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Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, Feb 4, 1723; d London, Aug 4, 1792). English dramatist . ‘Gentleman Johnny’ Burgoyne, the English general forced to surrender to the Americans at Saratoga (1777), was the librettist of William Jackson’s only successful opera, The Lord of the Manor (1780), in the preface to which he advocated English ‘musical comedy’. Garrick’s staging of his first dramatic piece, ...

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Craig H. Russell

(c fl 1700–10). Spanish playwright. He was the most important Spanish dramatist of the early 18th century to work in the musical theatre, and may have collaborated on several productions with the composer Santiago de Murcia. It is uncertain whether he was the actor Francisco de Castro who was a member of Isabel Gertrudis’s theatre troupe in Mexico City in 1673. Many of Castro’s works were published in the collection Alegría cómica (Zaragoza, 1702) and in the Libro nuevo de entremeses intitulado ‘Cómico festejo’ (Madrid, 1742).

E.Cotarelo y Mori: Colección de entremeses, loas, bailes, jácaras y mojigangas (Madrid, 1911)C.H. Russell: Santiago de Murcia: Spanish Theorist and Guitarist of the Early Eighteenth Century (diss., U. of North Carolina, 1980), 1, 208–10M. Esses: Dance and Instrumental ‘Diferencias’ in Spain During the 17th and Early 18th Centuries, i: History and Background, Music and Dance (Stuyvesant, NY, 1992)...

Article

Richard Taruskin

[née Sophie Auguste Fredericke von Anhalt-Zerbst]

(b Stettin [now Szczecin], 21 April/May 2, 1729; d Tsarskoye Selo, 6/Nov 17, 1796). Empress of Russia. She acceded in 1762 following a palace coup against her husband Peter III, and became known as ‘Catherine the Great’. Continuing the policy of her predecessors, the empresses Anna (reigned 1730–40) and Elizabeth (1741–61), she maintained a court opera theatre staffed by Italians, personally patronizing Cimarosa, Paisiello, Galuppi and Sarti, as well as her special favourite, the italianized Spaniard Martín y Soler. She also patronized comic opera in the vernacular and encouraged native talent to apply itself to this genre. Among the talents she nurtured was her own very modest one as a dramatist, which she exercised, as she put it to a friend, for the sake of relaxation and distraction from affairs of state. With the assistance of two literary secretaries, Ivan Yelagin and Alexander Khrapovitsky, she wrote three volumes of Russian plays and a fourth in French....

Article

Elisabeth Cook

( b Dijon, Oct 7, 1719; d Paris, Sept 25, 1792). French writer . Educated at the Jesuit college of Dijon, he entered the marine ministry, serving as contrôleur to the West Indies from 1747 to 1759. He retired at an early age, due to ill health and on his return to France he adopted literature as his profession. The themes of his fashionable fairy stories, contes and romances inspired contemporary opera: Dalayrac's Agnès et Olivier (1791) was based on the romance Olivier, which had secured Cazotte's literary reputation, and his masterpiece, the conte Le diable amoureux, served as the model for Paisiello's L'infante de Zamore (1781). His one libretto, to Duni's opéra comique Les sabots (1768), was unsuccessful: Duni sought the assistance of Sedaine, who refashioned the text substantially but retained Cazotte's name on the title-page.

Cazotte also contributed two pamphlets to the Querelle des Bouffons while on leave in Paris in ...

Article

Alison Stonehouse

(b Dijon, Jan 13, 1674; d Paris, June 17, 1762). French dramatist. He studied law at Dijon and by 1703 was living in Paris. He became a member of the Académie Française in 1731 and was appointed theatre censor in 1735. His nine tragedies, based on subjects from classical antiquity, are melodramatic and exploit violence and romantic entanglements; they were highly regarded during his lifetime. Idoménée (1705), his first work, was a source for Campra and Danchet’s Idoménée, which in turn served for Mozart and Varesco’s Idomeneo. His masterpiece, Rhadamiste et Zénobie, was first performed in 1711; there are notable similarities between it and Metastasio’s Zenobia, as also between Crébillon’s Xerces (1714) and Metastasio’s Artaserse. Other plays by Crébillon on which operas were based were Semiramis and Pyrrhus. Crébillon’s son Claude-Prosper (1707–77) was also a playwright; he was theatre censor from 1774 to 1777...

Article

George J. Buelow

(b Juditten, nr Königsberg [now Kaliningrad], Feb 2, 1700; d Leipzig, Dec 12, 1766). German dramatist, poet, literary critic and philosopher. He was a leading figure in the literary reform movement of the German Enlightenment before the mid-18th century. He received his early education from his father, a Protestant minister. On 19 March 1714, before he was 15, he entered Königsberg University to study theology and subsequently philosophy, mathematics and the natural sciences. After earning a master's degree in 1723 he fled his native land under threat of induction into the Prussian army, moving to Leipzig. Two years later he began his university career as a lecturer. In 1727 he headed the local Deutschübenden-poetischen Gesellschaft, which he reorganized as a national society, the Deutsche Gesellschaft. He hoped to model it on the Académie Française and to create a decisive influence for the reform of German as a single national language, but he did not succeed. At this time he founded two weekly journals, ...

