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Neal Zaslaw

(b Lyons, late 17th century; d Paris, c1752). French singer, theorist, composer and actor. He was the head of a theatrical troupe that played in Lille between 1715 and 1722, at Brussels in 1716 and in Antwerp in 1717. The title-page of his Nouveau système calls him ‘formerly of the Royal Academies of Music of Lyons, Rouen, Marseilles, Lille, Brussels and Antwerp, and maître de musique of the cathedrals of St Omer and Tournai’. In 1730 he was married in Paris to Marie-Marguerite Lecouvreur, younger sister of the playwright. The dedication of Denis’ Nouvelle méthode to the ladies of St Cyr suggests that he may have been involved in the musico-theatrical training offered at that school. In the 1740s and early 1750s, and perhaps earlier, Denis ran a music school in Paris; the school continued after his death under his son-in-law Jouve.

Denis’ treatises enjoyed considerable longevity, one of them remaining in publishers’ catalogues until ...

Article

James R. Anthony

[l'aîné]

(b Verdun, Sept 9, 1687; d Gien, Aug 30, 1745). French composer, singer and actor. Son of the actor Jean Quinault (1656–1728) and brother of the singer and actress Marie-Anne-Catherine Quinault, he was the eldest of five children, all active in the theatre. Quinault began his acting career at the Comédie Française as Hippolytus in Racine's Phèdre on 6 May 1712. He retired on 22 March 1733 with a pension, but returned for three performances the following year. Although Voltaire chose him for leading roles in his tragedies, he was most applauded for comic roles. It was not uncommon for him to act and sing in a work for which he had composed the music. His gift for comic characterization is seen in the laughing recitative, ‘Enthousiasme de folie’, in M.A. Legrand's Impromptu de la folie (1725). He was elevated to the nobility by the regent, Philip d'Orléans....

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

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, June 5, 1698; d Dublin, June 5, 1744). English singer, actor and author . He acted in London from 1715, specializing in handsome daredevil roles such as Hotspur. Although untrained as a singer, he was given the role of Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera (1728) during rehearsals, when he was heard singing some of the airs behind the scenes. Chetwood wrote that after his success as Macheath he ‘follow’d Bacchus too ardently, insomuch that his Credit was often drown’d upon the Stage’. He sang in a few other ballad operas and held on to his roles until 1739. His career then collapsed and he died in poverty. His own ballad opera, The Quaker’s Opera, was performed in 1728.

BDA DNB (J. Knight) LS W. R. Chetwood: A General History of the Stage (London, 1749) The Thespian Dictionary (London, 1802, 2/1805) T. Gilliland: The Dramatic Mirror...