As soon as they formed themselves into regular companies, the Italian comedians of the commedia dell’arte wanted to try the foreign scenes. In France they have an almost uninterrupted history from the end of the century. XVI to the end of the XVIII. The first company of which we know for sure is that of Zan Ganassa. In 1577, the jealous Comedians appear, desired by the king ; in 1583 the company of Battista Lazzaro received lively welcome, and the following year that of the Confident Comics , which stayed a few years. They reappeared in 1588, and yet remained for some time, the Gelosi . In 1600 a company that performed at the Hôtel de Bourgogne was succeeded by the company of the Faithful, which is part of Isabella Andreini, who reports real triumphs. The same company, under the direction of GB Andreini, was called to Paris by Maria de ‘Medici, and spent long stays there from 1613 to 1625, renewing itself almost every year with artists who, in the meantime, had acquired a name in Italy; in 1639, at the invitation of Louis XIII, Tiberio Fiorilli ( Scaramuccia ) joined it, who was wanted by the French themselves to be a teacher in Molière. In 1600, when Andrea Zanotti ( Ottavio), the company of Italian comedians takes the form of a permanent company and performs at the Palais Royal alternately with that of Molière; the following year Domenico Biancolelli made his debut there, with enormous success. In 1684 the company receives its own regulation, which makes it considered as a regular service; but it is losing its character as a “Company of the Commedia dell’Arte”. In the performance of the scenarî the comedians introduce jokes in French, which become so numerous and essential as to induce the French comedians to bring their protests to the king. The Italian comedians have won the case, but the Italian comedy loses. Not only are the lines increased in French, but French comedies are acted out, introducing bold subjects for politics and morals, and arousing protests. There Fausse prude results in the expulsion from France of the Italian comedians (1697). However, the king authorizes the comedian Tortoriti and a machinist to form two companies of mixed elements, but mostly French or Frenchized, to act in the provinces. In 1716 the regent, Duke of Orleans, commissioned Luigi Andrea Riccoboni ( Lelio ) to form and lead a company of Italian comedians to France: success was great, but short. We return to the mixed repertoire (1718). To this repertoire are added parodies, comédie mêlées de chants (which are a prelude to musical comedy and vaudeville ), Marivaux’s burlesque jokes, etc. In 1723 the company takes the title of Comédiens italiens ordinaires du roi; but in Italian it has no more than the name and the tradition. A reform was seriously thought of and Carlo Goldoni was given the task of giving new life to the Italian theater in Paris, but Goldoni’s efforts failed, although he reported personal successes as an author. In 1780 the Italian comedians were fired from the Théâtre italien.
In Paris and France they acted Italian comedians even outside of what can be considered the “Italian comedy” and which has had few interruptions. We remember Flaminio Scala, well-known author of scenarî, who recited in 1600 in Lyon with Cecchini, and then in Flanders and Brabant: Giovanni Tabarini (or Tabarin), who was there in 1570 with Ganassa and then remained there with the other Italian Mondor , becoming famous and linking his name to special shows. The Italian comedians brought to France a real and profound revolution in the dialogues and farces of acrobats and determined the formation of regular companies – or almost – in the province: and a radical innovation in acting. It is known that the commedia dell’arte was the source of the new French comedy.
From the end of the seventeenth century to that of the eighteenth century, Italian comedians, directly or through Paris, spread to other courts and countries of Europe. G. Tabarin with his companions in 1568 recited in Linz, in 1570-1571 and in 1574 in Vienna. In 1570 Pantalone Pasquati was in Vienna, and he brought great praise there also in tragedy and pastoral care. Tristano Martinelli, with his brother Drusiano, was in England in 1572 and in Spain in 1588. In 1613-14 Pier Maria Cecchini ( Frittellino) performed in Vienna, at the court of Emperor Matthias. In 1687 and 1691 the company of Franeesco Calderoni was in the service of the elector of Saxony, and performed in Munich and in the main cities of the Empire. In the service of the elector of Saxony and king of Poland, in 1697-98 it was the company of Angelo Costantini, and that of Giovanni Toscani, who gave performances in Dresden and Warsaw.In 1707 Ristori, director of Italian comedians in Vienna, reformed the company, calling you the Bertoldi and the Bellotti. In 1727, MA Riccoboni obtained from the Duke of Orleans to bring the company to England for two months. Antonio Sacco, who was with his actors in 1742 in Russia, was welcomed and generously rewarded for his performances in Lisbon in 1753, then he was called to perform in Innsbruck and elsewhere by the imperial court.
According to itypetravel, the French Revolution put an end to this emigration of Italian comedians to France. Only in 1830 did Carolina Internari go to Paris, with an Italian repertoire, and brought back notable successes. In 1855 Adelaide Ristori faced Paris and France with the latest edition of the Royal Sardinian Company, and achieved great success with Mirra di Alfieri; he returned to Paris in 1856 and 1857, reciting Medea by Legouvé and achieving such success as to cloud Rachel’s glory; in 1861 he acted in French, in Paris and in the provinces, the new tragedy of Legouvé, Béatrix; and he returned in 1865 always welcomed with the same enthusiasm. Triumphed on the Parisian scene, among others, Tommaso Salvini, Ernesto Rossi, Flavio Andò, Eleonora Duse and Carlo Rosaspina, who opened an Italian acting school. After the Parisian successes of Ristori and Salvini, who, together with Ernesto Rossi, had also aroused enthusiasm in Russia, all the theaters of Europe and America opened up to Italian comedians of some name. The Italian theater was welcomed with frequency in Alexandria and Cairo; Besides the famous artists, Corfu and Athens frequently hosted regular companies.
Towards 1880 the excursions abroad of the Italian companies multiply with changes of direction. The tours in the states of Europe are restricted and those in Central and South America are enlarged, where our artists also touch small towns. The interest in Italian actors is kept alive especially by two great entrepreneurs: Cesare Ciacchi and Luigi Ducci.
Some comedians remain in the country and set up schools there: they form companies that end up turning into Argentine or Brazilian companies. The attempt has also recently been renewed and today a thriving school still exists in Buenos Aires under the direction of Cassini-Rizzotto.
Among the many we can still mention: Ristori, who went around the world and was also the only Italian actress in Australia; Adelaide Tessero, who followed Ristori in Europe and America; Eleonora Duse, who was repeatedly in Russia, in Vienna numerous times, in London (1893, 1903, 1906, 1923), in Germany, in Scandinavia, in South America (1897-1913) and in North America, and died in Pittsburg on the eve of of his return to his homeland; Ermete Novelli who had sensational successes in South America and acted in many European countries.
Among the dialectal companies we should mention those of G. Rizzotto, G. Grasso, A. Musco. In more recent years various Italian companies, including dialectal ones, have made tours abroad, and in particular in South America.