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Manfred Boetzkes

(b ?Cesena, c1605; d Vienna, July 21, 1655). Italian stage designer and architect. His first known works as an artist were the tournament theatre and stage designs for Marazzoli’s Le pretensioni del Tebro e del Po (1642, Ferrara). These show the influence of Alfonso Rivarola (‘il Chenda’), whose pupil he may have been and whom he may have succeeded as stage designer and engineer at the Teatro SS Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, about 1640, where he probably staged operas by Monteverdi. He was active there in 1643 and 1651 and may have built the small Teatro SS Apostoli (opened 1648), for which he directed and designed until 1651. With his brother Marc’Antonio he was summoned to Vienna by Ferdinand III in 1651, and until his death, assisted by his son Ludovico Ottavio, he was responsible for the décor of the operatic and festive productions at the imperial court....

Article

Manfred Boetzkes

(b ?Mantua, 1636; d Vienna, Dec 12, 1707). Italian stage designer and architect, son of Giovanni Burnacini. He went to Vienna in 1651 as his father’s assistant and pupil. After his father’s death (1655) he at first succeeded him as stage designer at the imperial court, but on 30 June 1657 he was dismissed by the new emperor, Leopold I, in favour of G.B. Angelini. Re-engaged from 1 January 1659, for nearly five decades he designed all the stage sets, machines and costumes for the theatrical performances, sacre rappresentazioni, festivals and memorial ceremonies of the Viennese court. He also did architectural work, including the building of the new court theatres, 1666–8.

Burnacini’s unique scenic imagination stamped Viennese opera in the 17th century – the works of Bertali, Cesti, Draghi and the Zianis – with an unmistakable imprint. Surpassing even the masterly theatrical machinery of his father, he developed a spectacular style of courtly stage design, particularly in the great ‘homage operas’ of the 1660s and 70s (e.g. Cesti’s ...

Article

C. Truesdell

revised by Murray Campbell

(b La Flèche, March 24, 1653; d Paris, July 9, 1716). French acoustician. In 1670 he went to Paris, where he attended the lectures of the Cartesian physicist Rohault; his works do not display the knowledge of advanced mathematics that characterizes the scientific progress of the age of Newton, although he held a chair of mathematics for a decade. He was elected to membership of the Académie des Sciences (1696), which left him free to develop his interest in acoustics. He thoroughly mastered the idea of frequency and was the first to interpret beats correctly. He also introduced the terms ‘acoustique’ (acoustics), ‘son harmonique’ (harmonic sound) and ‘noeud’ (node). His papers, though not so original as he may have thought them, were fairly clear and descriptive; they were very widely read, and certainly they had great effect upon the centrally important work of Daniel Bernoulli a quarter of a century later. He suffered from a speech defect and is said to have had no ear for music. His works include ...

Article

Manfred Boetzkes

[Jacopo]

(b ?Fano, Sept 1, 1608; dFano, June 17, 1678). Italian stage designer, engineer and architect. He was probably trained as an architect and engineer, but he may also have been a pupil of the stage designers Niccolò Sabbatini and Francesco Guitti. He was working as an engineer in the Venice Arsenal around 1640, when he designed the Teatro Novissimo, Venice’s fourth public opera house, built in 1641. He invented a new system of stage machinery which for the first time enabled the whole set to be changed in one operation: the wings were supported on undercarriages running on rails beneath the stage, and were moved by turning a central roller to which the undercarriages were attached by ropes. In the next few years Torelli designed the sets for all the operas staged in the Teatro Novissimo, and occasionally worked for the Teatro di SS Giovanni e Paolo as well. Summoned to Paris in ...

Article

Paul Sheren

revised by Jérôme de La Gorce

(b Reggio nell’Emilia, c1623; d ?Paris, Feb 17, 1713). Italian theatre architect and scene designer, son of Gaspare Vigarani. With his brother Lodovico, he accompanied his father to Paris in 1659, and in 1662 was invited back by Louis XIV to design court entertainments. As part of a triumvirate with Lully and Molière, he was responsible for a series of festivities mostly at Versailles in 1664, 1668 and 1674. These stand among the most exquisite and sumptuous entertainments of the period. Each consisted of several divertissements, comedy-ballets or operas commissioned for the occasion, including La Princesse d’Elide, George Dandin, Les fêtes de l’Amour et de Bacchus, Alceste (Quinault–Lully), and Le malade imaginaire (Molière-Charpentier). In 1673 he received French citizenship and in 1679 was appointed ‘inventor of machines for theatres, ballets and royal festivities’. With Lully, he directed the Académie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opéra) according to the ‘Act de Société’ of ...

Article

Paul Sheren

(b Reggio nell’Emilia, Feb 20, 1588; d Modena, Sept 9, 1663). Italian theatre architect and scene designer . He was active as a designer of machinery for festivities at Reggio nell’Emilia by 1618. From the 1630s, if not before, he was employed by the Duke of Modena, and in 1635 was promoted to ‘engineer and general superintendent of buildings’. In 1640 and 1651 he took part in the design of theatres at Capri Modena and Mantua. In 1659 Cardinal Mazarin invited him to Paris to supervise the entertainments planned for the marriage of Louis XIV; for this occasion he constructed the Salle des Machines in the Palais des Tuileries and designed the inaugural production there, Cavalli’s Ercole amante (with additional ballets by Lully), performed, after considerable delay, in 1662. This production, with its spectacular stage machinery and scenic effects, was a major factor in the prominence enjoyed by Italian theatrical art in France for the next century. The theatre itself marked the transition from the pre-Baroque amphitheatre auditorium, which then prevailed in Paris, to the Italian opera house with perspective wing-stage and horseshoe auditorium. G.L. Bernini criticized it (...