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The Mercadante Theater
When the Jesuits were expelled from the Kingdom of Naples in the 1770s, a fund was set up to handle the new wealth that had accrued to the Kingdom from the confiscated property. One decision was to build a new theater, appropriately called the Teatro Fondo (after the "fund" that had underwritten the construction). It was inaugurated in 1779 and was intended to be more a vehicle for lighter theater, such as the Comic Opera, and not to be in direct competition with nearby San Carlo, generally given to more serious works. Unlike smaller, private theaters in Naples at the time, the Teatro Fondo was sponsored by the state; thus, it was a "royal theater" like San Carlo and was prestigious.
During the brief duration of the Neapolitan Republic in 1799, the name was changed to Il Teatro Patriottico, and monarchist fluff such as Comic Opera was abolished in favor of the more politically educational fare of republican theater. Between 1809 and 1829, the theater was managed by Domenico Barbaja, also director of San Carlo. During that period, many works that one would normally associate with San Carlo—the works of Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, for example—were commonly performed at the Teatro Fondo.
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