1-16 of 16 results  for:

  • Performance Artist x
  • Late 18th c./Classical (1750-1800) x
Clear all

Article

Barbara Chmara-Żackiewicz

(b Glinno, nr Poznań, April 9, 1757; d Warsaw, July 23, 1829). Polish impresario, librettist, actor and singer. He was a central figure in the history of the Polish theatre. He studied in Kraków (1770–73), where he attended many theatrical and concert performances organized by Sierakowski, prompting him to change the direction of his career away from the army and towards the theatre. He probably completed his studies at the Piarist school in Warsaw. For a few months during 1778 he studied acting with L. Montbrun, a Warsaw theatrical impresario. Soon afterwards he made his début as an actor in N.T. Barthé’s comedy Zmyślona niewierność (‘Imaginary Infidelity’), and on 11 July 1778 as a singer and librettist in the première of Maciej Kamieński’s opera Poverty made Happy. In 1783 he became the director of the National Theatre in Warsaw, remaining in this position (with some breaks) until ...

Article

Peter Branscombe

(b ? Moravia or Upper Austria, ?1740s; d Aachen, bur. Aug 7, 1792). Austrian theatre manager, actor and singer. He was engaged at Brünn (now Brno) in 1770, from the autumn of that year as director of the troupe. For long periods he toured in Austria, southern Germany and the Rhineland. In early summer 1776 he directed an opera season at the Kärntnertortheater, Vienna, in collaboration with Noverre: 14 works were given, almost all of them Singspiel adaptations of French operettas, many of which later became standard fare in Vienna. He was Joseph II’s original choice as producer for the new National Singspiel company, but his appointment was frustrated. However, he and his wife (Maria Anna [Marianne]; née Jacobs) appeared in his translation of the Sedaine-Monsigny Rose et Colas at the Burgtheater on 9 May 1778 and were with the company for the remainder of the season; their daughters appeared in minor roles....

Article

[Heurtaux ]

(b Paris, 1725; d Paris, July 29, 1801). French librettist, dramatist and actor. He failed to make his mark as an actor in Paris, and pursued his career in the provinces (in Rennes, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Rouen) and on various foreign stages (Bayreuth, Munich, Berlin and Brussels). While in Berlin sometime after 1755 he wrote the libretto of the divertissement Le triple horoscope which was set to music by Gaultier. With the warm recommendation of Favart, Dancourt then joined the French company in Vienna in 1762. During the 1763–4 season he wrote the libretto of La rencontre imprévue, ou Les pèlerins de la Mecque, which was set by Gluck. This work derived from Lesage and D'Orneval's play Les pèlerins de la Mecque, and had its first performance in 1764. Dancourt revived it in Brussels (1765), in Bordeaux (as Ali et Rezia, 1766) and in Paris, with music arranged by Solié (as ...

Article

(b Bayon, Lorraine, c1740; d nr Beauvais, c1810). French composer, singer and actor. According to Fétis he studied music at the archiepiscopal school of Nancy. By 1762 he was a singer and composer in Lyons, where his pastoral La bergère des Alpes was performed in the following year. By 1764 he was a pensionnaire of the Lyons opera. He was on the staff of a small music school in Lyons (1765) and was also a musician at the cathedral. He sang comic parts in Mâcon and by 1770 had become a comédien in Strasbourg. That year he was co-winner of the Parisian Concert Spirituel annual prize for ‘musique latine’. He then moved to Paris and was an actor at the Théâtre Italien from about 1774 to 1778. During these years he also sang in and wrote sacred works for the Concert Spirituel, and in quick succession composed several stage works, including ...

Article

Roger Fiske

revised by Irena Cholij

(b Southampton, bap. March 4, 1745; d London, July 25, 1814). English composer, dramatist, poet, novelist, actor, singer and entertainer. Dibdin was the 12th child of a parish clerk and a sorely tried mother who produced at least 14 children. His own claim to have been educated at Winchester College is not supported by the school records, though he did have lessons from James Kent and Peter Fussell, successive cathedral organists there. As a composer he was self-taught; he himself thought that he had learnt to compose by scoring Corelli’s concertos from the separate parts and from reading Rameau’s Traité de l’harmonie in English, but he must have learnt mainly from his practical experience in the theatre. By the age of 15 he was singing occasionally in such Covent Garden operas as required a chorus, supplementing his income by working for the music publisher John Johnson. The variety of his talents was already astonishing. He was only 18 when he published, more or less in full score, ...

