The city of Mantua is among the birthplaces of theatre and of Italian language. Here Poliziano wrote his Fabula di Orfeo; here Isabella d’Este enjoyed the first representation of an Italian comedy, Il Formicone; here Monteverdi presented the first masterpiece in the tradition of Italian opera, his Orfeo. Tristano Martinelli invented the mask of Harlequin here, and the actors of the Commedia dell’Arte regularly visited the city. Finally Mozart inaugurated the Bibiena Theatre. Traces of these artistic events are to be found in documents but are also visible in the paintings and in the collective memories of the town.
The mask is an essential element for a comedian. If on the one hand it makes the representation more abstract and emblematic, on the other hand, by partly covering the face of the actor, it gives a universal value to the performance, which is however always determined by the particular nature of the specific character.
Ideato e promosso da / Founded and Promoted by:
Mattia Palazzi (Sindaco del Comune di Mantova)
con Lorenza Baroncelli (Assessore alla rigenerazione urbana e del territorio, marketing urbano, progetti e relazioni internazionali del Comune di Mantova)
Coordinamento Scientifico / Scientific Coordinator:
Curatore testi e immagini / Superintendent texts and images:
Foto di / Photo by:
Gian Maria Pontiroli
Un ringraziamento speciale a / A special thanks to:
Emma Catherine Gainsforth
Custodi del Bibiena
Orchestra da Camera di Mantova - Ocm