The great theatre of the world (Part II) 0

Marius Vyšniauskas, 2016-06-30
Jean-Antoine Watteau. “Italian Theatre”, 1717, State Berlin Museum, Germany

In brief: The series of articles about theatre of the world is continued. The popularity of theatre reached its climax in the 18th century. After the death of Ludwig XIV, a new drama époque started along with the first tragedy of the writer François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778) Œdipe (1718), which the author signed under the nickname of Voltaire. Individual shows and theatre festivals attracted attention of the audience more and more. Costumes became more precise historically, theatre became increasingly more modern.

Dancers and choreographers of the 18th century started feeling that dance should render meaning instead of being a decorative element of theatre. Professional dancers were encouraged to show emotions. One of expressive dancers to be mentioned was Marie-Madeleine Guimard (1743–1816), which was famous for aristocratic and perfectly composed moves, mimic and expressive face.

The first Professional theatre in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was opened by Radvilos in Nesvizh in the 18th century. Soon the example was followed by the noblemen Sapiegos, Oginskiai and others. The founder of Nesvizh theatre was Vilnius voivode’s wife Uršulė Pranciška Radvilienė (1705–1753), a very energetic woman who took care of economic issues of the family as well as wrote poetry, 11 original dramas and translated three comedies of Moiere to Polish. Theatre was her great love.

Naturally, Warsaw theatre made the biggest contribution into the cultural life of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at that time. The first public opera house Operalnia was established in 1748 by Augustus III, but the national polish theatre appeared only in 1765, when the comedy of the poet and LGD great flagman Juozapas Bielavskis (1739–1809) “Bothers” was shown. The first local actresses Viktorija Leščinska and Antanina Prusinovska participated in the performance. Later Polish theatre was greatly developed by the actor and director, later director of theatre Wojciech Bogusławski (1757–1829), who is considered to be the father of Polish theatre. He aimed to make theatre patriotic, national and moral.

In the 19th century, lighter forms of theatre – operetta, vaudeville and melodrama flourished in European theatre. Meanwhile, in Lithuania theatre was more modest and also closer to a common and non-fastidious visitor.

A professional theatre was opened by V. Boguslavskis in Vilnius, Oskierkai Palace, in 1785. His troupe performed in Vilnius for five years, later a new troupe and theatre was formed by Dominykas Moravskis (1761–1801) in Radvilos Palace. The first prima donna of Lithuanian theatre was Mariana Korvelytė-Moravskienė (1765–1823), who shined in Vilnius theatrical life for about ten years. In 1810 a new theatre was opened in the Town Hall and the entrepreneur of this theatre was M. Moravska. Small operas translated from French, vaudevilles were staged here. Her theatre received greatest attention from the Frank family which staged operas here for the benefit of the Charity Home. the very Kristina Gerhardi-Frank (1780–?) with her students sang at the theatre then.

The first theatre in Kaunas was established in 1848, in the House of Thunder and operated there until 1865. Still, Kaunas inhabitants were not satisfied with the theatre premises as they considered it to be a sacred place. There is no more detailed information about performances staged here, however.

Theatre was much stronger in Vilnius – many interesting shows were presented there and historians shared their impressions about them willingly in their memoires. However, performances were acted in Russian since 1842 in Vilnius and performances in Polish were stopped completely from 1863. In this way Russian theatre consolidated in Vilnius stages at the end of the 19th century.

In 1830–1880 theatre expanded and flourished in all European countries – new buildings were constructed, more work appeared on the stage and behind the curtains. Productive playwrights wrote hundreds of short plays. Theatre of Lithuania developed in the same way until it subsequently became of national style propagating Lithuanian values.

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