Kurz [Kurtz, Kurz-Bernardon, Bernardon], (Johann) Joseph Felix von
- Peter Branscombe
(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 ...