Rome (opera) (It. Roma)
- Margaret Murata,
- Lowell Lindgren
- and Bianca Maria Antolini
Capital of Italy. It has had a virtually unbroken operatic tradition since the early 17th century, although it has been less important as a centre for opera than Naples in the south or Venice and Milan in the north.
Throughout the 17th century musical drama in Rome shared the stage with an active tradition of non-professional spoken drama. The various Jesuit colleges gave regular public productions, and nobles and gentle literati sponsored private entertainments for invited guests. Except for the first flowering of the Teatro Tordinona from 1671 to 1674 (Rome’s first attempt at subscription financing and non-local casting), operas in Rome before 1680 were almost all court entertainments. Private patrons enlisted members of their own or their peers’ household establishments to provide librettos scores and professional singers, while the furnishing of temporary stages, sets, machines, costumes and lighting was entrusted to favoured local artisans. Their custom flourished because Rome differed from all other Italian cities in its lack of a political centre of secular court life. Several prominent families there did not owe fealty to the pope, but to the emperor or to the Spanish crown. Some popes were hostile to theatrical extravagance but could not censure private life. The presence of many politically independent, wealthy patrons helps to explain the shifting sponsorship for opera in Rome and the continuing habit of private production....