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( fl 1719–42). Italian choreographer and dancer . He was probably a native of Florence, since he is often cited in librettos as ‘Francesco Aquilanti, Fiorentino’ or ‘da Firenze’. His early choreographic work was concentrated in Venice, where he provided ballets for 17 operas at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo (1721–34; including Leo’s Catone in Utica, Porpora’s Semiramide riconosciuta and works by Gasparini, Orlandini, Vinci and others), and for five operas during Ascension seasons at the Teatro S Samuele (1722–35; including Vivaldi’s Griselda). During this time he is also listed as a choreographer in Reggio Emilia (1725, Porpora’s Didone abbandonata) and as a dancer for opera productions in Turin (1727–8, 1729–30), along with Chiara Aquilanti who may have been his wife, sister or daughter. He spent two seasons in Naples as a choreographer, first for operas at the Teatro S Bartolomeo (1736–7...

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(b c1690; bur. Cowley, Middx, Jan 21, 1773). English dancer and actress. She made her début in 1706 at Drury Lane, London, where she was a leading dancer until she retired in 1733. John Weaver chose her for major roles in his innovative ‘dramatick entertainments in dancing’: Venus in The Loves of Mars and Venus (1717), Eurydice in Orpheus and Eurydice (1718), Andromeda in Perseus and Andromeda (1728, by Weaver and Roger) and Helen of Troy in The Judgment of Paris (1733). John Thurmond gave her dancing roles in his pantomimes for Drury Lane: both Daphne and a Nymph in Apollo and Daphne (1725), a Harlequin Woman in The Escapes of Harlequin (1722), Diana in the Masque of the Deities in Harlequin Doctor Faustus (1723) and Pomona in Harlequin's Triumph (1727). Mr Isaac and Anthony L'Abbé, dancing-masters at court and in the theatre, choreographed dances for her, seven of which were published in Beauchamp-Feuillet notation (...

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Neal Zaslaw

(b Lyons, c1720; d ?Paris, after 1764). French dancer and composer. He first appeared on the stage at the Académie Royale de Musique in Lyons in 1739, dancing in Montéclair’s Jephté and Destouches’ Omphale. He may have been the Denis who worked in Paris at the Foire St Laurent and in the Grand Troupe Etrangère, between about 1738 and about 1742. In 1749 Denis arrived in Berlin with his wife, the ballerina Giovanna Cortini, called ‘La Pantaloncina’, and was shortly appointed maître de ballet to the Prussian court. He provided choreography and music for the ballets in about 50 stage works in which he and his wife danced, including Graun’s operas Coriolano (1749), Fetonte (1750), Armida (1751), Britannico (1751), Mithridate (1751), Orfeo (1752), Semiramide (1754), Ezio (1755), Montezuma (1755) and ...

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James R. Anthony

(b 1718; d Paris, after 1775). French composer, dancer, ?singer and harpsichordist. In his contemporary manuscript, Notices sur les oeuvres de théâtre, the Marquis d'Argenson commented that Duval, ‘une jeune fille de l'Opéra’, was 18 in 1736 when she composed Les Génies, ou Les caractères de l'Amour. Fétis gave 1769 as her death date; Choron identified her as a ‘singer at the Paris Opéra’ and claimed that she was ‘still living in 1770’; the Anecdotes dramatiques for 1775 referred to her as a ‘former actress at the Opéra’ and included a ‘Mlle Duval’ as a supernumerary among the dancers.

Duval was best known as the composer of Les Génies, ou Les caractères de l'Amour (libretto by Fleury [de Lyon]), a ballet-héröique in a prologue and four entrées (printed in Paris about 1736). The dedication page reveals that the Prince of Carignan was her ‘Protecteur’. Les Génies...

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(b Modena, c 1700; d Naples, ?1774). Italian dancer, choreographer and impresario . He spent the early part of his career in Venice, where he created ballets for more than 40 operas, 1720–45. His name first appears as a choreographer for the 1720 Ascension season (Orlandini’s Griselda) at the Teatro S Samuele, here he worked for 11 Ascension seasons (later productions included works by Porpora, Albinoni and Galuppi, and Gluck’s Demetrio in 1742). He also choreographed at S Giovanni Grisostomo (24 operas, 1722–45, including Porpora’s Siface, Meride e Selinunte, Rosbale and Statira, and Hasse’s Alessandro nell’Indie and Semiramide riconosciuta) and at S Angelo, S Cassiano, and S Moisè. At the Teatro Falcone in Genoa (1731) and the Regio Ducal Teatro in Milan (1732–3, Lampugnani’s Candace; 1737–40, works by Bernasconi, Brivio and Leo) he worked with his wife Maria, a Venetian ballerina. While in Milan Goldoni, who knew the couple from Venice, spent an evening at their home, in his ...

