Bolzano (Ger. Bozen)
- Alessandro Roccatagliati
- and Giuliano Tonini
City in the South Tyrol, northern Italy. Performance licences furnish sporadic evidence that operatic entertainments were staged during the Bolzano fairs in the 17th and 18th centuries by travelling companies. For 15 years from 1784 a wealthy merchant family, the von Menz, organized Carnival seasons in the Palazzo Mercantile of Italian (usually comic) opera given in German, mainly by local artists. Translations were made on the spot from librettos and scores originating mostly in Vienna, Naples and Venice. To this period belong Franz Bühler’s Singspiels Die falschen Verdachte (Carnival 1796) and Der tiroler Landsturm in franzosen Kriege (Carnival 1798). Travelling Italian-speaking companies came for the summer–autumn season, but did so less often in the following century.
The city’s first theatre was the Kaiserkrone, built in 1805 by public subscription in the Piazza della Mostra and inaugurated with Generali’s Pamela nubile. The theatre was designed by Andrea Caminada with 800 seats, two tiers of 33 boxes and a gallery. Changing economic circumstances led to a break in the initially annual performances, which had been given mostly by Austrian companies or local amateurs. Although playbills indicate that Italian and French works were produced, most of the operas performed were those in vogue in German-speaking areas. The Kaiserkrone was closed in ...