A spectacular and essentially aristocratic entertainment with a fantasy or mythological theme, in which music, dance, extravagant costumes and scenic design figured larger than plot. Originating in Italy, it reached its height of popularity at the English court between 1600 and 1640, with the collaboration of Ben Jonson as writer and Inigo Jones as stage designer. The masque powerfully influenced the development of ballet and opera.

Masque (?), n.

A mask; a masquerade.


© Webster 1913.

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