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(Anton Christoph)

(bap. Vienna, Nov 17, 1710; d Vienna, May 30, 1768). Austrian dancer, choreographer and impresario. He was a member of a large theatrical dynasty active in Vienna from at least the 1660s. His father, Johann Baptist Hilverding, had been an associate of the famous Hanswurst Josef Anton Stranitzky, and his elder brother Johann Peter Hilverding led various troupes of German actors, ending his career in Russia. Franz Hilverding’s principal training – at the emperor’s expense – was with the dancer Blondy in Paris during the mid-1730s. While there he probably witnessed performances of Fuzelier and Rameau’s opéra-balletLes Indes galantes, an entrée of which, Le Turc généreux, he later imitated in a pantomime ballet. Hilverding’s sojourn in Paris almost certainly contributed significantly to his overall cultural education; his knowledge of literature and skill as a draughtsman and composer of music were thought unusual in a choreographer.

By 1737 he was engaged as a dancer at the Habsburg court, where he soon began composing ballets alongside Alexander and Franz Anton Phillebois. According to his pupil Gasparo Angiolini’s account, the period of mourning after the death of Charles VI in ...

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Friderica Derra De Moroda

revised by Sibylle Dahms

(fl early 18th century). Italian dancer and choreographer. He wrote one of the most interesting 18th-century books on dance: Neue und curieuse theatrialische Tantz-Schul (Nuremberg, 1716/R with commentary by K. Petermann and Eng. trans.). The title-page (see illustration) and preface indicate that Lambranzi was born in or around Venice, and that as a dancer he toured Italy, Germany and France. The original manuscript for the book (in D-Mbs ; facs., New York, 1972, ed. F. Derra de Moroda) suggests by the type of cursive handwriting that he may have spent large parts of his life in Germany, although no other evidence is known to support this. The book contains 101 plates beautifully engraved by J.G. Puschner. Each plate shows a dance scene in stage settings typical for touring companies of the period (for illustration see Folia). All costumed male and female characters are presented by men (Lambranzi served as a model for most of the illustrations). At the bottom of each plate there are suggestions for the steps and the manner of performance. The melody for each dance is given at the top of each plate (similar to Feuillet’s printed dance notations, which Lambranzi knew quite well). The subjects of the dances range from ...

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Meredith Ellis Little

(fl early 18th century). French dancing-master and author. He was dancing-master to Elisabetta Farnese (1692–1766), who became Queen of Spain on her marriage to Philip V in 1714. Rameau wrote two important works on French court dance, both published in Paris in 1725. The first, entitled Le maître à danser, is the most authoritative exposition of the early 18th-century French style of dancing, a style which was performed throughout Europe because of its elegance and refinement. The book was read and approved by Louis Pécour, dancing-master for the Paris Opéra, and may thus be taken to represent the central French practice of its day. It gives a clear and detailed account of such matters as the correct way to stand, move and ask a lady to dance, etiquette at court balls and the movements and steps of dances, as well as a complete description of the minuet. It is directed primarily towards the needs of social dancing, and does not discuss virtuoso practices peculiar to ballet. The book, which was several times reprinted, contains many excellent drawings which clarify the verbal descriptions. John Essex translated it into English in ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

[‘Lun’]

(b London, bap. May 19, 1692; d London, Nov 26, 1761). English theatre manager and dancer. He was the son of Christopher Rich (d 1714), the manager of the company that staged Purcell's later dramatic operas and the early English-Italian operas. In 1714 John opened the new theatre at Lincoln's Inn Fields, which his father had built. He kept a full repertory of plays, but his real preferences were music, dance and spectacle. These elements were combined in his famous pantomime afterpieces, most of which had music by Galliard. Under the name of Lun, Rich danced Harlequin in them for many years, and he was highly praised for his artistry in mime and movement. Pepusch wrote music for him at Lincoln's Inn Fields, and it was here that The Beggar's Opera (1728) made ‘Gay rich, and Rich gay’. He built the first Covent Garden theatre and continued to produce ballad operas, pantomimes and burlesques there from ...

