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Roland J. Vázquez

(de)

(b Portugal, 1836; d Madrid, May 21, 1886). Spanish impresario, actor and singer. He first became popular in comic roles at theTeatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid. In 1866 he formed his own company, the Bufos Madrileños, modelled on Offenbach’s Bouffes-Parisiens. It was an instant success. By 1870 he had begun a second company in Barcelona. In addition to operettas by Offenbach and Lecocq, Arderíus staged new works by Spanish composers, including F. A. Barbieri and P. J. E. Arrieta.The dance routines and brief costumes of the female chorus were indispensable to the appeal of the Bufos, and were among the features that incited critics to condemn the genre as frivolous and a hindrance to the development of serious opera in Spanish. By the beginning of 1873 the company’s popularity had ended, and Arderíus had become director at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. Thereafter he championed the cause of national opera, attempting, without success, to launch a Spanish opera series in ...

Article

Bertil H. van Boer

(b Stockholm, Aug 10, 1757; d Vaxhälla, March 17, 1810). Swedish actor, singer and librettist . He made his début as an actor as Count Almaviva in Beaumarchais’ play Le barbier de Séville in 1785 at the New Swedish Theatre, where he became well known for his comic roles and original opera librettos, mostly written for Carl Stenborg’s comic opera. In 1790 he became an administrator at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, a position he held until after Gustavus III’s assassination in 1792. In 1794 he turned to publishing in the provincial town of Linköping. During his career he supplied the texts for more than 65 one-act comedies with music, including the Singspiels Födelsedagen (‘The Birthday’, 1790), Fricorpsen eller Dalkarlarne (‘The Free Corps or Men from Dalacarlia’, 1788) and Marknaden (‘The Market Place’, 1792), all with music by Kraus. His tenor voice was considered expressive but fairly weak; his main talent as an actor lay in his satirical portrayals of figures such as Abbé Vogler in the first of the operas named above....

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

[Evans, John ]

(d New York, Aug 6, 1793). English tenor and actor . After appearing in Norwich and briefly at the King’s Theatre he was taken on by John Beard at Covent Garden, making his début there as Young Meadows in Love in a Village (November 1766). A handsome man, he was admired more for his singing than his acting. For nine seasons after Beard’s retirement in 1767 he shared the tenor parts in English operas and afterpieces with George Mattocks, generally taking the subordinate role. He was the first Antonio in The Duenna and played Hastings in the première of She Stoops to Conquer. He sang in Haymarket summer seasons, appeared in burlettas at Marylebone Gardens (1774) and worked in Ireland and the provinces. From 1780 to 1782 he was at Drury Lane, where his last new role was Summers in the comic opera The Fair American...

Article

[Metzler, Johann Georg]

(b Augsburg, 1761; d Dublin, March 5, 1833). German actor and dramatist. He studied law and later natural science at the University of Göttingen. From 1783 to 1801 he worked on various German and Austrian stages as a minor actor and translator of plays and comic operas. In early 1789 he joined the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna. His adaptation that year of Sophie Seyler’s Hüon und Amande as Oberon, König der Elfen for Paul Wranitzky became his most successful libretto. Gieseke’s later texts for Schikaneder are mostly translations, adaptations, or travesties. In 1796 Schikaneder appointed him theatrical poet to the Theater auf der Wieden.

In 1801 Gieseke left the theatre to pursue his interests in natural science. He spent over seven years in Greenland, and in 1813 was appointed professor of mineralogy at Dublin. On a visit to Vienna in 1818–19 Gieseke purportedly claimed authorship of the bulk of the text to ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b Kilkenny, ?1 Aug 1749; d London, Dec 26, 1828). Irish tenor and actor . After several years in a cavalry regiment he became a singer on the Dublin stage in 1775, playing Lionel in Lionel and Clarissa and other musical heroes. From October 1783 he sang in London, making his début again as Lionel, followed by Macheath, Lord Ainsworth (The Maid of the Mill) and Dermot in the première of Shield’s Irish opera, The Poor Soldier. He was tall, handsome, charming and a good actor. His upper voice, a very sweet falsetto, was much admired, but the transition to his lower voice was abrupt, and Haydn, hearing him in The Woodman (1791), found him most unmusical. With the coming of Incledon in 1790 he gradually lost his opera roles and became a specialist in the comic Irish parts in which, long before his retirement in ...

