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2.1 The private impresarios
In the French period the management of the theatre passed from the Knights’ Society to the municipality, with a succession of private impresarios who often pulled out following financial failures. Between 1801 and 1803 management passed to Giacomo Pregliasco, today remembered above all as the originator of splendid costumes not only for the Regio of Torino, but also for Scala of Milan and the San Carlo of Naples.
In his activity as impresario, Pregliasco tried to extend the opening period of the Teatro and also welcomed opere giocose there, but it was a brief experiment and the former distinction between the genres was soon re-established.
2.2 The Théâtre Impérial
In 1804 the Teatro became Théâtre Impérial: the use of the royal box, abolished in the Republican years, was brought back, and Napoleon expected that it would be reserved exclusively for his use and remain closed except in his absence. In December 1807, the cantata L’incoronazione and the allegory Le retour de la Grande Armée were presented for the emperor’s arrival in Turin.
In addition to the shows of the season, the Teatro was the venue for celebrations during visits by the emperor and reigning princes, Camillo and Paolina Borghese. The emperor’s sister stayed in Torino only a few months in 1808, but from 1809-1814 her saint’s day was celebrated at the Théâtre Impérial with the staging of laudatory cantatas, a sort of tableaux vivants of pastoral-mythological subjects.
2.3 Isabella Colbran
In those years, the Teatro Regio had as guest the Spanish opera star Isabella Colbran, one of the finest interpreters of the early nineteenth century. Famous for her voice and her beauty, she was also celebrated for her acting ability in operas such as Nitteti by Stefano Pavesi, I riti d’Efeso e Lauso e Lidia by Giuseppe Farinelli, Castore e Polluce by Vincenzo Federici and Gerusalemme distrutta, a sacred work by František Dušek.
2.4 The staging by Maurizio Sevesi
Fabrizio Sevesi, nephew and student of the Galliaris, created the stage sets of the Regio from 1800 to 1837, along with Luigi Vacca, by following the variations in taste from Neo-classicism to Romanticism and by adapting to political changes.
It was not unusual for scenery to be modified and reused on various occasions: for Maria Cristina’s birthday, for example, the scenery for the celebrations of Paolina Borghese were used again, substituting the epigraphs exalting Napoleon with the coats of arms of the Bourbons and the Savoys.