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(also, divertimento).

In the theater during the 17th and 18th centuries, a divertissement was an inserted or concluding part of a dramatic production (sometimes of an opera or ballet), consisting of singing, dancing, brief comic scenes, parodies, and other numbers amusing in nature. A divertissement usually is unrelated to the plot of the main presentation. During the 1870’s the divertissement became an independent part of the concert program of vaudeville theaters and balagan (traveling) shows. Use of the divertissement in Russian ballet became widespread after the Fatherland War of 1812, when it was transformed into a unique type of ballet presentation with patriotic and nationalistic subject matter.

In music the divertissement is a type of light popular music. The term designates an instrumental work which serves primarily as an amusing diversion. Divertissements consist of several sections (usually from four to ten) and are arranged for various instrumental groups (ranging from one instrument to a chamber ensemble or an orchestra). They combine elements of the suite and the sonata and resemble a serenade because of their extensive use of dance genres. They are also related to the cassation and the nocturne. Examples of divertissements can be found in the works of Haydn and Mozart.

During the 19th century, divertissements were converted into a genre of salon music similar to a medley. There are a few exceptions, for example, Hungarian Divertissement by Schubert, written for two pianos. During the 20th century the divertissement has taken the form of a suite consisting of short ballets (for example, the divertissement from Stravinsky’s ballet Le Baiser de la fee). Occasionally works are composed that are stylizations of the 18th-century divertissement (Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings).

References in periodicals archive ?
For some reason, nobody has ever performed Satie's Sports et Divertissements in conjunction with its text.
At one time or another Wesley adapts nearly all of them to his own ends: the fetes galantes and pastorales, the seasonal allegories and Arcadian landscapes, the Ovidian metamorphoses, historical anecdotes, and sporting scenes, the orientales, chinoiseries, odalisques, and divertissements (i.
Bourne sets one scene in an ambisexual cabaret, and he can't resist a hilarious side trip to one of those icky 19th-century butterfly-ballet divertissements (exquisite designs by Lez Brotherston) that his own work seems to render so irrelevant.
Jean-Francois Regnard's libretto stretches an exiguous romantic anecdote a la Marivaux over an entire evening, leaving more than ample room for the obligatory divertissements.
Fun Key") is pleased to announce the signature today of a Letter of intent with the main officer-shareholders of the corporation Metaforia Divertissements Inc.
Un village d'enfants sera tenu pour leur offrir un espace de jeux et de divertissements, ainsi qu'une large exposition de produits du terroir de la region d'Ifrane sera ouverte au cours de la periode de la fete en plus de l'organisation d'un grand carnaval refletant le patrimoine naturel, culturel et artistique typiquement amazigh de la region du Moyen Atlas.
In the second-act divertissements, many of the dances or variations are borderline caricatures, if not downright demeaning.
The ballet has almost everything the Kirov does best - storytelling, sparkling divertissements, virtuoso tricks, folk and gypsy dances, gorgeous costumes and classical chocolate-box prettiness in Act II's woodland scene.
The two-week season will consist of four divertissements by celebrated choreographer Frederick Ashton, and The Two Pigeons; and a triple bill - Scenes de Ballet, Dante Sonata and Enigma Variations.
Inside Casa Malaparte, surrounded by views of a beauty that would in earlier times have frozen the soul, the characters in Contempt indulge in idle flirtations, vainglorious pronouncements on the gravity of art, and games where power and its abuse are meaningless divertissements.
Tous les divertissements proposes lors de cette soiree livreront aux fans du monde entier un avant-gout de ce que le Bresil pourra leur offrir lorsque le plus grand spectacle du football mondial.
Sarasota Ballet honors the Ringling family, the circus magnates who are also celebrated local arts patrons, in a new Nutcracker by choreographer Matthew Hart and designer Peter Docherty--including circus-themed Act II divertissements.