Stefanelo Botarga and Zan Ganassa: Textual and visual records of a musical commedia dell’arte duo, in and beyond early modern Iberia

Katritzky, M. A. (2019). Stefanelo Botarga and Zan Ganassa: Textual and visual records of a musical commedia dell’arte duo, in and beyond early modern Iberia. Music in Art, 44 pp. 83–104.

URL: http://www.musiciconography.org/parent-page/music-...

Abstract

Among the commedia dell’arte’s renowned international stars, two who generated more pan-European interest than most were the Italian professional actors Alberto Naseli and Abagaro Frescobaldi. The stage roles they created, Zan Ganassa and Stefanelo Botarga, were extremely influential in Iberia, inspiring many imitations further afield, some not previously noted in this context. Frescobaldi was touring Iberia with the troupe of Alberto Naseli by 1574. When he played Botarga to Naseli’s Ganassa, the duo created an immensely popular master-servant double act, celebrated in and beyond Iberia. From 1581 onwards, Frescobaldi’s impact on Iberian performance practice became even more direct. Instead of following Naseli and his wife Flaminia to Madrid, Frescobaldi married the newly widowed Spanish actress Luisa de Aranda, and took the place of her late husband, Juan Granado, co-leading Aranda’s Spanish acting troupe around towns such as Valladolid, Valencia, Madrid and Seville. María del Valle Ojeda Calvo’s discovery in the 1990s, in Madrid’s Royal Library, of two manuscript collections of stage speeches compiled by Frescobaldi during the 1580s, variously written in Venetian dialect, maccaronic Latin, Spanish or Catalan, immensely enrich our understanding of the role of Botarga. The focus of this article is Ganassa and Botarga’s unprecedented impact on Spanish and Catalan theatre, festival and music culture, and elsewhere in Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

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