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Title: Dramatic figures in the Venetian Republic : performance, patronage, and puppets
Author: Zefferino, Melanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 1216
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This study offers new insights to the knowledge of Venice`s history and theatre historiography. It is the outcome of an interdisciplinary research investigating the visual and performative culture of this unique context though its representations with dramatic figures from the beginning to the end of its history as a republic. The first chapter offers an insight into Medieval Venice focusing on liturgical drama, mystery plays, and civic ritual with display of movable sculptures and puppets. The second chapter sheds light on the relation between puppetry, the commedia, and different forms of spectacle with mechanised or indirectly controlled figures. Presented in the third chapter are the theatrical festivals with wondrous figures that were staged in the outskirts of Padua by two illustrious patrons of the arts, the Paduan Pio Enea II degli Obizzi and the Venetian Marco Contarini. The fourth chapter is dedicated to the debut of puppet opera, and the performances of this genre that were staged in the private and public theatres of Venice during the seventeenth century. The history of puppet opera in Venice continues in the fifth chapter, also making comparisons with performances held in cultural areas that absorbed the Venetian legacy. Critical analysis of the repertory of puppet theatre broadly defined and reflection on the aesthetics and operating techniques of the figures that were used has been made relating texts to specific objects, many of which are unpublished or little known. Shedding light on the Venetian eighteenth century marionette theatres that are extant, attention has also been drawn of the role that these objects played in the history of collecting. In the sixth chapter the chronological account is suspended for a moment to leave room for some reflection on the intertwining between Venice and the Orient based on research findings. Cross-cultural analysis has been made comparing Venice’s puppet theatre traditions not only with those of the near East, but also with China based on material evidence. The seventh and last chapter investigates the relation between puppet theatre and the rising passion for views of the world as a stage, or animated microcosm to capture through observation. There is inevitably much overlap across all these aspects, and yet attempts have been be made to keep them separate in the discussion, either relating them to the time related phenomenon within which they assume greater significance. Following a chronological thread, critical analysis of the puppet theatre manifestations originating in Venice has been carried out placing this genre within the frameworks of other arts, drawing comparisons with other traditions, and bringing to the fore reminiscences from the past at different times in history. All this making every possible effort not to turn the memory of an entertaining art form into the sterile analysis of its ‘faint reflection’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater