All terms

What is a Burletta?

A type of comic Italian opera.

Burletta: A Musical Farce from Italy

Burletta is a term that describes a type of comic Italian opera that emerged in the late 18th century and remained popular throughout the 19th century.

Similar to opera buffa and commedia dell'arte, burletta is known for its light and humorous storylines, with characters often engaging in slapstick and physical comedy. The music is also typically upbeat, featuring catchy melodies and quick tempos.

The term burletta is derived from the Italian word burlesco, which means farce or mockery. It's said that the origins of burletta can be traced back to the Commedia dell'arte tradition of Italy, which had a significant influence on many forms of comedy and performance art throughout Europe.

The Flowery Language of Burletta in Literature

Burletta has also had an influence on literature, with its flowery language and boisterous characters making appearances in various literary works throughout history. Here are two examples:

Charles Dickens' Sketches by Boz

In Charles Dickens' Sketches by Boz, the burletta is used as a metaphor for the state of contemporary English culture, with characters riffing on the idea of a burletta throughout the story.

John Keats' Endymion

Another example can be found in John Keats' epic poem Endymion, in which the protagonist is compared to a burletta performer in order to emphasize his light and carefree nature.