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Semi-opera [dramatic opera; English opera; ambigue]locked

  • Curtis Price
  •  and Louise K. Stein


A play with four or more separate episodes or masques which include singing, dancing, instrumental music and spectacular scenic effects such as transformations and flying. The form, which flourished in England between 1673 and 1710, is further characterized by a clear demarcation between the main characters, who only speak, and minor characters – spirits, fairies, shepherds, gods and the like – who only sing or dance. Most semi-operas are tragicomedies adapted from earlier plays. The finest examples are those with music by Henry Purcell: ...

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Cambridge (MA), Harvard University, Harvard College Library