(De)railing Mobility: Opera, Stasis, and Locomotion on Late-Nineteenth-Century Italian Tracks
On November 1, 1871, Lohengrin premiered amid much local buzz at Bologna’s Teatro Comunale. It was—famously—the first of Wagner’s works to be staged in Italy, over twenty years after its first performance in Weimar. Rumors that the Comunale was working to produce the opera had been in the air since the summer of 1869, when news had leaked that the impresario Luigi Scalaberni was pursuing this enterprise, most likely in a shared initiative with the local authorities and with Wagner’s Italian publisher (Casa Lucca). That project had seemingly been conceived with a double axis in mind: as a combined operation between the theaters of Bologna and Lugo, both managed by Scalaberni. The enterprise, however, failed, and when two years later Lohengrin was brought out on the Comunale’s stage, Scalaberni was no longer behind it. Well into the summer of 1871 the impresa of the theater was still vacant, the municipal authorities eventually setting their minds for its direction on Emidio Lambertini.