Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Early Hebrew and Ladino Drama

Question: Do you know of a resource, a catalogue or list of
Hebrew, Spanish or Ladino drama from the 15th to the
18th century? I am looking specifically for evidence of scripts of purim plays and songs.

Answer: I would suggest you check the following resources:

Author: New York Public Library.
Title: List of dramas in the New York Public Library Relating to the Jews : and of Dramas in Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, and Judeo-German; together with essays on the Jewish stage / prepared by A.S. Freidus.
Imprint: New York : New York Public Library, 1907.
Published In: Bulletin of the New York Public Library. v. 9, no. 1 (January, 1907).

Call number at New York Public Library: *PAQ (New York Public Library (1895-), Reference Department. List of dramas)

Besso, Henry V. Dramatic literature of the Sephardic Jews of Amsterdam in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries. New York : Hispanic Institute in the U.S., Secciãaon de Estudios Sefardãaies, 1947.117 p.
"Reprinted from the Bulletin Hispanique, vol. XXXIX-XLI [1937-1939]" Bibliography: p. [86]-111.

Sephardic Studies: A Research Bibliography, Incorporating Judezmo Language, Literature and Folkore and Historical Background by David M. Bunis (New York: Garland, 1981) is also an excellent resource for you. Four of its sections list bibliographies which may include music/purim plays in Hebrew or Ladino or Spanish: Literary Genres -Drama (p 91), Folksong, Folk Poetry and Folk Music (p. 105), Folk Drama (p. 146), and The Calendric Cycle…Purim (p. 160).

For additional information the following resources discuss early purim music and plays:

Dr. Edwin Serousi’s background notes to the CD:

The Sword of the Dove: Purim Songs in the Sephardi Tradition

Philip Goodman’s The Purim Anthology (Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1960) refers to quite a number of songs and dramas in chapter XI [Purim in Music], Chapter XVI [The History of Purim Parody in Jewish Literature] and chapter XVII [The History of Purim Plays]. Be sure to check the notes and bibliographies for each chapter.

Abraham Z. Idelsohn’s Jewish Music: Its Historical Development (New York: Schocken Books, 1967), gives a brief overview of early Purim theatre and song in Chapter XX: Badchonim (Merry-Makers) and Klezmorim (Music-Makers). He refers to the drama entitled Esther by Solomon Usque and Lazaro Gratiano (1567).

The following entry from the JTS Library catalog describes a Purim song from an 18th century Italian broadside:

Special Call no.: B (NS)PP21
Author: De la Bele Romanel, Avraham.
Title: ‫Pizmon le-Simḥat Purim. פזמון לשמחת פורים ... ‬
Imprint: [Italy : s.n., 17--?].

Descr.: 1 broadside : ill. (border design] ; 33 x 22 cm.
Gen. note ‫ סוג הגליון: שיר לפורים. ‬
‫ אנשים: המן, אסתר. ‬
‫ תחילת השיר: שמעו אלי כל העדה. ‬
Type of broadside: Festival poems and prayers and related items.
Abstract Italian hymn for Purim.

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