A list of actors from the heydays of Commedia dell’Arte

What we will be looking at are the actors from the most famous Commedia dell’Arte groups of its time. It is also those actors we have most and most interesting information about. Let us not believe that they are representative for al Commedia dell’Arte groups from the time. That would be like studying that Rolling Stones or Lady Gaga to learn about the general music scene today, or that Broadway or European royal institutions would be representative for today’s theatre just because it is what the media writes about. Neither are there any evidence that they would be better than their less fortunate colleagues.

Here is a list of actors of some of the most famous actors from the middle of the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth century:

Here is a list of actors of some of the most famous actors from the middle of the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth century:

  • Andrea Frajacomi da Bologna                  Uniti                                            Trivellino
  • Andrea Mangini da Genoa                         Uniti                                            Adriano
  • Adriano Valerini da Verona                        Gelosi                                         Aurelio
  • Antonella Bajardi                                        Gelosi                                         Vittoria (The role that Vittoria Piissimi created)
  • Batta Fiorillo                                                Uniti                                            Scaramuzza, at least from 1614.
  • Battista da Treviso                                      Uniti                                            Franceschina, 1584
  • Domenico Bruni                                           Gelosi, Confidenti                 Innamorato 
  • Drusiano Martinelli                                    Confidenti , Uniti, Accesi    Arlecchino, capocomicofrom 1587. He was also Tristanos older brother. He also travelled to England 1570 with his wife Angelica.
  • Girolamo Fiorillo                                         Uniti                                            Innamorato
  • Diana Ponti                                                   Desiosi, Uniti                           Innamorata och capocomico in Desiosi
  • Domenico Biancolelli                                  the Fiorelli company            Arlecchino
  • Flaminio Scala                                              Gelosi, Confidenti, Accesi and Desiosi. He was Innamorato and capocomico for Gelosi and Confidenti.  He was Gelosis first leader. We don’t know when he abdicated to Francesco Andreini, but it was after that he joined, and sometimes led, other groups. He also wrote the first printed collection of scenari, Il Teatro della Favole Rappresentative in1611 and Le Bravure del Capitano Spavento in 1607.
  • Francesco Andreini                                     Gelosi                                         Innamorato, Capitano, Dottore, and more. He was for the longest time Gelosi’s undisputed leader. He was faithful to Gelosi and dispended the company and quit acting when his wife Isabella died in 1604.
  • Francesco Gabrielli                                    Confidenti, Uniti, Fedeli     Scapino
  • Gabrielo Panzanini                                   Gelosi                                         Franca Trippa
  • Girolamo Salimboni da Firenze              Gelosi                                         ZanobioFedeli
  • Giovan Battista Andreini                         Fedeli, Gelosi                          Innamorato, Arlecchinooch capocomico. The son of Francesco and Isabella
  • Giovanni Gabrielli                                     On his own                               Charlatano The father of Francesco Gabrielli
  • Giovanni Pellesini                                       Accesi, Uniti, Fedeli              Pedrolino
  • Giulio Pasquati da Vicenza                       Gelosi                                         Pantalone
  • Isabella Andreini                                        Gelosi (Uniti, Confidenti)   Innamorata and primadonna or Isabella, the role she created herself and wish got her name. She was Commedia dell’Arte’s and the sixteenth century’s mega star.  
  • Jacomo Braga da Ferrara                        Uniti                                            Pantalone
  • Lidia de Bagnacavallo                                                                                        Gelosi             Innamorata
  • Luigi Riccoboni                                           His own company                  Innamorato
  • Ludovico da Bologna                                  Gelosi                                         Dottore
  • Molière No futher explanation needed
  • Nicolo Barbieri                                            Confidenti, Fedeli                 Beltrame
  • Ottavio Bernardino da Roma                   Uniti                                            Franceschina
  • Orazio Nobili                                               Gelosi                                         Innamorato
  • Orsola Cecchini                                           Accesi                                         Innamorata
  • Pier Maria Cecchini                                   Accesi                                         Fritellinoand capocomicoHe seem to be known for being a selfish leader and hard to work with
  • Ricci Frederigo                                           Accesi                                         Pantalone
  • Ricci Frederigos son                                  Accesi                                        Innamorato
  • Silvia Roncagli da Bergamo                    Gelosi                                        Franceschina och Lesbino
  • Silvio Fiorillo da Napoli                           Uniti, Accesi, Desiosi            Capitano Matamoros
  • Simone da Bologna                                  Gelosi                                        Arlecchino
  • Tiberio Fiorilli                                           the Fiorelli company            Scaramuccia och capocomico Probably son to Silvio Fiorillo
  • Tristano Martinelli                                   Confidenti , Accesi, Desiosi                         Arlecchino and later capocomico He wrote Compositions de Rhetorique in 1601. It can also be he who ”invented” Arlecchino.
  • Vittoria Piissimi                                         Gelosi, Uniti, Confidenti,    Innamorata and probably Gelosi’s firs primadonna capocomica. Her stardom was probably gradually overtaken by Isabella Andreini, who joined the group about 1578, 16 years old.
  • Virginia Ramponi/Andreini                      Fedeli                                         Innamorata, Giovan Battistas fist wife
  • Virginia Rotari/Andreini                           Fedeli                                         Innamorata, Giovan Battistas second wife
  • Zan Ganassa                                               With his own company       Second  Zanni and capocomicoHe and his group was the first we know the name of, but apart from that we don’t know very much.

See also:
What we really know about Commedia dell’Arte
Theories of Laughter and Comedy
About Micke’s Workshops and lectures

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