• Encyclopedia of Performing Arts

    Encyclopedia of Performing Arts

    • Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo
      Country Italy
      Language Italian
      Subject Performing arts
      Genre Reference encyclopedia
      Publisher Casa Editrice Le Maschere;
      Unione Editoriale
      Publication date
      Media type Hardcover;
      9 original volumes;
      2 supplementary;

      The Encyclopedia of Performing Arts (Italian: Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo; sometimes cited as Enciclopedio dello Spettacolo) was an Italian language specialty encyclopedia of performing arts, published between 1954 and 1965. Its first editor was the Italian theatre critic and journalist, Silvio D'Amico. Considered to be the most comprehensive international performing arts encyclopedia, it is included in the reference section of many libraries.

      The Encyclopedia of Performing Arts was created by two separate projects, one dating to 1945 and the other to 1954.

      Starting in 1945 or 1946, D'Amico conceived of a project to develop an encyclopedia of the performing arts. Undertaken by an editorial team composed of a few people and led by D'Amico, it was produced in three or four years and contained four volumes. Considered superficial, it was not publishable. However, it developed a model for scientific study of the theater and other performing arts.

      Conceived as a set of 12 volumes, the second project took on an ethnographic approach. It had the advantage of a stable editorial group and used foreign employees. D'Amico's editorial staff worked at the Palazzo Doria Pamphili, Via del Plebiscito 112. The attorney Carlo Minù, D'Amico's brother-in-law, found funding for the second project and referred D'Amico to publishers. In drawing up lists of dramas, operas, ballets and films, the editorial team wondered if it their work was worthwhile or helpful. It was Francesco Savio who sometimes said, "Of course it is; if someone else wants one day to create an Encyclopedia of Performing Arts, they would find this materials to be useful." When the news spread that the encyclopedia was about to be published, a delegation arrived wanting guidance in the organizational work to start up an encyclopedia of Prague theater.

      The structure of the work was better articulated. Responsibility for each section, such as film, music, or theater, was delegated to an initial small staff that rapidly grew to thirty editors that coordinated over five hundred employees. Large blocks of work were assigned to collaborators, many of them in foreign countries.

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