chapter  15
Balbi’s Febiarmonici and the First “Road Shows” of Giasone (1649–1653)
ByNicola Michelassi
Pages 13

In the 1640s in Italy, one can find two innovative and very popular dramatic genres diffused in Italian public theaters: plays using Spanish patterns (inspired by the comedia nueva) and Venetian music drama. The two genres seem to be quite close to one another, and Giacinto Andrea Cicognini successfully dedicates himself to both of them. But he is not the only one: other Venetian librettisti belonging, like Cicognini, to the Accademia degli Incogniti, who (as is well known) played an important role in the development of opera, and also knew and translated Spanish literature. (Giulio Strozzi translated the “picaresque” novel Lazarillo de Tormes, Girolamo Brusoni translated Don Diego de Noche by Salas Barbadillo, and Incogniti members dedicated some poems to Lope de Vega in the funeral volume entitled Essequie poetiche, published in Venice in 1636). Lope de Vega on the one hand and Giovan Battista Marino—filtered through the Accademia degli Incogniti—on the other are the two noble ancestors of this new path, born to break the rules in the name of public taste. 1 The huge success of Giasone, an opera belonging, as Fausta Antonucci and Lorenzo Bianconi have demonstrated, to both genres, is, in this regard, exemplary.