, Dance, Music
Length:
78 words

...commedia dell'arte Italian improvised comic theatre popular from the 16th to 18th centuries, whose stock characters, such as Harlequin and Columbine, became familiar to audiences all over Europe. The form, which incorporated many dance-related elements such as acrobatics and pantomime, has provided the inspiration for many ballets, from Petipa 's Les Millions de Harlequin ( 1900 ), to Fokine 's Carnaval ( 1910 ), Massine 's Pulcinella ( 1920 ), and Tetley 's Pierrot lunaire ( 1962...

Commedia dell'Arte

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
157 words

...on glass and incorporated in marquetry panels on furniture. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/comm/hd_comm.htm Description and illustrations on Metropolitan Museum of Art website. http://www.gardinermuseum.on.ca/colview.aspx?&TopNavImage=&ImageID=&GroupName=Commedia%20dell%27Arte&Header=header_commedia_del.gif Description and illustrations on Gardiner Museum, Toronto...

commedia dell'arte

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The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
468 words

...via Copeau and Saint-Denis , George Devine , as well as attracting new followers in the post-1970s touring fringe groups. Terry Hodgson A. Allardyce Nicholl , The World of Harlequin (1963) G. Oreglia , The Commedia dell'Arte (1968) K. and L. Richards, The Commedia dell'Arte: A Documentary History (1990) J. Rudkin , Commedia dell'Arte (1994) The community play As produced by the Colway Theatre Trust, a relatively new form which bridges the gap between, amateur and professional theatre and introduces a new concept of theatre practice. These...

Commedia dell'Arte

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The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
1,287 words

...drama of this time was known as the commedia erudita . The chief companies of the commedia dell'arte in the 16th century were the Gelosi , with the Andreini family as their mainstay; the Desiosi, sometimes including Tristano Martinelli ; the Confidenti ; and the Uniti , under Drusiano Martinelli . The next generation carried on the tradition in the competing groups of the second Confidenti; the Accesi ; and the Fedeli , under the younger Andreini known as Lelio. Of the early patrons of the commedia dell'arte the Court of the Gonzaga at Mantua...

commedia dell’ arte

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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... dellarte The Italian term for ‘professional comedy’, a form of improvised comic performance popular between the 16th and 18th centuries in Italy, France, and elsewhere in Europe, acted in masks by travelling companies of professional actors each of whom specialized in a stock character . The plots involved intrigues carried on by young lovers and their servants against the rich father (‘Pantaloon’) of the leading lady (the ‘Inamorata’), and included stock characters like Harlequin , Pulcinella , and Scaramouche , who survive as part of theatrical...

commedia dell'arte

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Richard Andrews

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
1,980 words

... commedia dell'arte , with its reference to a trade guild, implies a ‘professional’ theatre which therefore also had always to remain ‘commercial’. See also early modern period in Europe; acting/actor . Richard Andrews Andrews, Richard , Scripts and Scenarios: the performance of comedy in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 1993) Ferrone, Siro , Attori mercanti corsari (Turin, 1993) Fitzpatrick, Tim , The Relationship of Oral and Literate Performance Processes in Commedia dell'Arte (Lewiston, 1995) Richards, Kenneth , and Richards, Laura , The Commedia...

Commedia dell'arte

Commedia dell'arte   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
1,102 words

... dell'arte . A name given to the Italian drama which flourished from the mid-16th to the early 18th c., and was distinct from the learned literary drama (or commedia erudita ) of the courts and academies by being primarily improvised by professional players [ see also Comedy ; Theatre , 1]. However, the term was not used until the 18th c., perhaps first by the dramatist Carlo Goldoni , noted for having effected a shift from improvised to scripted plays. What has come to be called the commedia dell'arte was variously called the commedia...

commedia dell'arte

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The Companion to Theatre and Performance

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
1,375 words

... dell'arte The term we use for this form of theatre (which means simply ‘professional *comedy ’) occurs late in its history. It is first found in a play by *Goldoni 1750 , refering to the ‘masked comedy’, ‘improvised comedy’ or even simply ‘Italian comedy’ which had been in existence since the mid-sixteenth century. The precise origins of commedia dell'arte in Italy are not well documented: the earliest surviving company contract dates from 1545 , and the earliest record of actresses appearing in public from 1548 . By the 1560s there were already...

commedia dell'arte troupe

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A Dictionary of Opera Characters (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
Music, Opera, Performing arts
Length:
80 words

... dell'arte troupe ( Strauss : Ariadne auf Naxos ). A troupe of comedians, hired by one of the richest men in Vienna to entertain his guests. They are led by Zerbinetta. Her male colleagues are Harlequin (bar.), Brighella (ten.), Truffaldino (bass), and Scaramuccio (ten.). The men were created ( 1912 vers.) by (respectively) Albin Swoboda , Franz Schwerdt , Reinhold Fritz , and Georg Meader ; and ( 1916 vers.) by (respectively) Herr Neuber , Adolph Nemeth , Julius Betetto , and Hermann Gallos . See also Zerbinetta...

commedia dell'arte

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New Oxford Rhyming Dictionary (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
46 words

... dell'arte • latte , maté, pâté, pattée, satay • concertante • backstay • commedia dell'arte, écarté, Jubilate • fouetté , jeté, mantellette • Deo volente • mainstay • décolleté • cinéma-vérité • diamanté • bobstay • homestay • forte , panforte, prêt-à-porter • forestay • sauté •...

commedia dell'arte

commedia dell'arte noun phrase   Reference library

The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2002
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
26 words

... dell'arte noun phrase L19 Italian (= comedy of art). The improvised popular comedy in Italian theaters between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries with stock...

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