The Teatro Loup

The "noble theatre" was also an advanced acting school and a school of music and stage presence for many young amateurs.
Maria Chiara Mazzi

Our journey in search of Bologna's long-gone theatres leads us today in Piazza Calderini to visit a small theatre whose short life is completely identified with that of its founder and sole owner, Emilio Loup (1781-1858). A very rich and entrepreneur landowner, Swiss by birth but Bolognese by adoption, Loup had purchased the old building from its last owner, the noble Ghisilieri, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and had decided to restore the little aristocratic theatre on the main floor of the building. A newspaper of the time described: "The hall of this theatre was painted with every gracefulness of art by Mr. Badiali and Mr. Zaccherini. And the stage, model of the most beautiful theatres in Italy, has scenes that show the perfect taste in such painting of the well-known gentlemen Ferri, Martinelli and Berti." Emilio Loup, after having "perfected it with all the ornaments and furnishings most suitable for the chosen gathering that was to occupy it," in 1827 decided to organize in his home a Philodramatic Academy, an acting and music school, attended by prestigious members of the city, nobles, professionals and intellectuals and entrusted "to two of the most enlightened subjects of this city, and in declamation, and in music, which instructed various young amateurs, and student artists, who alternately performed on stage. And they were Mr. Carlo Bruera, well known for his work on other occasions, and with great praise as director of recitation, and Mr. Tommaso Marchesi, Academic Philharmonic, both of whom honour our city."


The Loup Palace today, Piazza Calderini, Bologna

The theatre therefore becomes a sort of "rehearsal hall" and the place of "final essays," where it is possible "for young amateurs to perfect their comic recitals, and for singing scholars to become perfect artists through practical exercises.


If the philodramatists produced comedies and dramas in a fashionable way, from 1828 opera in music regularly appeared, accompanied by amateur instrumentalists. It began in January 1828 with the famous Secret Marriage by Cimarosa, and continued the following year with the equally famous Romeo and Juliet by Vaccaj. Then, in the following years, a lot of Rossini, the most famous composer in the world and living in the city. Semiramide (1829), Tancredi (1830), Cinderella (1832), The Turk in Italy (1834), The Fortunate Deception (1838). The historical events and political contingencies lead to the decline of artistic activities, changing the cultural climate, the theatre will close its doors with the death of the owner in 1858.

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