burlesque(redirected from Burlesque theater)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
See studies by C. V. Clinton-Baddeley (1952, repr. 1974); R. P. Bond (1932, repr. 1964), J. D. Jump (1972), and K. Regehr and M. Temperley (2017).
(1) A genre of comic parody poetry. The comic effect in burlesque is determined by the contrast between the theme and the character of its interpretation: either a deliberately “lofty” theme receives a trivially routine treatment and is presented in an explicitly “low” style (Big Morgante by Pulci, The Aeneid Transposed Into the Ukrainian Language by I. P. Kotliarevskii) or a “low” theme is realized by means of a traditionally “lofty” style—the so-called heroicomic poem (the ancient parody of Homer, Batrachomyomachia, and The Lectern by Boileau).
In Europe burlesque was especially popular in the 17th and early 18th century (the poem Virgile Travesti by the French poet P. Scarron), and in Russia at the end of the 18th century (the heroicomic poem Elisei, or Bacchus Infuriated by V. Maikov and the travesty Virgils Aeneid, Inside Out by N. Osipov) as a reaction to the conventional solemnity of the heroic poem of the classicists. Elements of burlesque may be found in Mystery Bouffe by V. Mayakovsky and in the satirical poem by A. Tvardovskii, Terkin in the Next World.
(2) A musical piece that is humorous, at times comical or whimsical, in character. It is related to the capriccio and humoresque. There are burlesques by J. S. Bach (Partita, no. 3), R. Schumann (Pages From an Album, for piano), M. Reger, B. Bartok, and R. Strauss (Burleske, for pianoforte and orchestra).
(3) A short comic parody opera, similar to vaudeville. It originated in Italy and gained popularity in France, Ireland, and Great Britain.