Sunday, June 13, 2010

Places: Venice, Italy: Teatro San Samuele

The Teatro San Samuele, Venice was one of opera 's most prestigious among those active in the canal city (seven in all), during the eighteenth century . It was built in 1656 on commission from the Grimani family and was primarily intended for dramatic productions, and later, during the following century, operas and ballet.

Destroyed by fire in September 1747, it was rebuilt by the Grimani family who moved serious opera productions to the new and more elegant Teatro San Benedetto (St. Benét), and reserved the San Samuele stage for the productions of the new, and more fashionable opera buffa (Italian comic opera). The theater was rebuilt in record time and reopened in May of 1748. The stages were reduced from six to five orders but the original structure remained unchanged.

In the fall of 1782, Nancy Storace arrived in Venice, where she performed primarily in opera buffa productions on the San Samuele stage. It was while she was engaged there, that she was discovered by an emissary of His Majesty, Emperor Joseph II of Austria, and was hired as the prima buffa (first comedienne), of the Hofburg Theater stage (The Burgtheater), in Vienna. Nancy's last appearance in Venice was in Antonio Salieri's La scuola de'golsi, in which she appeared as the Contessa, during Carnival of 1783. It was shortly after, that she arrived in Vienna, and premiered on the Burgtheater stage in another production of Salieri's La scuola de'golsi, directed by Salieri, himself. By this point she was regarded as the most popular and highest-paid performer of her kind in all of Europe.

The following is a list of productions in which Nancy starred during tenure at Teatro San Samuele.

La pescatrice fedele by Pasquale Anfossi at Teatro San Samuele, Venice during Winter 1782-Spring 1783
I puntighi by Felice Alessandri at Teatro San Samuele, Venice during Winter 1782-Spring 1783
Il filosofo immaginari by Giovanni Paisiello at Teatro San Samuele, Venice during Winter 1782-Spring 1783
Le vendemie by Giuseppi Gazzaniga at Teatro San Samuele, Venice during Winter 1782-Spring 1783
La scuola de'golsi by Antonio Salieri, starring as La Contessa at Teatro San Samuele, Venice during Carnival 1783

Ah sia gia de' miei sospiri - La scuola de' gelosi - By Antonio Salieri, Sung by Mezzo Soprano, Cecilia Bartoli

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