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Producing a Spectacle in Baroque Rome: Orsini’s Private Theater

Thu, March 26, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, Floor: Second Floor, 3059


In seventeenth-century Rome, families of the high aristocracy such as the Colonna and the Orsini were eager to build their own theaters in their palaces. In order to study the history of these private theaters, family archives are crucial. The scope of my paper is to investigate Flavio Orsini’s theater, built in 1682 in Palazzo Pasquino, and inaugurated during the 1683 Carnival. The challenges of such a study are multiple and are based on the diversity of documents, which require an interdisciplinary method. First, the whole process of creating a spectacle will be appraised, from its organization to its performance, including its commemoration. Second, the importance of patronage is taken into account. Third, I will show that artists, far from demonstrating political obedience to a single family, actually worked for several families. Eventually, this approach suggests a reevaluation of Rome’s role in the history of opera in the Italian peninsula.