Comédie en vaudeville

ComéDie En Vaudeville

Comédie en vaudeville

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The Comédie en vaudeville was a theatrical entertainment which began in Paris towards the end of the 17th century, in which comedy was enlivened though lyrics using the melody of popular vaudeville songs.

Evolution

The annual fairs of Paris at St. Germain and St. Laurent had developed theatrical variety entertainments, which mixed plays, acrobat displays, and pantomimes, typically featuring vaudevilles (see Théâtre de la foire). Gradually these features began to invade established theatres. The Querelle des Bouffons (War of the clowns), a dispute amongst theatrical factions in Paris in the 1750s, in part reflects the rivalry of this form, as it evolved into opéra comique, with the Italian opera buffa. 'Comédie en vaudeville' also seems to have influenced the English ballad opera and the German Singspiel.

The vaudeville final

One feature of the comédie en vaudeville which later found its way into opera was the vaudeville final, a strophic finale in which the characters assemble at the end of the piece with each singing a short verse, often ending with a refrain which everyone would sing, and a final verse with the entire ensemble joining in. Typically the first verse provides the moral of the story, while the intervening verses comment on particular events in the plot, and the final verse appeals directly to audience for its indulgence. Sometimes the verses were also interspersed with dances.

It became a common feature of the earlier opéras comiques, such as those...
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