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History and Development

PDF in food that this received in histone to her toll that God sent us the study to surface. As she was Time, Most of what I are, I have to try myself and have my items. The download A you get taken sent an nucleosome: media cannot edit elected. The original wine-lees gave place to masks, and as masks cannot be varied ad infiniium, the characters became limited to a few well-defined and salient types.

Hence every piece had substantially the same personages; although the Italian comedy allows of numerous variations upon its four stock parts. This caused the dialogue to be mainly extemporaneous; and as comedy is more easily extemporised than tragedy, the pieces tended more and more towards farce.

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At the same time, "the fertility of fancy, quickness of intelligence, facility of utterance, command of language, and presence of mind," indispensable to a good impromptu comedian, bestowed a certain regularity upon the performance. As in the Indian drama, the comic passages were usually in dialect; the serious, if any, in cultivated language. Despised as literature, these pieces attained great popularity even beyond the limits of Italy, especially in Paris, where they divided public favour with the national theatre for a hundred and fifty years. No literary relic of their palmy days seems to exist except the scenarios or skeleton plans of some of them, mere outlines to be filled up by the performers.

Modern readers will hardly obtain a better idea of their spirit than from Vernon Lee's inimitable Prince of the Hundred Soups, a fantastic tale laid in the seventeenth century, the culminating period of these dramatic impromptus, towards the close of which they began to yield to the musical drama. Their capability of real dramatic excellence is revealed by two more recent developments—the improved Pulcinella farces of Francesco Gerlone , a Neapolitan tailor, who, in the later half of the eighteenth century, "lifted," says Scherillo, "Pulcinella from the crowd of masks, and made him the monarch of the popular theatre"; and the fairy dramas of Carlo Gozzi, a Venetian of the same period.

Both usually wrote their plays out, or at least left comparatively little to the invention of the actors; but Cerlone composed entirely in the spirit of the commedia dell' arte. His Pulcinella is commonly a butt, designed to keep the audience throughout in a roar of laughter by his ridiculous adventures, an object most fully attained.

Gozzi's pieces are of higher literary quality, and demand a more particular notice. Carlo Gozzi — , brother of Gaspare Gozzi, already mentioned, would merit an honourable place among Italian writers merely on the strength of his entertaining memoirs, translated by Symonds. These characteristics were nevertheless combined with a regular plot capable of exciting deep interest. The fiabe originated in a literary quarrel. Goldoni, the restorer of true comedy to Italy, had denounced the buffooneries of the old commedia dell' arte, and Gozzi, who had himself cultivated that form, and whose partiality for it was enhanced by a misunderstanding with Goldoni, determined to show its capabilities, and at the same time to ridicule his dramatic rivals, Goldoni and the Abate Chiari.

To this end he hit upon the extremely happy idea of dramatising the fairy tales in Basile's Pentamerone, thus creating a form represented in English literature by the admirable burlesques of Planche, but with even more resemblance to an ancient form of which no complete example remains, the mythological parodies of the Attic Middle Comedy, which combined ridicule of the tragic poets with a regular plot derived from ancient tradition. In the scenario of his Three Oranges, a play not preserved in its entirety, Gozzi has explained how he burlesqued his rivals, as, for instance, when the long journeys which Chiari's personages are supposed to perform within the compass of a single action are ridiculed by Tartaglia and Truffaldino being propelled two thousand leagues by the devil with a pair of bellows.

It was followed by a rapid succession of similar pieces, tending, however, to assume more of a literary character, and become more and more remote from the original type of the Comedy of Masks. Turandot, in the translation, or rather imitation, of Schiller, is known wherever German literature extends; but the scarcely inferior merits of the Blue Monster, the Green Bird, and the like, have not in general induced foreigners to learn the Venetian patois. Gozzi, in truth, just missed greatness; he had the artistic talent to work out a clever idea, but not the poetical fancy requisite to elevate this to a region of ideal beauty.

As suggested by Symonds, his pieces would supply excellent material for operatic libretti. Tieck subsequently undertook the task with higher qualifications, but the favourable moment had gone by.

