Tag Archives: musical

Fabrizio Caroso – Dance Master of the 16th century

Fabrizio Caroso – Dance Master of the 16th century

Fabrizio CarosoLittle is known about the circum stances of Caroso’s life, except that he was born in Sermoneta, a small town near Rome, sometime between 1527 and 1535. Long standing legends have alleged that he was a peasant taken into the household of the Caetani family, dukes of Sermoneta and Rome, and provided with an education. In his treatises Caroso dedicates a number of his dances to members of the Caetani and Orsini families, and it is likely that he probably served as the dance instructor in these households for a time. Both families kept large palaces in Rome during the sixteenth century, and besides the Orsini and Caetani, Caroso mentions other powerful Roman nobles of the day, including the Farnese and Aldobrandini Duke and Duchess of Parma and Piacenza, to whom he dedicates his second dance book, The Nobility of Ladies (1600).

Torquato Tasso, the accomplished late Renaissance poet, also wrote a sonnet dedicated to Caroso, which is included in The Nobility. Like most of the prominentd ance masters of the period, though, he probably spent much of his life moving in princely circles in Italy, teaching dance and mounting spectacles and other entertainments for court circles. Little more, though, can bedetermined about his life.

 

Works of Caroso

Caroso is remembered today for two dance manuals he published late in the sixteenth century: The Dancing Master (1581) and The Nobility of Ladies (1600). Both are informative sources about the kinds of dances that were popular in the later Renaissance and together include information on about 100 different dances. Among these dances, Caroso includes a number of balletto, which were specially choreographed dances that consisted of multiple parts and specially composed music.

While Caroso’s works include a few simple dances that could be easily mastered, most of them were highly complex constructions that even expert amateurs might have had to spend many hours practicing. His books also include music intended to accompany these dances, and thus his work has been of great value to scholars and modern dance enthusiasts anxious to recover Renaissance styles of dance. In his Nobility of Ladies Caroso also included two dialogues between a dance master and his student that outline ballroom etiquette and a series of hard and fastrules for dancers to observe.

His prescriptions on etiquetteare notable for their extreme courtliness. He advises his readers on such subjects as how to wear a cape, how to sit and stand, when and how to remove gloves, and so forth. New editions of Caroso’s book Nobility of Ladies continued to appear in Italy until 1630, demonstrating its continued role in the seventeenth century as an authority on dance techniques and ballroom behavior.

Development of musical comedy 19st

Development of musical comedy 19st

In America, the first original theatre piece in English that conforms to the modern conception of a musical, adding dance and original music that helped to tell the story, is generally considered to be The Black Crook, which premiered in New York on September 12, 1866. The production was a staggering five-and-a-half hours long, but despite its length, it ran for a record-breaking 474 performances.

The same year, The Black Domino/Between You, Me and the Post was the first show to call itself a “musical comedy.” Comedians Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart produced and starred in musicals on Broadway between 1878 (The Mulligan Guard Picnic) and 1885, with book and lyrics by Harrigan and music by his father-in-law David Braham. These musical comedies featured characters and situations taken from the everyday life of New York’s lower classes and represented a significant step from burletta, minstrel shows, music hall and burlesque, towards a more legitimate theatrical form. They starred high quality singers (Lillian Russell, Vivienne Segal, and Fay Templeton) instead of the ladies of questionable repute who had starred in earlier musical forms.

The length of runs in the theatre changed rapidly around the same time that the modern musical emerged. As transportation improved, poverty in London and New York diminished, and street lighting made for safer travel at night, the number of potential patrons for the growing number of theatres increased enormously. Plays could run longer and still draw in the audiences, leading to Read the rest of this entry

Book musicals

Book musicals

Since the 20th century, “book musical” has been defined as a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story, with serious dramatic goals, that is able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter.The three main components of a book musical are the music, the lyrics and the book. The book of a musical refers to the story, character development, and dramatic structure, including the spoken dialogue. Book can also refer to the dialogue and lyrics together, which are sometimes referred to (as in opera) as the libretto (Italian for “little book”). The music and lyrics together form the score of the musical. The interpretation of the musical by the creative team of each production heavily influences the way in which the musical is presented. That team includes a director, a musical director, usually a choreographer and sometimes an orchestrator. A musical’s production is also creatively characterized by technical aspects, such as set design, costumes, stage properties (props), lighting and sound, which generally change from the original production to succeeding productions. Some famous production elements, however, may be retained from the original production; for example, Bob Fosse’s choreography in Chicago.

There is no fixed length for a musical. It can range from a short one-act entertainment to several acts and several hours in length (or even a multi-evening presentation); however, most musicals range from one and a half hours to three hours. Musicals are usually presented in two acts, with one short intermission. The first act is frequently longer than the second act. It generally introduces nearly all of the characters and most of the music, and often ends with the introduction of a dramatic conflict or plot complication. Read the rest of this entry

Musical theatre

Musical theatre

Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms such as opera, it may be distinguished by the equal importance given to the music as compared with the dialogue, movement and other elements of the works. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called, simply, “musicals“.

Musicals are performed all around the world. They may be presented in large venues, such as big budget West End and Broadway theatre productions in London and New York City, or in smaller fringe theatre, Off-Broadway or regional theatre productions, on tour, or by amateur groups in schools, theatres and other performance spaces. In addition to Britain and North America, there are vibrant musical theatre scenes in many countries in Europe, Latin America, Australasia and Asia. Read the rest of this entry