Article

Thomas Bauman

(b Vienna, Sept 27, 1735; d Vienna, July 30, 1764). German playwright. He served as a secretary in the Viennese municipal court during his short life, and wrote a series of successful plays that developed a distinctively Viennese brand of written comedy out of local improvisatory traditions. His lone musical text, the three-act Zauberlustspiel ...

Article

Dorothea Schröder

(b London, Oct 20, 1684; d London, June 1743). English stage designer and writer. In spite of his training as an architect, Lediard was occupied very early on with diplomatic matters. For several years he served the Duke of Marlborough and around 1720 established himself as secretary to the British embassy in Hamburg. Sir Cyril Wich, then British envoy to the Hanseatic towns, acted as tenant of the Gänsemarkt opera house and soon engaged Lediard to design the scenery for festive prologues, serenades and operas which were sponsored by the resident diplomats and which were performed in honour of their respective royal families. Lediard developed a unique style which relied on conventional 17th-century Italian and German models but which was highlighted by the (sometimes superabundant) use of allegorical devices and emblems as well as ingenious lighting and the employment of transparent scenery. Back in London he presented an allegorical opera, ...

Article

George J. Buelow

(b Hamburg, Sept 28, 1681; d Hamburg, April 17, 1764). German composer, critic, music journalist, lexicographer and theorist.

Mattheson was the third and only surviving son of Johann Mattheson, a Hamburg tax collector, and Margaretha Höling of Rendsburg (Holstein). Details of Mattheson’s life come largely from his autobiography published in the Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte. His education was exceptionally broad, perhaps because his parents hoped he would gain a position in Hamburg society. At the Johanneum he received a substantial background in the liberal arts, including musical instruction from Kantor Joachim Gerstenbüttel. He also had private instruction in dancing, drawing, arithmetic, riding, fencing, and English, French and Italian. At six he began private music lessons, studying the keyboard and composition for four years with J.N. Hanff (later organist at Schleswig Cathedral), taking singing lessons from a local musician named Woldag and instruction on the gamba, violin, flute, oboe and lute. At nine Mattheson was a child prodigy, performing on the organ and singing in Hamburg churches. His voice was of such quality that Gerhard Schott, manager of the Hamburg opera, invited him to join the company, and he sang in J.W. Franck’s opera ...

Article

Graham Sadler

(b Dijon, July 9, 1689; d Paris, Jan 21, 1773). French dramatist . After studying law at Besançon, in 1719 he came to Paris where he began a long and successful association with the Fair Theatres. His first work produced there, the monologue Arlequin Deucalion (1722), brilliantly flouted the ban on spoken dialogue imposed by the official theatres and immediately established his reputation. In several opéras comiques of the 1720s he collaborated with composers of the stature of Rameau (L’Endriague, 1723; L’enrôlement d’Arlequin, 1726; La P[ucelage], ou La rose, 1726; La robe de dissension, 1726) and Royer (Le fâcheux veuvage, 1725; Crédit est mort, 1726). Their newly composed music not only relieved the staple diet of traditional melodies that was still the norm at the Fairs but also, in its ‘operatic’ style, acted as a clever foil to the doubles entendres...

Article

Duncan Chisholm

( b London, May 22, 1688; d Twickenham, May 30, 1744). English critic, poet, satirist and wit . He was the son of a wealthy Catholic linen draper. The publication of An Essay on Criticism (1711) marked the beginning of his fame. He was acquainted with the leading political and artistic figures of his day including Lord Burlington, Lord Bolingbroke, the Earl of Oxford, Congreve, Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, Aaron Hill, Jonathan Swift, John Gay, John Arbuthnot, Maurice Greene and Handel. Pope’s skill with the ‘heroic couplet’, his grammatical precision and his rhetoric supplemented his talent for irony, invective and satire.

Since theories of harmony were so much a part of the contemporary canon of taste, it was inevitable that Pope should explore musical terminology and theory. He was known as the ‘little nightingale’ for his sweet voice as a child, but his interest in music was not as profound as that of Dryden or Congreve. His comments on Giovanni Bononcini, for example, in a letter to the Duchess of Buckingham (...

Article

(b Rio de Janeiro, Feb 4, 1696; d Salvaterra, Portugal, Jan 31, 1759). Portuguese writer on music. Before becoming a calced Carmelite his name was José Pereira de Sá Bacon. He studied at Olinda (Brazil) and at Coimbra, there obtaining the doctorate in theology on 17 May 1725...

Article

(b Dresden, 1738; d Schleswig, Nov 22, 1789). German actress and writer. At the end of an unhappy childhood she took to the stage. In 1754 she married the actor Hensel, but they separated three years later. She worked with various troupes and appeared several times in Vienna. After the collapse of the Hamburg Nationaltheater, she took up with the impresario Abel Seyler in 1769, and married him three years later, by which time she was recognized as Germany’s foremost tragedienne. Lessing praised her passionate and majestic acting at Hamburg, and Benda and F. W. Gotter wrote their chilling melodrama Medea to set off her skills in 1775. At the end of her career she wrote a five-act libretto Hüon und Amande, based on Wieland’s epic poem Oberon and set by the Schleswig music director Karl Hanke in 1789. The text was adapted for Paul Wranitzky shortly thereafter by Gieseke as ...