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[secondary title]

The tradition of giving dramatic works alternative titles is an old one, belonging initially to spoken theatrical works. Most Shakespeare plays have alternative titles. Normally, the ‘alternative title’ is not a genuine alternative but is intended to be read alongside the principal title and to elucidate it or elaborate upon it. Examples are Campra’s Aréthuse, ou La vengeance de l’Amour (1701); Arne’s Thomas and Sally, or The Sailor’s Return (1760); Mozart’s Il dissoluto punito, ossia Il Don Giovanni (1787) and his Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (1790); Rossini’s Almaviva, ossia L’inutile precauzione (better known as Il barbiere di Siviglia, 1816) and Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia (1816); Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot, oder Die Novize von Palermo (1836); and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, or The Lass that Loved a Sailor (1878).

True alternative titles may also be found, particularly in the 18th century, when an opera was revised for a later performance. Cimarosa’s ...

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Murray Lefkowitz

A comic or grotesque interlude in a Masque , normally preceding the terminal dances of the masquers. There were usually more than one and they consisted of a variety of spoken dialogue, pantomime, singing and dancing. Unlike the grand masquing dances, which were performed by a group of nobility from the floor of the hall, antimasques were usually danced by professional actors from the stage.

In contrast to the serious matter of the main masque (allegory, mythology, deus ex machina) the themes of the antimasques concentrated on mundane humour and the bizarre: the low-class comedy of beggars, cripples and drunkards, housewives and shopkeepers, barmaids and chimney-sweeps, foreigners, criminals, soldiers and common labourers; the pantomimed antics of dancing birds, bears, cats, apes and baboons; and the fantastical capers of furies, witches, spirits, sprites, satyrs and other magical beings. The spoken burlesques, usually in low prose, often imitated folk characters and situations, as well as ...

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M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet

[ballet en action, ballet pantomime; pantomime ballet] (Fr.)

A stage work in which a dramatic story is conveyed through gesture, dance and instrumental music. It developed in part as a reaction against the divertissement in opera, in which dance is designed to delight the eye and depict a general mood, and the opera-ballet, where vocal music has an important role and plots are loosely constructed. Some consider it as analogous to the ‘reform opera’ of Gluck. Key exponents in France in the second half of the 18th century and the first part of the 19th were the choreographers Jean-Georges Noverre, Gaetano Vestris and the Gardel brothers. Their successors, among them Pierre Aumer and Filippo Taglioni, followed this tradition, and with changes in technique and costuming are credited with the creation of the Romantic ballet....

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Gillian M. Rodger

(b London, England, Feb 1834; d New York, NY, April 11, 1905). American composer, theater orchestra director, and arranger. Born in London’s East End, Braham’s musical education was gained largely through his early education at the British Union School. He initially played the harp, but switched to the violin and became a skilled performer by the time he was 18. Rather than embarking on a career as a professional musician, Braham became a brass turner, making tubing for brass instruments, and supplemented his income by performing in theatrical orchestras in the evenings. In 1856, in the wake of a cholera epidemic that took his mother’s life, he emigrated to New York, where he quickly found employment in theater orchestras. By 1857 he was a regular member of the orchestra attached to Matt Peel’s Campbell Minstrels, and remained with this company, despite personnel conflicts and the reforming of the troupe under a modified name, until ...

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Commercial name for the New York theater district. Few of the theaters are actually on Broadway, but many are in the Times Square area. The “Broadway” designation as a term, according to Actor’s Equity, refers to a theater with at least 500 seats; off-Broadway houses are smaller.

See Musical theater.

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John Rosselli

Opera does not readily lend itself to being sung by pre-adolescent children: their voices may sound sweet in church but are rarely strong enough to hold their own in a theatre among those of adults. Child characters are accordingly few and hard to cast: Yniold in Pelléas et Mélisande, whose childishness is insisted upon, usually sounds weak if sung by a treble, and looks buxom if by a woman; worse difficulties arise with the two important child characters in The Turn of the Screw, where Miles must be a treble and Flora a soprano older than the character. The Three Boys of Die Zauberflöte are in practice most often sung by women. Choruses of children are not uncommon: Act 1 of Carmen provides a well-known example.

Up to 1830–40, when orchestral writing in opera grew heavier, light voices could cope with many parts. Average life expectancy was about half that of today and young people started careers earlier. An opera début between 16 and 19 was common for women and, in Italy, for castratos, whose vocal development had not been interrupted by puberty. Some (such as Girolamo Crescentini) began as early as 13 or 14, but these were regarded as young adults. The cult of children in the theatre flowed from the new sense, identified with Rousseau, of childhood as a special and valuable stage. Spectacular 19th-century opera productions often used children as dancers or extras to rouse sentiment or amusement, whether the story called for them or not – a practice kept up by some modern opera houses even though the engagement of child performers is now strictly regulated by law, alternative casts have to be used and, in Britain, a children’s adviser employed. These regulations had to be fought for over many years against the public’s tendency to regard children as ‘cute’ without inquiring into their conditions of work....

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