The Teatro Comunale (“Communal Theatre”) in Ferrara was built over twenty-four years, with vicissitudes fit for a great libretto. Conflict is the essence of drama, as all playwrights know, and before this theater could open there was no shortage of contrasts between cardinals and architects, who went as far as to drag each other to court in a gripping dramatic climax.
The first act is set in 1773, and tells the story of cardinal Borghese, the papal envoy who commissioned the building, and architects Antonio Foschini and Cosimo Morelli. In the second act, five years later, construction had come to a halt and then has resumed under the supervision of Giuseppe Campana. But in 1778 the new papal envoy, cardinal Spinelli, takes Campana to court for incompetence, building suspense to the limit.
Only in the final act, set in 1797, the curtain rises on this magnificent Italian theater, finally completed: and audiences from the whole world, fortunately, can still come to see this happy ending.