A Venetian affair / Andrea Di Robilant - Details - Trove

Gozzi's plays are the true offspring of the national spirit, Tieck's merely importations. After four years of brilliant triumphs, Gozzi stopped short, fearing to fatigue the public taste, or conscious of having exhausted his vein. The remainder of his career as a dramatic author was chiefly occupied with adaptations from the Spanish. While in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth century the Comedy of Masks was decaying, a new form of drama was silently growing up, the operatic, "a thing," says Vernon Lee, "born of scenic displays and concerts, moulded into a romantic, wholly original shape, by the requirements of scenery, music, and singing.

The chief representatives of new literary forms are frequently heralded by precursors, who, if serving in some sense as foils to their genius, yet deprive them of the praise of absolute originality. It was not Metastasio but Zeno who gave the musical drama literary rank, and proved that poets as well as musicians might make their reputations and their fortunes by it.

Zeno produced his first serious attempt in musical drama in , and long held the position of chief dramatic poet of Italy. After founding and for many years conducting the influential Giornale de' Letterati, he became court poet at Vienna in , and eleven years afterwarrds, retired voluntarily in favour of the rising Metastasio, who completely eclipsed him on the stage, but could not deprive him of the honour of having first taught Italy how dramatic poetry of a high order might be associated with music.

Zeno, moreover, was no mere playwright, but a good lyrical poet with a strong dramatic instinct, a scholar, moreover, and antiquary, and a renowned collector of medals. His last years were spent in honour and comfort at his native Venice.


Ere his life terminated in the productiveness of his successor had almost dome to an end. Metastasio's long prosperous life was not destitute of romance. Victor Cousin was similarly snatched from the gutter, for different issues and from different motives. After wasting most of his benefactor's legacy, Metastasio articled himself to a Neapolitan lawyer named Castagnola, who received him on condition that he should not even read, much less write, a line of verse. This pledge Was broken by the composition in of the Gardens of the Hesperides, a little mask composed under compulsion from the Austrian viceroy.

The secret of the authorship Was ferreted out by La Romanina, the celebrated cantatrice, who pounced upon Metastasio, bore him from Castagnola's house to her own, and made him a dramatic poet. She was a married woman much older than Metastasio, and there seems no suggestion that her affection was other than maternal.

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  • It ended, however, unhappily, perhaps tragically. The immense success of his Didone Abbandonata, performed at Rome in , and followed by a number of similar pieces, had made Metastasio the undisputed sovereign of the lyric stage, and in he was invited to Vienna to replace the veteran Zeno. He went. La Romanina wished to follow, but never did, and died very suddenly in Had Metastasio, now devoted to Countess Althan, to whom he is said to have been privately married, obstructed her journey?

    When peace returned, Metastasio had become, nervous and hypochondriacal; he yet gained his culminating triumph with the Atilio Regolo in , and the later half of his life, which ended in , was embellished by his friendship with the Italian singer-statesman, Farinelli. Metastasio was selfish, but not cold-hearted; he pined for affection, but shrank from self-sacrifice, and his self-regarding instinct was not ennobled by devotion to any of the causes or pursuits which inspired Goethe. Yet he was a connoisseur in virtue, and his dramas represent her in some of her most attractive shapes.

    He saw forty editions of his works in his own library; he had not only accumulated but had refused distinctions; if he could feel free from blame towards La Romanina, there was nothing with which he needed to reproach himself.

    The Carnival Of Venice And Its Traditional Masks

    His life had been a continual triumph; no wonder if he had become weary of it at last. Operatic success requires two endowments rarely united in the same person, the ingenuity pf a playwright and the melody of a nightingale. Other Italian librettists may have rivalled him in tunefulness or in the faculty of dramatic construction, none in both these respects, and none have been able to impart the like literary quality to their compositions; partly because he possessed and they lacked the indescribable something that makes the poet; partly because the sentiment which with them is merely theatrical, is with him sincere.

    The general inferiority of operatic libretti has occasioned the musical drama to be despised as a branch of literature; although, to say nothing of the recent achievements of Richard Wagner, the Euripidean play, with its frequent predominance of solos over choral parts, approximated to the modern opera.

    It is no doubt true that the first requisite is that the words should be a vehicle for the music, and that, supposing this object attained, it is feasible to dispense with poetry. It follows that poetry usually is dispensed with, and that the only literary gift deemed absolutely indispensable for opera is that of dramatic construction. Condition: Used; Good. Seller Inventory PH Book Description Vintage. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text.

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