Bandettini, Teresa (1763-1837)
Teresa Bandettini, often known by her Arcadian name, Amarilli Etrusca, was born in Lucca in 1763. Her parents, Benedetto Bandettini and Maria Alba Micheli, died when she was seven. Bandettini quickly achieved fame as a dancer in the theatrical world, but would gain more lasting fame as a composer of extemporaneous verse. While in Imola in 1789 she met the Lucchese Pietro Landucci, whom she would marry. After her marriage, she abandoned her dancing career for that of an improvisatrix, and held "Accademie d'improvvisazione" in which paying members of the audience proposed themes that she then elaborated extemporaneously in verse. Bandettini achieved fame throughout Italy and was so well-respected as to draw words of praise from Parini, Monti, Mascheroni, and Alfieri. Bandettini had four children, three girls who died young and a son, Francesco. She died in Lucca in 1837.
Bandettini was reportedly a learned woman who was known to read Dante backstage when she was not dancing. Sources cite her as an "improvisatrice commossa," capable of simultaneously moving her audience and becoming emotional herself. She resisted the idea of publishing her extemporaneous verse, preferring instead to publish poems that had been subject to a more lengthy elaboration (although a volume of her Rime estemporanee would eventually come out in 1801 and another in 1807). She published a two volume collection of Rime varie in 1786, followed by the 1788 publication of her Poesie diverse. She also published poemetti (La morte d'Adone, 1790) and tragedies (La Teseide, 1805; La caduta de' giganti, 1814; Rosmunda in Ravenna, 1827), and left behind fragments of Romantic tales.
Bandettini's name resurfaced in 2002 with the discovery of six lost sonatas dedicated to her by the young Niccolò Paganini.
Submitted by Margaret E. Kern, The University of Chicago, 2002.