Tag Archives: Commedia dell’Arte masks

Women in Commedia dell’Arte (Part 1)

We have to start with admitting that Commedia dell’Arte was a very masculine form of theatre, at least if we see it from today’s perspective. It sprung out in a time when women, in the greater parts of Italy, just … Read the rest of this entry

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Commedia dell’Arte masks design, materials and costume

The masks in Commedia dell’Arte are, unlike Greek, Balinese or Japanese masks for instance, always half masks. They are not bigger than that they cover just the upper part of the face. They are not big enough to manifest themselves … Read the rest of this entry

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To compose a Commedia dell’Arte group in the sixteenth century

To compose a Commedia dell’Arte group was a highly delicate task. Some masks were needed in order to fill out the usual scenarios. But one couldn’t just chose the best actors. One had to think about that the actors should … Read the rest of this entry

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The theatre spaces in the heydays of Commedia dell’Arte

People went to the theatre of quite other reasons, socially and culturally, all the way up to the nineteenth century. First of all: the lights were not turned down in the auditorium. It was first in the middle of the … Read the rest of this entry

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Gelosi (the Zealous Ones) 1568 – 1604

Gelosi was the most famous of the Commedia dell’Arte companies of the time, the superstars of their time. They had a crest, a Janus head, and a motto: Virtù, fama ed honor ne fèr gelosi (Virtue, fame and honor made … Read the rest of this entry

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Commedia dell’Arte and text

Hearing about how the great Commedia dell’Arte groups trained and prepared their masks, we also hear a lot about how much they read (See example). It doesn’t necessarily mean that they used the texts on stage. It can just as … Read the rest of this entry

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Commedia Erudita – Music and performance spaces (Part 4)

Commedia Erudita, just as Commedia dell’Arte, was very musical genre. It has also contributed to the birth of opera as an art form, with composers as Orazio Vecchi and Adriano Banchieri and even Alessandro Striggio and Giovanni Croce. As early … Read the rest of this entry

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Commedia Erudita (part 1)

As we know the word renaissance comes from French (and the historian and author Jules Michelets in 1855) and means rebirth, referring to principles from ancient Greece and Rome. That goes for the theatre as well, as an important part … Read the rest of this entry

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The church censoring Commedia dell’Arte (2 of 2)

The defense of Commedia dell’Arte was foremost the idea that it was an edifying source of moral learning both social and on a personal level, instead of attracting to sin. It exposed the folly, the gluttony, the excesses, the hypocrites … Read the rest of this entry

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The less well-to-do Commedia dell’Arte groups

Even if the more famous Commedia dell’Arte groups had an easier life the life of the actors were not always worth very much in the eyes of the rulers.  Here is a letter from Rome, reporting about when the Gelosi … Read the rest of this entry

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