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Impresario

Impresario

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An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concert
Concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

s, plays
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 or opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

s; analogous to a film producer
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

 in filmmaking
Filmmaking
Filmmaking is the process of making a film, from an initial story, idea, or commission, through scriptwriting, casting, shooting, directing, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a theatrical release or television program...

, television production and an angel investor
Angel investor
An angel investor or angel is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity...

 in business. The origin of the term is to be found in the social and economic world of Italian opera
Italian opera
Italian opera is both the art of opera in Italy and opera in the Italian language. Opera was born in Italy around the year 1600 and Italian opera has continued to play a dominant role in the history of the form until the present day. Many famous operas in Italian were written by foreign composers,...

, where from the mid-18th century to the 1830s, the impresario was the key figure in the organization of a lyric season. The owners of the theatre, usually noble amateurs, charged the impresario with hiring a composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, for until the 1850s operas on stage were expected to be new, as well as gathering the necessary costumes, sets, orchestra, and singers, all while assuming considerable financial risks. In 1786 Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 satirized the stress and emotional mayhem in a single-act farce Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario)
Der Schauspieldirektor
Der Schauspieldirektor , K. 486, is a comic Singspiel written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie, an Austrian Schauspieldirektor....

. Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

 was unusual in acting as impresario as well as composer: in 1714 he managed seasons at Teatro Sant'Angelo in Venice, where his opera Orlando finto pazzo
Orlando finto pazzo
Orlando finto pazzo is an opera in three acts composed by Antonio Vivaldi to a libretto by Grazio Braccioli. The plot is based on an episode in Matteo Boiardo's unfinished the epic poem Orlando Innamorato...

was followed by numerous others.

Many impresarios went bankrupt, some more than once; thus, a mercantile background and a gambler's instincts were useful. Alessandro Lanari (1787–1852) began as the owner of a shop that produced costumes, eliminating the middleman in a series of successful seasons he produced for the Teatro La Pergola, Florence, which saw premieres of the first version of Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

's Macbeth
Macbeth (opera)
Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on Shakespeare's play of the same name...

, two of Bellini
Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer. His greatest works are I Capuleti ed i Montecchi , La sonnambula , Norma , Beatrice di Tenda , and I puritani...

's operas and five of Donizetti's, including Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tragico in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian language libretto loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor....

. Domenico Barbaia
Domenico Barbaia
Domenico Barbaia was an Italian impresario.An energetic man, Barbaia, who was born in Milan, began his career by running a coffee shop...

 (1778–1841) began as a café waiter and made a fortune at La Scala
La Scala
La Scala , is a world renowned opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the New Royal-Ducal Theatre at La Scala...

 in Milan, where he was also in charge of the gambling operation and introduced roulette
Roulette
Roulette is a casino game named after a French diminutive for little wheel. In the game, players may choose to place bets on either a single number or a range of numbers, the colors red or black, or whether the number is odd or even....

.

The traditional term is still in use in the entertainment industry for a producer of concert
Concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

s, tours and other events in music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

, theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

  and even rodeo
Rodeo
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States,...

. Significant modern impresarios in the traditional sense include Rudolf Bing, Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev , usually referred to outside of Russia as Serge, was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise.-Early life and career:...

, Richard D'Oyly Carte
Richard D'Oyly Carte
Richard D'Oyly Carte was an English talent agent, theatrical impresario, composer and hotelier during the latter half of the Victorian era...

, Fortune Gallo
Fortune Gallo
Fortune Thomas Gallo was an Italian-born opera impresario. Gallo was owner and General Manager of the traveling San Carlo Opera Company from 1913 until its disbandment in the late 1950s.-Biography:...

, Sol Hurok
Sol Hurok
Sol Hurok was a world-famous 20th century American impresario.-Biography:...

, Aaron Richmond
Aaron Richmond
Aaron Richmond was an American performing arts manager, pianist, impresario, and educator, based in Boston, Massachusetts, who managed the careers of numerous classical musicians and founded Celebrity Series of Boston, a performing arts presenting organization that still operates today.-Early...

, and jazz festival producer George Wein
George Wein
George Wein is an American jazz promoter and producer who has been called "the most famous jazz impresario" and "the most important non-player... in jazz history"...

.

The term is occasionally applied to others, such as independent art museum curator
Curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

s and conference organizers, who take a lead role in orchestrating events.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water...

 said of himself that he was an impresario of scientists as an explorer and filmmaker who worked with scientists in underwater exploration. Nicholas Wade
Nicholas Wade
Nicholas Wade is a British-born scientific reporter, editor and author who currently writes for the Science Times section of The New York Times.-Biography:Wade was born in Aylesbury, England and educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge...

 described James D. Watson
James D. Watson
James Dewey Watson is an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick...

 and E. O. Wilson
E. O. Wilson
Edward Osborne Wilson is an American biologist, researcher , theorist , naturalist and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants....

 in The New York Times as impresarios of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

's works.

See also

  • Empresario
    Empresario
    An empresario was a person who, in the early years of the settlement of Texas, had been granted the right to settle on Mexican land in exchange for recruiting and taking responsibility for new settlers. The word is Spanish for entrepreneur.- Background :...

  • Entrepreneur
    Entrepreneur
    An entrepreneur is an owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative.The term was originally a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon. Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to a person who is willing to...

  • Promoter (entertainment)
    Promoter (entertainment)
    An entertainment promoter i.e. music, wrestling, boxing etc is a person or company in the business of marketing and promoting live events such as concerts/gigs, boxing matches, sports entertainment , festivals, raves, and nightclubs.- Business model :Promoters are typically hired as independent...

  • Theatrical producer
    Theatrical producer
    A theatrical producer is the person ultimately responsible for overseeing all aspects of mounting a theatre production. The independent producer will usually be the originator and finder of the script and starts the whole process...