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date: 20 January 2020

Acte de balletlocked

  • M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet


(Fr.). A French 18th-century stage work in one act, akin to the opéra-ballet and performed at the Académie Royale de Musique (the Opéra). Like the opéra-ballet, an acte de ballet includes airs, duets, choruses (particularly choeurs dansés) and sometimes other vocal music as well as instrumental dances. Being in a single act, it had a continuous, though slight, dramatic action: the plot was often designed to provide maximum opportunity for colourful scenic displays. Under the title ‘Fragments’, an evening’s performance at the Opéra might be made up of several actes de ballet by different authors or one with other short works; popular entrées from opéras-ballets were taken out of their original context and given as actes de ballet.

The earliest example is Zélindor, roi des silphes by François Rebel and François Francoeur (1745), termed a ‘divertissement’. As a designation in scores and librettos, acte de ballet is most frequently found in the works of Rameau: ...

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