Dancing desire on the Venetian stage

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10 Scopus citations


This article proposes that dance was a central way in which Venetians reinvented the ancient world on the operatic stage. Focusing on Niccolò Bartolini's preface to Venere gelosa (1643) and his use of dance in that opera, this article explores how Venetian balli became a locus for expressing otherwise inexpressible passions and desires - ecstatic Bacchic rituals, the goat-dances of Pan, or the erotic games of nymphs and satyrs - that were integral to the early modern reception of antiquity. It concludes with a consideration of the balli in La Calisto (1652), demonstrating the significance of the dances for understanding the work as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-295
Number of pages15
JournalCambridge Opera Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Music


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