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

Eleanor Russell

(fl 1762–73). Spanish composer and actor. Famous first as a comic actor, he was also well known as a composer for the lyric stage by 1762; according to Subirá, he was paid 300 reales for three tonadillas and some incidental pieces, and 600 reales for the music to the comedy ...

Article

Robert D. Hume

(b Hereford, Feb 19, 1717; d London, Jan 20, 1779). English actor, manager and playwright. He was the greatest Shakespearean actor of the mid-18th century and an influential manager of Drury Lane from 1747 to his retirement in 1776. He was also knowledgeable about ballet and opera. In 1749 he married the dancer Eva Maria Veigel, who had come to London in March 1746. Garrick visited Paris and established contact with such figures as Noverre, the pyrotechnist Morel Torré, the violinist-composer F.H. Barthélemon (who provided music for Garrick’s burletta Orpheus) and J.P. de Loutherbourg, who revolutionized stage design at Drury Lane in the 1770s. Garrick’s relatively ‘naturalistic’ acting style – he broke with the pompous declamatory styles in fashion since Dryden’s day – made him an important influence on such theatrical and operatic reformers as Algarotti, Diderot and Noverre. He is said to have taught his acting style to Guadagni, who was to be Gluck’s Orpheus (...

Article

(b Berlin, 30 Nov ?1746 [or 1743/4]; d Hanover, May 20, 1796). German actor, manager, dramatist and librettist. While in the Prussian civil service at Danzig he was offered the chance of standing in for a member of Abel Seyler's company at Gotha in 1774; his performance as Riccaut in Lessing's Minna von Barnhelm was much admired and he remained with Seyler's company until 1778, marrying the widowed actress Karoline Flittner soon after joining. In 1778 he established his own company, touring especially in north-west Germany, but having his headquarters at the Elector of Cologne's theatre at Bonn. From 1784 he directed a second company performing at Mainz and Frankfurt (where he had supervised the opening of the new theatre in 1782), while his wife controlled the Bonn theatre. In 1786 he toured again, appearing in Cologne, Hanover, Kassel and elsewhere. His last play, Wer wird sie bekommen?...

Article

Susan L. Porter

(b nr Manchester, England, cJune 7, 1765; d nr Bladensburg, MD, Sept 12, 1805). Actor, singer, and theatrical manager of English birth. He began his career in 1782 with the Tate Wilkinson troupe in York; by 1790 he was playing leading roles in tragedy, comedy, and comic opera at the major English provincial theaters. He made his debut in the United States on 26 September 1792 with the Old American Company in Philadelphia, together with his second wife, Frances Hodgkinson (née Brett) (b England, 1771; d Philadelphia, PA, 27 Sept 1803). In addition to his varied acting roles and his notable popularity with audiences, Hodgkinson frequently sang in concert. He was credited with “a fine taste for music” and a voice that was “powerful, melodious, variable, and of immense compass” (Mirror of Taste and Dramatic Censor, i/3, 1810); he was also said to be proficient on the violin and the flute. He became manager of the Old American Company in ...

Article

(b Vienna, Feb 22, 1717; d Vienna, Feb 3, 1784). Austrian comic actor, singer, dramatist and theatre manager. The son of the actor-manager Felix Kurz, and godson of ‘Hanswurst’ Stranitzky and J.B. Hilverding, he grew up in the theatre, and by the age of 20 he was performing leading roles with the German troupe at Vienna's Kärntnertortheater under the direction of Stranitzky's successor, Gottfried Prehauser. From 1740 until 1744 Kurz performed in Germany (most notably in Frankfurt and Dresden). Back in Vienna (1744–53) he developed and perfected the kind of magic burlesque, generously larded with songs, choruses, ensembles and incidental music, that dominated the popular repertory in most of the southern German lands. In a lengthy series of plays, mainly of his own devising, he appeared as Bernardon, a lively, urbane, satirical comic character. After the imperial ban on extemporization, Kurz moved in 1753 to Prague, where he was Locatelli's sub-lessee and director at the Kotzen Opera. He returned to Vienna in ...