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Sarah McCleave

[‘La Vestale’]

(b 1709 d Paris, July 27, 1756). French dancer and choreographer. New evidence (Rubellin) corrects her date of birth. Her father Etienne Sallé married into the Moylin dynasty of fairground players (to Marie-Alberte Moylin, 11 April 1699), so her early training presumably took place in the inventive atmosphere of the foires. (The restrictions imposed on the forains cultivated their skills as mimes.) She is said to have studied formally with Françoise Prévost, Jean Balon, and also Michel Blondi of the Paris Opéra. Her first known public appearance, on 18 October 1716, was at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre, London, with her brother Francis (1705–32). During this season her diverse repertory included Kellom Tomlinson’s notated dance The Submission and comic dances such as ‘The Dutch Skipper’, as well as ‘A Scene in the French Andromach Burlesqued’. On 5 June 1717 Marie and Francis contributed entr’acte dances to Handel’s ...

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[Francesco ]

(d Lisbon, Jan 18, 1775). French choreographer and dancer . His name first appears as ‘Mons. Soutter’, ballet-master for the 1738–9 opera season at the S Giovanni Grisostomo, Venice: his first opera was Rinaldo di Capua’s Farnace. Except for a three-year period in Stuttgart (1758–61), where he immediately preceded Noverre and choreographed three Jommelli operas, Sauveterre worked in Italy until 1766, creating ballets for operas in Padua (1740), Turin (1740–41, 1749–50), Florence (1743–4, 1746–7), Milan (1746, 1748, 1752–3, 1755–6, 1763, 1765), Reggio Emilia (1741, 1750–51, 1753, 1755), Naples (1742, Leo’s Andromaca), Rome (1749), Bologna (1756) and Venice (1749, 1740–51, 1763–6). Sacchini, Paisiello and Guglielmi are among the composers with whom he worked. In 1766 Sauveterre accompanied his student, Pietro Colonna, to Lisbon, and was recommended as dancing-master to the prince and choreographer for the court theatres, replacing Andrea Alberti, ‘Il Tedeschino’; there he choreographed many operas by Jommelli, as well as works by Perez, Piccinni and others. A contemporary writer in Florence described his ballets as superb. He emphasized dramatic and mimetic content in the style of ...

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Moira Goff

(b c1690; bur. London, Jan 31, 1754). English dancer, dancing-master and choreographer. He is sometimes confused with his father, the actor John Thurmond (d 1727). He was first billed as dancing at the Drury Lane Theatre in 1710, and in 1718 he became the company's dancing-master. He remained there (except for a short period when he danced at Goodman's Fields) until his retirement from the stage in 1737. He danced regularly throughout his career and is best known for the pantomimes with which he proved himself a worthy rival to John Rich. These began with The Dumb Farce and A Duke and No Duke (both 1719; composers unknown). Thurmond was responsible for the dances in the phenomenally successful pantomime Harlequin Doctor Faustus (1723), which was followed by Harlequin Sheppard (1724), Apollo and Daphne (1725) and The Miser, or Wagner and Abericock...

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Moira Goff

(bap. Shrewsbury, July 21, 1673; d Shrewsbury, Sept 24, 1760). English dancer, choreographer and dancing-master . The son of another dancing-master named John Weaver, he was educated at Shrewsbury School but spent part of his youth in Oxford, where his father kept a dancing school. By 1700 he was a theatrical dancer in London and early in 1703 he created The Tavern Bilkers, his first work for the stage. He became associated with the dancing-master Mr Isaac, who wished to improve both the status and the practice of dancing, and in 1706, at Isaac's suggestion, he published Orchesography as well as six of Mr Isaac's ball-dances in Beauchamp-Feuillet notation. He returned to Shrewsbury, and, in 1712, with the encouragement of the essayist and dramatist Sir Richard Steele, he published An Essay towards an History of Dancing. It dealt mainly with the status of dancing in antiquity, but in the final chapter Weaver argued for the reform of contemporary stage dancing so that it could represent ‘...