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Jacovacci [Jacobacci], Vincenzo
(b Rome, 14 Nov 1811; d Rome, 30 March 1881). Italian impresario. As a youth he was interested in the theatre, though he made his living as a fishmonger. His first contract to manage a theatrical season was in 1835 at the Teatrino Fiano, Rome. Gradually he moved to larger Roman theatres: in 1838 the Valle, in 1840 the Apollo, and in 1846 the Argentina, the Alibert and the Anfiteatro Corea (which he had restored). Not all of his enterprises were successful: he was arrested when too many tickets were sold for the première of Donizetti’s Adelia (February 1841; sung by Giuseppina Strepponi), and in 1848 he was bankrupt, although he survived through handling his creditors cleverly.
With Barbaia, Lanari and Merelli, Jacovacci was one of the most celebrated impresarios of the 19th century. His fame was tied to the Teatro Apollo, then the largest in Rome, and his reputation rested on spectacular and dignified performances, ballets with classical subjects and an uncanny ability to sidestep the obstacles of the papal censors. Most of the operas he mounted were traditional; only under pressure did he present Lohengrin and Massenet’s Le roi de Lahore. He had absolute confidence in Verdi from Nabucco onwards and in 1848 dedicated the season to his works. He gave the premières of Il trovatore (1853) and Un ballo in maschera (1859), and the first Italian performance of La forza del destino (1863). Verdi complained that stinginess had made Jacovacci engage for Ballo inadequate singers unsuited to their roles, and he haggled for cheaper rates from the publisher Ricordi. He wrote the impresario a letter (5 June 1859) ironically suggesting he avoid further talk of new operas and put on instead the works of Paisiello, Gluck and Lully – all in the public domain.