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The Brighella
The cunning servant of the Commedia dell'arte or the so-called "first zanni" is traceable to Upper Bergamo and, for this reason, different from the Lower Bergamasque Arlecchino.

His full name is Brighella Caviechio da Val Brembana, a name which gives the impression of one who can always find a way out of a difficult situation. Brighella probably comes from briga and its verb, brigare meaning in this case to hoodwink, as indeed. he did.

Always up to some mischief, avid and astute, he is the servant who aids and abets his master in all his basest intrigues and he is every bit as capable of turning his back and pretending he just doesn't know, if danger threatens or his master finds himself in a tight corner. Utterly unscrupulous, he adapts himself to every trade, and we can end him as anything from the host of a tavern to a sergeant, a majordomo or a masterly thief.

His costume has the white, green-striped shirt reminiscent of the stylised livery worn by all the zanni or Commedia dell'arte servants. Sometimes we see him in a cloak and a curious, shabby green hat. He has a black or olive green mask and this may be embellished according to the actor's taste, using other colours. He has a moustache, which is a useful complement to his physique du role.

Bergamo dialect is already notoriously difficult to understand, and his version has his own singular accent. He is an accomplished musician, however, and often sings to his own guitar accompaniment.
There are other characters which have an affinny with Brighella, and these are, Beltrame, Scapino, Flautino and Finocchio. Brighella's place in the limelight was rather eclipsed by that other, not nearly so astute Bergamasque servant, Harlequin (Arlecchino), something which has its own poetic justice. As the Italian proverb says, "The stupid write their names in every place".

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