Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
Is a theatrical genre which is usually performed at Christmas time. It originates from Greece – a pantomimes is a solo dancer who dancers along with a sung narrative and instrumental music, usually played on flute. The word eventually was applied to the performance itself.
Pantomime was a very popular form of entertainment in ancient Greece and then in later Rome. Just as theatre does, pantomime combines comedy and tragedy. However the genre was frowned upon by the elite therefore no ancient pantomime (libretto) survived.
Ancient poets such as Lucan wrote for pantomime most likely because it paid well. The style of pantomime is closely related to commedia dell’arte, this popular form of theatre came around in the Middle Ages, in Italy and the reached England by the 16th century. Travelling from county to county, comedy professional artists would tell stories which had a moral to it, good always triumphs over evil; they changed the main character depending on where they were performing.
However the clown Grimaldi changed this, each story had the same fixed stock characters: father, the lovers, servants (one stupid the other crafty), villain (doctore), these roles can still be found in today’s pantomimes. Pantomime has a number of conventions such as audience anticipation including calls of “he’s behind you”, “oh no he isn’t” and “oh yes he is”. There is usually a song with a well known tune with re-written lyrics, the audience is encouraged to sing along, and often one side of the audience is encouraged to sing their chorus louder than the other half. Songs in pantomime often speak about future events or how the character is feeling at the time.
A popular pantomime is Aladdin which has been subject to pantomime for over 200 years. Aladdin is the source of a well known character widow twankey (Aladdin’s mother). The story f Aladdin is changed in setting and in plot by pantomime often made to fit it better into china there is no Arabic influence (although a china which is located in London’s east end china rather than in medieval Bagdad).
Operetta came from the French opera comique at around the middle of the 19th century, to satisfy the need for short, light works instead of full length entertainment of serious opera comique. An example of opera comique is Carmen with a tragic plot. Opéracomique had conquered the French operatic stage from the time when the tragédie lyrique went into decline. Jacques Offenbach is usually credited to have written the first operettas, e.g. la belle Hélène. However Ernest Newman thought that it was Herve, a conductor, singer, librettist who should have been accredited. Although it was Offenbach who picked up the genre and made it popular, during the second empire and afterwards.
Operetta is a light form of opera, light in conditions of music and subject matter. This is closely related to both opera and to other forms of lighter musical theatre, and in many cases, it is hard to allocate a musical theatre work to a particular genre.
Usually some of the libretto of an opera is spoken, not sung. Rather than moving from one musical number to another – plainly so indicated in the scores to another, the singers mix together the musical segments e.g aria, recitative, chorus also with periods of dialogue without any singing or music accompaniment. Operettas are seen as less serious than opera and has more to do with comic plots than the calibre of the music.
Songs within operetta is often used to catch the audience’s imagination to get them to understand the background and personality of the characters and how they are feeling at the time.
An example of operetta is Les miserable’s set in 19th century France. The musical is based on the 1862 novel by victor Hugo. The musical was composes by a French composer Claude-Michel Schonberg and is perhaps the most famous of all French musicals
Broadway theatre- simply known as Broadway
This refers to the dramatic performances in one of 39 professional theatres with 500 seats in the theatre district of Manhattan, New York. Broadway theatre is the best form of professional theatre for the general public as well as being the most worthwhile for performers, technicians and other involved in the production. Broadway is known to embody the upmost level of commercial theatre in the English language along with London’s west end.
America did not have a theatre presence until the 1970’s this was when actor/ managers Walter Murray and Thomas Kean established a resident theatre company, at the theatre on Nassau street. The theatre moved from downtown New York to mid town at the beginning of 1850’s, looking for less expensive real estate. By the time of 1870 the central point of Broadway was in union square. Then by the century many theatres were in Madison square.
Songs in musicals are often sang in chorus there is usually dancing and is off an upbeat nature.
Grease is a Broadway musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Cassey it is a romantic comedy set in the 50’s. The names is taken from the U.S class youth subculture known as the greasers. The show celebrates rock and roll as well as doo wop and other contemporary styles. Grease is the longest running Broadway musical. The songs in Grease are often sung in chorus and are upbeat and incorporate dance and solo songs are usually tell the characters feelings.
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