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Special occasions: historical banquets

Planning, production and staging of a unique and unrepeatable occasion

Julia Berger
Music - Theatre - Dance
Music and Well-being
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16th century feasts were exclusive and sumptuous occasions showing the power and prestige of a certain social class. The entertainment might consist in a series of attractive performances or in ceremonies with a precise development. Both of these had success as entertainment for a feast.
The renaissance banquet represented part of a celebratory system demonstrating wealth and waste imagination and wonderful effects to show the exceptionality and singularity of the host.. For this purpose every aspect of culture and kind of entertainment played its part. The banquet-show was an ART that in the 16th century would achieve sophisticated performances and then a detailed codification of the forms and use of musical and dance based on recollections of classical mythologies, of the role of the steward and the carver, the cup bearer and the baker, the dressing of food, scenic devices. It is a combination of techniques, lengthy preparations, organizational and executive structures, inventions, people, a search for the unusual, the marvellous, the exceptional. But all the same it is a performance meant as an intermezzo for a banquet, container and contained at the same time, which has been filled with various forms yet kept, in its indispensable but not primary function, material which makes it substantial, gives it continuity of meaning: the metaphorical feast of the gods.

Entertainment to accompany banquets>