Theatre Research International

Articles

Eight Portraits of Gelosi Actors in 1589?

M. A. Katritzkya1

a1 M. A. Katritzky, Wimbledon School of Art.

The group of actors from whom the Gelosi company arose are thought to have first come together in 1568, with the amalgamation of two troupes led by the prima donnas Vincenza and Flaminia. They were already known by the name Gelosi when they toured France in 1571; by 1572 they were popular enough to be able to complain that the stanze in Genoa could only hold an audience of 150; in 1574 their performance, and that of their leading lady, Vittoria Piisimi, were the highlight of Henri III's visit to Venice, and their reputation as the foremost com-media dell'arte troupe was fully established. Por-cacchi's pamphlet of 1574 notes some of the Gelosi actors of the time as Simon of Bologna, who played a facchino Bergamasco, Giulio Pas-quati as the Magnifico and Rinaldo. A Mantuan decree of 5 May 1579 names as Gelosi actors Simon the Bergamasco, Orazio and Adriano the innamorati, and Gabriele their friend.