Definitions

Goldoni

Goldoni

[gawl-doh-nee; It. gawl-daw-nee]
Goldoni, Carlo, 1707-93, Italian dramatist. He was enamored of comedy from childhood, having sketched his first comic drama at eight. He took a degree in law at Padua but thereafter devoted himself to the theater. He created a new Italian character comedy, considered artistically superior to the old commedia dell'arte. This he achieved by building on the old comedy of masks, but amplifying written parts; by judicious imitation of Molière and adaptation of classical themes; and by applying his own excellent comedic sense. Goldoni wrote more than 260 dramatic works of all sorts, including opera. Among the most notable of his 150 comedies are La locandiera (1753, tr. The Mistress of the Inn, 1856), Il ventaglio (1763, tr. The Fan, 1911), Il burbero benefico (1771, tr. The Beneficent Bear, 1849), and La buona figliuola (1756, tr. The Accomplished Maid, 1767), which was set to music by Niccolò Piccinni. Toward the end of his life he was supported in France by a royal pension that was cut off by the Revolution. He died in poverty.

See Goldoni's memoirs (1787, in French; tr. by J. Black, 1926); biography by H. C. Chatfield-Taylor (1913); study by H. Riedt (tr. 1974).

(born Feb. 25, 1707, Venice—died Feb. 6, 1793, Paris, France) Italian playwright. He practiced law but preferred to write plays, beginning with Belisario (1734). He renovated the commedia dell'arte form by replacing its masked stock figures with realistic characters, its repetitive action with tightly constructed plots, and its predictable farce with spontaneity in plays such as Pamela (1750), based on Samuel Richardson's novel. His comedy of manners La locandiera (1753) is still performed (as Mine Hostess). When rivals ridiculed his innovations, he took his realistic comedy to Paris, where he directed the Comédie-Italienne and wrote many plays in French. He later rewrote them for Italian audiences, and The Fan (1763) became one of his greatest successes.

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(born Feb. 25, 1707, Venice—died Feb. 6, 1793, Paris, France) Italian playwright. He practiced law but preferred to write plays, beginning with Belisario (1734). He renovated the commedia dell'arte form by replacing its masked stock figures with realistic characters, its repetitive action with tightly constructed plots, and its predictable farce with spontaneity in plays such as Pamela (1750), based on Samuel Richardson's novel. His comedy of manners La locandiera (1753) is still performed (as Mine Hostess). When rivals ridiculed his innovations, he took his realistic comedy to Paris, where he directed the Comédie-Italienne and wrote many plays in French. He later rewrote them for Italian audiences, and The Fan (1763) became one of his greatest successes.

Learn more about Goldoni, Carlo with a free trial on Britannica.com.

The Liar (Il bugiardo) is a comedy by Carlo Goldoni. It was written as part of Goldoni's fulfilment of a boast that he had inserted into the epilogue to one of his plays that for the next season he would write sixteen comedies. The Liar, along with the fifteen other comedies, was staged in the 1750-51 season at the Teatro Sant' Angelo in Venice. It draws on commedia dell'arte conventions and stock characters.

Plot

Lelio, a Venetian who has spent years away from home, returns to Venice. He courts the two daughters of Doctor Balanzone, Beatrice and Rosaura, without telling them which one he really loves. Meanwhile, each girl has another suitor a well, Florindo for Rosaura and Ottavio for Beatrice. Florindo is shy, however, and will not tell Rosaura that he loves her. This allows Lelio to concoct fabulous lies and convince Rosaura that he wishes to marry her.

Lelio's lies get him into deeper and deeper trouble with the girls, their father, and his own father Pantalone. At the end, it is revealed that while in Rome he married a Roman lady, who comes to claim him, leaving Rosaura and Beatrice free to marry Florindo and Ottavio.

Characters

References

  • Holme, Timothy. 1976. A Servant of Many Masters: The Life and Times of Carlo Goldoni. London: Jupiter. ISBN 0904041611.

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