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date: 20 November 2019

Vigarani, Gaspare locked

  • Paul Sheren

Extract

(b Reggio nell’Emilia, Feb 20, 1588; d Modena, Sept 9, 1663). Italian theatre architect and scene designer . He was active as a designer of machinery for festivities at Reggio nell’Emilia by 1618. From the 1630s, if not before, he was employed by the Duke of Modena, and in 1635 was promoted to ‘engineer and general superintendent of buildings’. In 1640 and 1651 he took part in the design of theatres at Capri Modena and Mantua. In 1659 Cardinal Mazarin invited him to Paris to supervise the entertainments planned for the marriage of Louis XIV; for this occasion he constructed the Salle des Machines in the Palais des Tuileries and designed the inaugural production there, Cavalli’s Ercole amante (with additional ballets by Lully), performed, after considerable delay, in 1662. This production, with its spectacular stage machinery and scenic effects, was a major factor in the prominence enjoyed by Italian theatrical art in France for the next century. The theatre itself marked the transition from the pre-Baroque amphitheatre auditorium, which then prevailed in Paris, to the Italian opera house with perspective wing-stage and horseshoe auditorium. G.L. Bernini criticized it (...

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