Commissioned by the Capranica family, the architect Tommaso Morelli designed the theatre which was built in 1726. It was inaugurated with the staging of the tragedy Matilde by Simon Falconio Pratoli. After hosting a season of opera seria in 1730, the Valle was limited through much of the latter half of the 18th century to staging prose dramas as well as a mix of intermezzos and comic operas, particularly those of Galuppi, Piccinni, Anfossi, Sacchini, Paisiello, Guglielmi, and Cimarosa. It was the only theatre in Rome in 1782, and after 1786, which offered both spring and autumn seasons of opera as well a season during Carnival.
Throughout the early 19th century, the Valle was regularly staging opera buffa and opera semiseria as well as prose comedies and, increasingly after 1830, serious melodramas. A number of operas during this time were premiered at the Valle, including Rossini’s Demetrio e Polibio (1812), Torvaldo e Dorliska (1815), and La Cenerentola (1817); Mercadante’s Il geloso ravveduto (1820); Donizetti’s L'ajo nell'imbarazzo (1824), Olivo e Pasquale (1827), Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo (1833), and Torquato Tasso (1833); Pacini’s La gioventù di Enrico V (1820); and Luigi Ricci’s L’orfana di Ginevra (1829), Il sonnambulo (1829), and Chi dura vince (1834), as well as many lesser known works from local composers.
The seating in the Teatro Valle initially consisted of five tiers of 27 boxes. It underwent renovation in by Mauro Fontana in 1765 and was restored again in 1791. The theatre was rebuilt in 1821 to the design of Valadier, completed by Salvi and in 1845 a façade designed by Gaspare Servi was added. Today, it contains four tiers of boxes and a gallery.
The Ente teatrale italiano, a state organization to promote Italian theater which partially supported the Teatro Valle, was shut down in 2010 as part of the Italian government's budget cuts for the arts in general. In June 2011, amidst rumours that the theatre was to be privatised and would lose its artistic independence, the building was occupied by a group of protesters consisting of actors, musicians, directors, technicians, and creative staff. As of June 2012, the theatre remained occupied by the group.
Notes and references
- Murata, Margaret, et al.: "Rome", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Retrieved on March 21, 2008), <http://www.grovemusic.com>
- Povoledo, Elisabetta (27 June 2011). "Outrage Over a Storied Roman Theater’s Future". New York Times
- Fallai, Paolo (12 June 2012). "Teatro Valle, due equivoci per una protesta". Corriere della Sera (in Italian)