Article

Peter Branscombe

(b Vienna, Oct 20, 1763; d Vienna, Feb 4, 1816). Austrian dramatist, pamphleteer and actor . He swiftly squandered a sizeable inheritance, thereafter living penuriously by his wits. His stage career swung between the Leopoldstadt and Wieden/Wien theatres, for both of which he supplied a string of mainly ephemeral farces, dramatic caricatures, travesties and parodies. The most popular were a series of Singspiel adaptations of comedies by Philipp Hafner, including Die Schwestern von Prag (1794), which remained in the repertory of the Theater in der Leopoldstadt (later Carltheater) until 1859 and may have influenced Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg through its interrupted serenade scene and street riot. Kaspar der Fagottist, oder Die Zauberzither, long (but wrongly) held to have influenced the story line of Die Zauberflöte, is an entertaining rescue opera with some social satire; it and a few of Perinet’s other stage works have been successfully revived in recent years. Perinet’s pamphlets include ...

Article

Peter Branscombe

(b Liestal, nr Basle, Aug 23, 1730; d Rellingen, nr Hamburg, April 25, 1800). Swiss impresario and actor, active in Germany. He was one of the 12 merchants of Hamburg who founded the German National Theatre in 1767. After the death of his first wife, or perhaps his divorce from her, his infatuation with the actress (Friederike) Sophie Hensel (née Sparmann), whom he later married, led to his wholehearted espousal of the theatre. He gained a controlling interest in the Hamburg theatre but in 1769 financial difficulties forced him to accept a post as director of George III’s theatre at Hanover; there he formed an excellent company which settled in Weimar in 1772. After fire destroyed the Weimar theatre in 1774, Seyler’s company moved to Gotha. In the following year he obtained a licence to perform in Saxony and they visited Dresden in winter and Leipzig in summer and at fair-times. The association between Seyler and the dramatic poet Klinger dates from this time and ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

[Ned]

(b London, ? 1728; d London, Nov 1, 1776). English actor and singer. Creator of the roles of Mr Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer and Sir Anthony Absolute in The Rivals, he was described by Garrick as the greatest comic genius he had ever seen. He sang well enough to be given roles in several English operas. Dibdin wrote that ‘nothing upon earth could have been superior to his Midas’ (in the burletta of that name) and he was the first Justice Woodcock in ...

Article

Peter Branscombe

(b Breslau, Feb 19, 1741; d Vienna, Jan 23, 1800). Austrian dramatist and actor. He is sometimes referred to as ‘the younger’, half-brother of (Christian) Gottlob Stephanie (‘the elder’). He enrolled as a law student at Halle but enlisted as a Prussian hussar in the Seven Years War, was captured by the Austrians in 1760 and became an Austrian soldier in 1761. He left the army in 1765 and in 1768 was encouraged towards a stage career by the Mozarts' friend Anton Mesmer. Stephanie joined the National-Schaubühne company in 1769, and in 1779 he succeeded J.H.F. Müller as director of the National-Singspiel. Apart from several once-popular plays (especially Der Deserteur aus Kindesliebe (kindlicher Liebe), 1773) he adapted Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer (1769) and Shakespeare's Macbeth (1772) for the Viennese stage. He is, however, chiefly remembered as a librettist. He provided or adapted nearly 20 librettos for the National-Singspiel venture between ...

Article

Thomas Bauman

(b Vienna, Aug 24, 1742; d Vienna, Sept 18, 1810). German actor and dramatist. The son of a poor servant, he was taught by the Jesuits along with his younger brother Paul. In 1757 he ran away from home and became a dancer, then turned to acting. He settled in Vienna in ...