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Seventeenth-Century Opera and the Sound of the Commedia Dell'Arte$
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Emily Wilbourne

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226401577

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226401607.001.0001

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The Commedia dell’Arte as Theater

The Commedia dell’Arte as Theater

(p.19) Chapter One The Commedia dell’Arte as Theater
Seventeenth-Century Opera and the Sound of the Commedia Dell'Arte

Emily Wilbourne

University of Chicago Press

This chapter provides an introduction to the commedia dell’arte for musicological audiences, with particular attention paid to the sound of the genre and the use of music within spoken dramatic performances. A scene from Giovan Battista Andreini’s published commedia dell’arte play, La Sultana (1622), is used to explain how sound constituted the dramatic fabric of the spoken theatre. The commedia dell’arte is summarised in broad terms, including a breakdown of the stock characters typical of the genre. The use of music in commedia dell’arte performance is described.

Keywords:   commedia dell’arte, opera, sound, La Sultana, Giovan Battista Andreini, music, stock characters

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