Teatro dei Felicini

Fulfilling for many years the Bolognese public's passion for amazing performances.
Maria Chiara Mazzi

In the third stage of our journey in search of Bologna's long-gone theatres, here we are at the Teatro dei Felicini, located in the palace of the same name belonging to the ancient noble family. As Giuseppe Guidicini recalls in 1872: There was a small wooden theatre with boxes, which has existed since 1695 and where comedies and tragedies were performed by amateurs." Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, the small theatre has also hosted drama productions in music and is an exclusive gathering place for the ladies and gentlemen of the city's nobility. A significant improvement began taking place in 1763 when the owners rented the theatre to the Accademici Concordi, who opened it to the public, transforming it into a new, elegant and functional theatre with professionals presenting every kind of repertoire, from comedies to music dramas, from sacred oratories to various artistic performances, awakening the interest of the whole city.

In 1807, the Felicini palace was acquired by Gaetano Dalla Noce who restored the theatre, improving it with adornments and decorations by Antonio Basoli, also establishing excellent relationships with the city's other impresarios. The promoters ignited the Bolognese passion for dazzling shows: incredible Battle of Jena, by French officer Michele Braun in 1808, the True Phantasmagoria, in 1809, the Uranographic Mechanism of the Phenomena of the Universe, in 1813, the Picturesque Mechanical Theatre With Musical Figures With Great Sea Storm and the Optical and Picturesque Machine of the Valmagini Brothers in 1815. There is also more traditional programming like prose and music performed by younger people with high hopes, among whom Gertrude Righetti, who only a few years later will be one of Rossini's favourite contralto. The centuries-old history of the theatre ends in 1826 when the new owner Giuseppe Mazzacurati, after having occasionally lent the premises to amateur companies, will close it forever.


 Entrance of the Felicini palace - Mazzacorati - Via C. Battisti†23, Bologna


Courtyard of the Felicini palace - Mazzacorati - Engraving by Antonio Basoli (1774-1848), Bologna

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