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L 'opera dei pupi

Brandimarte e Astolfo
due soldati saraceni

"L'opera dei pupi" is the traditional theatre of "marionette" (Puppets) of Southern Italy. The performance is accompanied by the sound of one or more violins; it represented long predictable events deriving from Carolingian cycle as well as from Shakespearean plots and from stories regarding the life of the saints. The main theme was usually a battle. The origin of this theatrical form probably dates back to the "cantores et joculatores Francigenorum" that since the XII century had introduced the epic-Carolingian material in Italy, with the song recitals of the "Chansons de Geste". Performances were held outdoor in summer and indoor theatres in winter. The general audience was exclusively made up of young boys and men from certain social classes, women rarely partecipeted . The theatre operators called "opranti, teatrinari o pupari", moved the puppets, made them talk and mistrucked background scenery that mainly derived the theatrical performances in the18th century. The puppets, with their carefully and well expressed form were from 110 to 130cm high and weighed 16kg. Their figurative aspect was introduced in the theatre without thinking of its historical veracity : in fact the Knights wore Renaissance suits. The wirands dressed like doctor Faust, while the women dressed inspiring the style of Van Dych pictures.