Next Best Thing productions

About Carlo Goldoni

Next Best Thing productions - Mirandolina, Carlo Goldoni

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CARLO GOLDONI was born in Venice in 1707. The boy's father, a physician, placed him under the care of the philosopher Caldini at Rimini but the young Carlo soon ran away with a company of travelling players and came to Venice . There he began to study law; he continued his studies at Pavia , though he relates in his Memoirs that a considerable part of his time was spent in reading Greek and Latin comedies. He had already begun writing at this time, and, as a result of a libel in which he ridiculed certain families of Pavia , he was forced to leave the city. Eventually he returned to Venice , first to practice law, but then to write for the stage. It didn't start well. After submitting his first play, the melodrama Amalasunta in 1732, he was told he had to do more than try and just please the public and it was rejected for not adhering to the forms of Italian theatre. He promptly threw the manuscript on the fire. He found more success with his second: Belisario , but soon tired of tragedies and turned to comedy, seeking inspiration from Molière . In attempting to emulate the French genius Goldoni had come to realize that the Italian stage needed reforming, to move away from the reliance on stock characters and vulgar improvisation that characterized the Commedia dell' Arte, and in 1738 produced his first popular full-length comedy, L'Umo di mondo . For the next two decades he worked primarily in Venice penning such classics as Un Curioso Accidente, Il Vero Amico, La Bottega del Caffe and La Locandiera (variously translated as "The Mistress of the Inn" or "Mirandolina" - after its heroine). His plays developed the realistic and occasionally bitter situation comedy of Moliere by adding the zest and brio that characterized Italian theatre. In 1762 he moved to Paris , where he continued to write, although his eyesight was beginning to fail. Among the plays which he wrote in French, the most successful was Le Bourru bienfaisant , produced on the occasion of the marriage of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1771. He enjoyed considerable popularity in France , and when he retired to Versailles the King granted him a pension. Carlo Godoni died in 1793 at the height of the Reign of Terror, he was 85 years old. Goldoni continued to be extremely popular, both in mainland Europe and, later, in North America. However it took until the 1990s for his name to be big box office in Britain , with the RSC's barnstorming productions of "The Venetian Twins" and "A Servant of Two Masters".


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