Thesis submission ID 794 | created | last updated

Pedro Lopez Lopez, A study of Teatro de los Caños del Peral within the European framework (1787-1799): performing conditions of Italian opera and ballet d'action in late eighteenth-century Madrid
DMusPerf, Royal Irish Academy of Music, 2022

Volumes, pp.: 1 vol (xvii, 906 pp.)  
Supervisor(s): Denise Neary
Repository (online):
Repository (hard copy): Royal Irish Academy of Music Library

General specialism: Musicology: Performance Studies
Historical timeframe: 1787-1799
Key terms, concepts: Theatre studies
Key terms, places: Madrid, Spain
Key terms, institutions: Teatro de los Caños del Peral
Key terms, genres, instruments: Opera; Ballet

The Teatro de los Caños del Peral remains one of the most understudied and overlooked theatres in Spain. Despite the efforts of Emilio Cotarelo y Mori and Xoán M. Carreira among other scholars, their studies seem to have had no effect on the study of Madrid history. This dissertation aims to recover the dignity, relevance and position that the theatre once held.

Built in 1708 as a corral and rebuilt in 1737 following the current style of Italian opera houses, Teatro de los Caños del Peral was both the first stand-alone and first public theatre under private management in Madrid. Several Italian and Spanish companies performed Italian opera in the new theatre until it was closed for performances in 1745. In 1787, the theatre resumed opera and ballet performances until due to structural damage it was demolished in 1814. In 1850, Teatro Real was erected at the same location.

This thesis focuses on the period of maximum splendour between 1787 and 1799, when singers of the stature of Luisa Todi and Teresa Oltrabelli, internationally renowned dancers such as Jean Pierre Giraud and choreographers Charles-Auguste Favier and Domenico Rossi were contracted by the theatre. During this period the theatre offered 118 opera productions and around 180 ballet titles. It is estimated that there were more than 2000 opera performances and 2600 ballets, surpassing the number of performances per season of most European opera theatres. Teatro de los Caños del Peral was decisive for the development of the public concert in Madrid, inviting first-rate soloists such as Pierre Rode and programming the innovative Neapolitan sacrodramme. The demand of public concerts grew so remarkably that during the 1790s the number of public performances exceeded that of Vienna.

This study introduces for the first time a calendar of the performances and it includes a complete list of operas, ballets, oratorios, concerts, plays and presentations as well as the location of contemporary librettos and music scores related to the theatre. An estimation of the attendance figures in combination with a study of the articles published in contemporary journals and periodicals aims to measure the impact that the Teatro de los Caños del Peral had on the Madrilenian society. The study also reflects on how constant change, management decisions, and daily realities directly influenced performing conditions.

The theatre’s relevance within the European framework is explored by comparing the high number of performances, the opera and ballet listings and the quality of performers, which position the theatre among the most influential European opera theatres during the late eighteenth century.

Related publications:
Orígenes y establecimiento de la ópera en España
Thesis submission ID 794