Beth L. Glixon and Jonathan E. Glixon

in Inventing the Business of Opera

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195154160
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868483 | DOI:

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This chapter looks at the expenses associated with dancers, extras, and the orchestra. Dance provided an important visual and musical component of 17th-century opera. Giovanni Battista Balbi, who appeared in the first public opera in Venice, is the most famous Venetian dancer and choreographer of the 17th century. The papers of impresario Marco Faustini introduce the names of a number of previously unknown choreographers, namely Giovanni Battista Martini, Battista Artusi, Olivier Vigasio, and Agostino Ramaccini. Faustini paid the choreographer a set fee, and also provided shoes and costumes designed to complement the themes of the dances. Costumes were also provided for extras, who added pomp and splendor to various scenes in the opera. The Faustini papers also provide crucial data for the understanding of the orchestra: its size, makeup, and means of payment. The orchestra comprised stringed and various continuo instruments, and was led either by the composer of the opera, or by someone suggested by him.

Keywords: dance; choreographer; costumes; Battista Balbi; impresario; Marco Faustini; strings; continuo

Chapter.  5064 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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