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Article

Nancy Dersofi

(Ruzante]

(b Padua c1496; d Padua, March 17, 1542). Italian playwright, actor, singer and poet. His plays are remarkable for their innovative use of popular Paduan genres combined with pastoral eclogue and learned comedy in imitation of antiquity. In the plays 52 songs, mentioned or sung, divide scenes or carry the action, as in L’Anconitana, where a Paduan servant named Ruzante holds a song contest with his Venetian master. Speaking the dialect of the Paduan countryside, Ruzante appears in most of Beolco’s plays. The playwright-actor performed Ruzante’s role and adopted his character’s name. Modern critics have identified the author with his character, whose polemics against the rustics’ historical antagonists, whether Venetian merchants, Paduan noblemen or proponents of a Tuscanizing academic culture, inform Ruzante’s theatre. Not least, Ruzante satirizes the country figure he impersonates.

Ruzante was also renowned for his singing voice. In addition to the songs in the plays, nine extant canzoni are attributed to him. Settings by Willaert of ...

Article

Charles Warren

(b 1509–10; d Venice, Feb 23, 1571). Italian actor, poet and writer of comedies, active in Venice. Some of his poems were set by Lodovico Agostini in Musica sopra le rime bizzarre di M. Andrea Calmo, & altri autori (1567). More significant are his ‘piacevoli et ingeniosi discorsi in più lettere compresi’ (ed. in Rossi), which include many references to music and musicians. A few of these fanciful letters in dialect are addressed to composers of his day, for example Willaert, whose music, according to Calmo, was alchemically ‘distilled’, ‘purged’ and ‘refined’ to the point where it had reached ‘la condition de l'aurum potabile’ (Rossi, p.199). Calmo was also an able musician in his own right in the tradition of the humanist improvvisatori; according to Alessandro Zilioli (Vite dei poeti italiani) he played the parts of Pantalone and ‘the singer’ for the ‘famous companies of comedians which flourished in Italy at that time’ (see Rossi). He is now regarded as one of the creators (along with ...

Article

[Giovan, Gian, Gianleonardo]

(b Naples, c1530; d Naples, Jan 1602). Italian harpist, singer, composer and actor. He was generally known as ‘dell’Arpa’ because of his outstanding playing of the double harp. His improvisatory skills were praised by several Neapolitan writers, among them Giovan Battista del Tufo (Ritratto … della nobilissima città di Napoli, 1588) and Giulio Cesare Cortese (Viaggio di Parnaso, c 1610), Scipione Cerreto (Della prattica musica vocale, et strumentale, 1601) and Giambattista Basile (Le muse napoletane, 1635). In the dedication to his Tempio Armonico (RISM 15996), Giovenale Ancina revealed that Arpa sang laude to harp accompaniment, probably in the oratories of Naples and Rome. A favourite entertainer in aristocratic circles, he attracted the patronage of Giovanna d’Aragona (see Luigi Dentice, Duo Dialoghi della musica, 1552) and her children. As musician-actor he played the role of servant in comedies staged in Neapolitan palaces of the Prince of Salerno (...

Article

Charles Warren

[Burchiella; Blessi, Manoli]

( bc 1495–7; d ?Venice, after in or 1571). Italian actor, poet and musician . In a sonnet that he set in his 1568 volume he stated that he was then over 70. He lived in Venice. According to the dedicatory letter by Lodovico Dolce in I fatti, e le prodezze di Manoli Blessi strathioto di M. Antonio Molino detto Burchiella (Venice, 1561) he was educated in all the attributes of a gentleman, including dancing, singing and the playing of instruments. He travelled in the Levant and on his return to Venice founded an academy of music with Brother Armonio, who was the organist of S Marco. Molino was one of the first to recite comedies in a variety of dialects, including those of Venice and Bergamo, in a mixture of Greek and Italian, and in the jargon of soldiers (‘stil strathiotesco’). In the introduction to the ‘third night’ of ...