Between 1641 and 1645 this theater was certainly the stage that hosted the melodramas with the most sumptuous productions in all of Venice.

The scenographer from the Marche region Giacomo Torelli made a real revolution in the theatrical structure of the seventeenth century: he invented the "big wheel", an instrument positioned under the stage, capable of changing the wings quickly and in synchronization.

Giacomo Sommariva, glover by profession, on 1 July 1640, obtained a shed from the convent of SS. Giovanni e Paolo for a theatrical season. Sommariva was just a cover because, in reality, the real financiers of the enterprise were some of the members of the Accademia degli Incogniti, in particular Geronimo Lando, Giacomo Marcello and Giacomo da Mosto. The Accademia degli Incogniti was founded by a young aristocrat named Giovan Francesco Loredan (1607 - 1661) who in 1630 formed a circle of writers and scholars to share topics of a social, cultural, political and religious nature, who gathered at the residence of the nobleman in Palazzo Ruzzini, in Santa Maria Formosa. The 1600 was crucial for the establishment of groups or circles of nobles and only in Venice there were about sixty; the Accademia degli Incogniti was one of the best known, whose events closely intersected with those of the Republic of Venice as its members contributed to the spread of republican and anti-papal propaganda, as well as the determined struggle for freedom of the press.

Most of the authors of the librettos of the melodramas set up in the Teatro Novissimo were literati who adhered to the policy of the Incogniti, in particular: Giulio Strozzi composed La Finta Pazza (music by Francesco Sacrati), Vincenzo Nolfi was the author of Il Bellerofonte, Marc ' Antonio Tirabosco wrote de l'Alcate, Niccolò Enea Bartolini wrote La Venere Gelosa, Scipione Herrico was the poet of Deidamia, Giacomo Badoaro prepared the libretto of the Errant Ulysses and, finally, Maiolino Bisaccioni was the author of the Hercules in Lydia and of the two precious descriptions of the staging of La Finta Pazza and La Venere Gelosa.

Giacomo Torelli was chosen as architect for the construction of the theater and the works were started in July but after only two months they had to be stopped as the area intended for the stalls was built on a lot not covered by the rental contract. All this was resolved with the signing of a new contract, on 2 October 1640, and the rent was increased and then extended to the new lot called Tezon Cavallerizza. The friars decided to outline the rules to which the impresario Sommariva had to comply for the construction of the theater, in particular they imposed that only heroic works in music be staged, not comic comedies, or of any other nature. Work began again and were completed within the year. The theater was inaugurated on January 27, 1641 with the show La Finta Pazza, whose scenography was curated by Giacomo Torelli; the latter took care of the sets for all the molodramas that were represented in the theater.

The Novissimo was a wooden building and apparently was built with a stepped cavea. Although there are no certain sources, it seems that the Novissimo was a theater built with three tiers of boxes and it is assumed that it could hold between four hundred and fifty and five hundred spectators with a stage of about 14 meters in width (9 effective).

The audience of the Novissimo theater was composed mainly of educated and wealthy people, aware of the privilege of being able to participate in a source of city culture, grasping the messages hidden behind the sets of Torelli and behind the texts of the librettos written by some of the members of the Academy of the Unknowns.

In May 1643, the new impresario Gerolamo Lappoli began to get into debt to be able to run the theater business, characterized by the staging of works staged in a very luxurious way, but only two years later, due to the lack of public and private funding. , Lappoli was no longer able to pay the rent. The Novissimo theater could not survive and ceased its activity and in 1647 the clerics had the building demolished.

Traveling is wonderful, if you travel in knowledge it is doubly so. Venipedia Supporter is a good way to help us make this journey together ever more participatory, comfortable, useful and stimulating: in knowledge, in discovery, in exploration, in beauty, in inspiration and in how much it can improve the future of all of us. Day by day. Support the quality of Venipedia, with only € 29 per year

Forever yours,
the Venipedian Masters

Support Venipedia

Venipedia Supporter is an annual subscription that gives you access to additional services (like the newsletter Five from the Encyclopedia and Your voice area, which is automatically renewed on expiry if you do not decide to cancel or suspend it, from your personal area (you must have a Venipedia account).

Read also