In theater and music history, a burletta (Italian, meaning "little joke", sometimes burla or burlettina) is a brief comic opera. In eighteenth-century Italy, a burletta was the comic intermezzo between the acts of an opera seria . The extended work Pergolesi's La serva padrona was also designated a "burletta" at its London premiere in 1750.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
In music, an intermezzo, in the most general sense, is a composition which fits between other musical or dramatic entities, such as acts of a play or movements of a larger musical work. In music history, the term has had several different usages, which fit into two general categories: the opera intermezzo and the instrumental intermezzo.
In England, the term began to be used, in contrast to burlesque, for works that satirized opera but did not employ musical parody. Burlettas in English began to appear in the 1760s, the earliest identified as such being Midas by Kane O'Hara, first performed privately in 1760 near Belfast, and produced at Covent Garden in 1764. The form became debased when the term burletta began to be used for English comic or ballad operas, as a way of evading the monopoly on "legitimate drama"in London belonging to Covent Garden and Drury Lane. After the passage of the Theatres Act of 1843, which repealed crucial regulations of the Licensing Act of 1737, use of the term declined.
A burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian burlesco, which, in turn, is derived from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery.
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.
Midas is a burletta, or 'mock opera', by Kane O'Hara.
Kane O'Hara was an Irish composer and playwright.
François Hippolyte Barthélemon was a French violinist, pedagogue, and composer active in England.
The Recruiting Serjeant is a burletta by composer Charles Dibdin and playwright Isaac Bickerstaff. It premièred on 20 July 1770 at Ranelagh Gardens, London.
The word burletta has also been used for scherzo-like instrumental music by composers including Max Reger and Bartók. In America, the word has sometimes been used as an alternative for burlesque.
A scherzo, in western classical music, is a short composition – sometimes a movement from a larger work such as a symphony or a sonata. The precise definition has varied over the years, but scherzo often refers to a movement that replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or string quartet. The term can also refer to a fast-moving humorous composition that may or may not be part of a larger work.
Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian Reger, commonly known as Max Reger, was a German composer, pianist, organist, conductor, and academic teacher. He worked as a concert pianist, as a musical director at the Leipzig University Church, as a professor at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig, and as a music director at the court of Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen.
Charles Bannister (1738–1804) was an English actor, comedian and singer.
Thomas Augustine Arne was an English composer. He is best known for his patriotic song Rule Britannia, which has become a second national anthem to God Save the Queen, and the song A-Hunting We Will Go. Arne was a leading British theatre composer of the 18th century, working at Drury Lane and Covent Garden.
Michael Arne was an English composer, harpsichordist, organist, singer, and actor. He was the son of the composer Thomas Arne and the soprano Cecilia Young, a member of the famous Young family of musicians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Like his father, Arne worked primarily as a composer of stage music and vocal art song, contributing little to other genres of music. He wrote several songs for London's pleasure gardens, the most famous of which is Lass with the Delicate Air (1762). A moderately prolific composer, Arne wrote nine operas and collaborated on at least 15 others. His most successful opera, Cymon (1767), enjoyed several revivals during his lifetime and into the early nineteenth century.
Charles Dibdin was a British composer, musician, dramatist, novelist and actor. With over 600 songs to his name, for many of which he wrote both the lyrics and the music and performed them himself, he was in his time the most prolific English singer-songwriter. He is best known as the composer of "Tom Bowling", one of his many sea songs, which often features at the Last Night of the Proms. He also wrote about 30 dramatic pieces, including the operas The Waterman (1774) and The Quaker (1775), and several novels, memoirs and histories.
Isaac Bickerstaffe or Bickerstaff was an Irish playwright and Librettist.
Midas, king of Lydia is a figure from Greek mythology.
Charles Benjamin Incledon was a Cornish tenor singer, who became one of the foremost English singers of his time, especially in the singing of English theatre music and ballads in which he was considered without rival.
Thomas Hales was a British-born French dramatist and librettist. He was from an Irish expatriate family in Gloucestershire and joined the Royal Navy during the Seven Years' War. He settled in Jamaica for a short time and then in Havana, Cuba, before moving to Europe to travel. He lived in Switzerland and Italy both before arriving in Paris, France, in 1770, where he was bankrupted.
Henry Pottinger Stephens, also known as Henry Beauchamp, was an English dramatist and journalist.
Le Jugement de Midas is a French comédie mêlée d'ariettes, in three acts by André Grétry first performed on 28 March 1778 in the apartments of Madame de Montesson at the Palais-Royal in Paris. The libretto is by the Irish playwright Thomas Hales with additional contributions by Louis Anseaume. It was based on the burlesque opera Midas (1760) by Kane O'Hara.
William Reeve was an English theatre composer and organist.
Cecilia Young was one of the greatest English sopranos of the eighteenth century, the wife of composer Thomas Arne, and the mother of composer Michael Arne. According to music historian Charles Burney, she had "a good natural voice and a fine shake [and] had been so well taught, that her style of singing was infinitely superior to that of any other English woman of her time". She was part of a well-known English family of musicians that included several professional singers and organists. Young enjoyed a large amount of success through her close association with George Frideric Handel. She appeared in several of his oratorios and operas including the premieres of Ariodante (1735), Alcina (1735), Alexander's Feast (1736) and Saul (1739).
Polly Young was an English soprano, composer and keyboard player. She was part of a well-known English family of musicians that included several professional singers and organists during the 17th and 18th centuries. Her husband, François-Hippolyte Barthélémon, was a composer and violinist, and their daughter, Cecilia Maria Barthélemon, was also a composer and opera singer.
Isabella Hill, better known as Mrs Howard Paul, was an English actress, operatic singer and actress-manager of the Victorian era, best remembered for creating the role of Lady Sangazure in the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Sorcerer (1877).
Maria Dickons or Martha Frances Caroline Poole was an opera singer.
Rosemond Mountain or Rosemond Wilkinson was a British actress. She was said to be the "best female singer on the English stage" from 1800.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is an encyclopedic dictionary of music and musicians. Along with the German-language Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, it is one of the largest reference works on western music. Originally published under the title A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and later as Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, it has gone through several editions since the 19th century and is widely used. In recent years it has been made available as an electronic resource called Grove Music Online, which is now an important part of Oxford Music Online.