Article

[Francis]

(b ?Paris, 1799; d Soisy-sous-Etiolles, Corbeil, nr Paris, Sept 25, 1841). French actor and impresario. He came from a theatrical family; his father, Jacques François Laporte (1775–1841), was the celebrated Harlequin of the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris for over 30 years. The younger Laporte also appeared in comic French roles at the Vaudeville, 1822–6, and in Brussels (1823) and London (1824), making his début on the English stage at Drury Lane in November 1826. The following year he joined the Haymarket company and by the beginning of 1828 was involved with one Laurent, the manager of the Italian opera in Paris, in a scheme to run the King’s Theatre, London. Laurent soon withdrew and Laporte actively managed the theatre for the next 13 years (apart from the 1832 season, when Monck Mason was in charge and Laporte himself was lessee of Covent Garden)....

Article

Bonnie Elizabeth Fleming

(b Harrisburg, PA, March 2, 1921). American singing actress, producer, stage director, and teacher. Possessing a wide range of performing skills, she is known for undertaking challenging operatic roles such as Birdie and Regina in Mark Blitzstein’s Regina (1949, 1953, and 1958) and Lizzie in Jack Beeson’s Lizzie Borden (1965). She worked on Broadway, in light opera, on radio and television, and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Lewis attended Penn State University and was encouraged by its Glee Club director to audition for a scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she went on to study with Emilio de Gogorza. After her teacher suddenly left the Institute, Lewis auditioned and made her debut with the Philadelphia Opera Company at the age of 19 in the role of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. A remarkably quick study, Lewis absorbed music and words in any language almost on the spot, a gift to which she attributes most of her early success. In ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b 1734/5; d Edinburgh, Aug 14, 1804). English tenor, actor and theatre manager . As a boy he sang at the London fairs and then had three seasons at Drury Lane (1749–52), creating the role of Palaemon in Boyce’s The Chaplet. His adult singing career was principally at Covent Garden, where he appeared every year from 1757 to 1784. O’Keeffe remembered him as ‘tall and well made’ and Hugh Kelly admired his ‘tender strain, so delicately clear’. He sang many romantic leading roles in English operas, retaining most of them until the early 1780s. He was the first Thomas in Love in a Village, Lord Aimsworth in The Maid of the Mill, Tom in Tom Jones and Ferdinand in The Duenna. Mattocks often sang with his wife, formerly Isabella Hallam, with whom he had eloped in 1765. He managed summer seasons in the provinces for many years and in ...

Article

Hugh Canning

(b Geneva, Aug 2, 1942). Swiss actor and director . He studied at the University of Geneva and was trained as an actor with François Simon and as a director at the Berliner Ensemble, in East Berlin. He worked first as an actor and director at the Atelier de Genève, which he founded in 1963. From 1975 to 1981 he was director of the Théâtre de Carouge. Since 1981 he has been a freelance opera and theatre director. His first important production was The Turn of the Screw at Geneva (1981) and his productions since have included Death in Venice (Scottish Opera and Geneva, 1983), La traviata for Opera North (1985, Leeds), Der Ring des Nibelungen (1985–7, Seattle), Cardillac (1988, Berne), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1989, Seattle) and Parsifal (1989, Berne). His work is notable for its narrative clarity and sober neo-classicism....

Article

John C. MacInnis

(b London, England, Dec 27, 1911; d Batemans Bay, Australia, Oct 18, 2006). American English singer, comedienne, and musical parodist. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, she aspired to a career as an opera singer. She performed in several opera productions in the UK and sang for the BBC in the 1930s. Initial successes as a musical parodist began in 1940 after Russell moved to Toronto, Canada, with her mother and especially after her famous recital at Town Hall, New York, in 1951.

Through the 1950s Russell performed and recorded extensively. She appeared in opera productions (e.g. New York City Opera, Hansel and Gretel, 1953) and on Broadway (e.g. Anna Russell’s Little Show, 1955). She often styled herself as a mock-music appreciation teacher; for example, she instructed audiences on “How to Write your own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera,” comically explained the plots of famous works like Wagner’s ...