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Colin Timms and Anne MacNeil


(b Florence, Feb 9, 1576; d Reggio nell’Emilia, June 7, 1654). Italian actor, dramatist and poet. He was the son of Isabella and Francesco Andreini, famous commedia dell’arte players, and was educated at the University of Bologna. In 1594, taking the stage name ‘Lelio’, he joined the Compagnia dei Gelosi, the comic troupe to which his parents belonged, and in 1601 he married the actress and singer Virginia Ramponi (‘La Florinda’). By the time the Gelosi disbanded in 1604 he had already formed his own company, the Compagnia dei Fedeli, which served the Medici and Gonzaga families, with brief interruptions, until it disbanded, playing throughout northern and central Italy. In 1613 Maria de’ Medici invited the Fedeli to Paris. Their visit, which lasted from September 1613 to July 1614, was so successful that they performed there again from January 1621 to March 1622, probably December 1622 to March 1623...


(b Padua, 1562; d Lyons, June 10, 1604). Italian actor, dramatist and poet, mother of G.B. Andreini. After her marriage in the late 1570s to Francesco Andreini, they joined the renowned Compagnia dei Gelosi, assuming the roles of prima donna innamorata and Lelio innamorato. They were favoured performers at the courts of Tuscany, Ferrara, Mantua and France. Isabella led the Gelosi from the 1580s until her death (when it disbanded), negotiating patronage and accepting payments on its behalf. In 1589 she performed alongside her rival Vittoria Piisimi at the wedding celebrations in Florence for Ferdinando de' Medici and Christine of Lorraine; Pavoni described the enthusiasm of the audience for Isabella's performance of the comedy La pazzia d'Isabella, during which she sang canzonette alla francese. Her talents as an author were also widely praised and she was accepted into the Accademia degli Intenti of Pavia in 1601. Of her nearly 500 lyric poems (two books of which were published in Milan in ...


Tim Carter and Anne MacNeil

[‘La Florinda’ ]

(b Milan, Jan 1, 1583; d Bologna, 1629–30). Italian actor, singer and poet, first wife of G.B. Andreini. When they married in 1601, Virginia and her husband formed the Compagnia del Fedeli, in which she assumed the role of prima donna innamorata. Her stage name derived from her performance in Giovanni Battista’s tragedy La Florinda (1603, Florence). In spring 1608 she replaced Caterina Martinelli as the protagonist of Monteverdi’s Arianna and took part in his Ballo delle ingrate during the wedding celebrations for Prince Francesco Gonzaga and Margherita of Savoy; according to Antonio Costantini (1608), she learnt the part for Arianna in six days. She also sang the title role in G.C. Monteverdi’s opera Il rapimento di Proserpina during the festivities for the birth of the Infanta Margherita Gonzaga in 1611. Contemporary accounts suggest that her performance in Arianna was exceptionally powerful, and her talents as a singer were recalled with praise by Bonini in his ...


Curtis Price

revised by Margaret Laurie

(b London, 1635; d London, April 28, 1710). English actor, manager and opera director. Generally regarded as the greatest English actor before Garrick, he played a key role in the invention of Semi-opera. In 1668 he became co-manager of the Duke's Company, which was already featuring plays with musical interludes, many of them set by Matthew Locke. In 1671 the troupe moved into the new Dorset Garden Theatre, specially equipped with the machines necessary for opera. Betterton visited Paris to study stagecraft and may have seen the famed comédies-ballets of Lully and Molière. He then produced a series of musical extravaganzas, or semi-operas: adaptations of Shakespeare's Macbeth (1673, music by Locke) and The Tempest (1674, music by Locke, Humfrey and others), Thomas Shadwell's Psyche (1675, music by Locke) and Charles Davenant's Circe (1677, music by John Banister (i)). In addition to coordinating the production and devising the scenery, Betterton often acted the protagonists, roles that never required singing....


William V. Porter

(b Castrocaro, nr Forlì, March 27, 1577; d Florence, Oct 27, 1633). Italian playwright, poet and actor, father of Giacinto Andrea Cicognini. In 1586–7 he was enrolled at the Compagnia di S Antonio da Padova in Florence. By 1600 he had received a diploma in law, from Pisa. From 1601 to 1615 he served various aristocratic patrons in Rome, although he made frequent appearances in Florence during this period. In 1605 he married the Florentine Isabella di Domenico Berti and in 1611 he apparently began his various collaborations with Jacopo Peri, who in that year reported the completion of the music for one of Cicognini's librettos, probably Adone. After a brief period of service for Cardinal Capponi at Bologna in 1614, he apparently lived in Florence until his death by suicide in 1633. In 1618 the Florentine carnival activities included his texts for Andromeda, an elaborate intermedio with music by Domenico Belli. Another of his secular works, ...


Lynn Hulse

(b ?London, c1614; d London, bur. April 17, 1685). English poet, playwright and actor. He trained as a boy actor with the King's Revels Company and was later attached to the Red Bull Theatre. Shortly before the Restoration he began writing musical entertainments for the livery companies, and between 1671 and 1684 he wrote at least 12 Lord Mayor's triumphs. He delighted in poetry and music, describing them as the ‘Twins of Fancy’. His circle included the musicians John Gamble, Theophilus Fitz (d 1708), Walter Yeokney (d 1665), John Playford and William Lawes, on whom he wrote the famous line ‘Will Lawes was slain, by such whose Wills were laws’ (The Musical Companion, RISM 16725). He penned a commendatory poem to Gamble's 1659 book of Ayres and Dialogues, and prefaced the songs with ‘A Defence for Musick in its Practique and Theorie...


John S. Powell

[ Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste ]

( b Paris, bap. Jan 15, 1622; d Paris, Feb 17, 1673). French playwright and actor . He was related to the Mazuel dynasty of Parisian musicians. He frequently included songs, instrumental music and dances in his productions. His first company, the Illustre Théâtre (formed in 1643), employed a professional dancer and four instrumentalists to perform ‘tant en comédie que ballets’. After a 13-year tour of the provinces (where in the 1650s they performed Pierre Corneille's musical machine play Andromède and the Ballet des incompatibles) they returned to Paris; there Molière's first big success was the sparkling, urbane comedy Les précieuses ridicules (1659), in which string players have a part in the dramatic action. His later contribution to musical theatre consisted of the so-called comédies-ballets, which date from the height of his career (in fact, only Le bourgeois gentilhomme, 1670, was originally labelled a Comédie-ballet )....



Masakata Kanazawa

[Motokiyo, Kanze Saburō]

(b? 1363; d ?Aug 8, 1443). Japanese nō actor and writer. As a boy he was known as Fujiwaka. He was the eldest son of Kan'ami Kiyotsugu, the founder of the Kanze school of . Their performance in 1374 so impressed the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu that he invited them to his court and became their lifetime patron, and eventually became the official performing art of the shogunate. Of about 50 surviving plays by Zeami, the most famous are Takasago, Izutsu and Matsukaze. He also wrote many treatises and essays, the most important of which is Fūshi Kaden (1400), better known as Kadensho (‘Book of Flowers’), a treatise on the aesthetics of . After the death of Yoshimitsu in 1428, Zeami fell foul of his successor, Ashikaga Yoshinori, and was banished to Sado Island in 1434. Whether he returned to Kyoto is not known.

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