One of the predecessors of grand opera, the masque was a form of court entertainment popular in England in the 17th century. The masque was characterized by elaborate scenery, poetry, music, speeches, dances, and direct discourse and flirtation with the audience by the performers.a courtly entertainment involving acting, singing, and dancing, with music and elaborate scenery and costumes. masques reached their peak in 17th-century England, when written by Ben Jonson and designed by Innigo Jones.