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The Secret Language of the Fans


The Marquise Ensemble presents you with a programme, which reveals the secret forgotten language of fans along with music, poems, acting and love. The music programme includes composers such as: Handel, Monteverdi, Couperin, Bach, Vivaldi and other famous composers. In the Baroque era, the fan became an ideal instrument of communication in an age on which freedom of speech for women was restricted. The main gestures and their respective meanings that together made up what was known as “the language of the fan”. It was seen especially in the Spanish, French and English courts where it became very common.


Every music piece fit with one sign of fan language. Our Master of ceremonies explane and show, as a lecture with our singer, Judit Felszeghy the actual sign. And under the music we show in an acting the sign as well.


Addison’s satire on the rage for fans, in the guise of a letter from the owner of a fan academy.

The Spectator, Wednesday, June 27, 1711.

„ Mr. Spectator,

Women are armed with fans as men with swords, and sometimes do more execution with them. To the end therefore that ladies may be intire mistresses of the weapon which they bear, I have erected an academy for the training up of young women in the exercise of the fan, according to the most fashionable airs and motions that are now practiced at court.”


Here are a few examples of signs of Fan:


Drawing across the cheek – I love you

Touching left cheek – no

Presented shut – do you love me?

Twirling in left hand – we are watched

Running her fingers through the fan’s ribs - I want to talk to you

Open wide – wait for me

Kiss me - With handle to lip

In right hand in front of face – Follow me

Twirling in right hand – I love another

Open and shut – you are cruel

Resting the fan on her heart -My love for you is breaking my heart

Quickly and impetuously closing the fan - I’m jealous

Touching right cheek – yes

Dropping the fan- I belong to you

Fanning slowly – I am married


The planned music programme include:


1. C. Monteverdi: Poppea - Pur ti miro

2. A. Vivaldi: Quel passegier son io  - cantata

3. J. C. Pepusch: When loves soft passion- cantata

4. A. Stradella: Sinfonia

5. C. Monteverdi: Quel squardo sdegnosetto

6. T. Merula: Ciaccona

7. C. Monteverdi: Damigella tutta bella

8. G. F. Handel: Nel dolce del oblio – cantata

9. J. S. Bach: D minor Sarabande

10. G. F. Handel: Giulio Cesare - Piu amabile belta

11. A. Vivaldi: Veni veni – cantata

12. G. F. Telemann: Sonata in G majnor, Largo and Scherzo

13. G. F. Handel: Alcina – Torna mi a vagheggiar

14. D. Cimarosa: Sonata in G major

15. W. A. Mozart: Die Zauberflote – Papa


C. Monteverdi:  Damigella tutta bella
C. Monteverdi: Quel squardo sdegnosetto
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