Taddei, Rosa (1799?-1869)

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Rosa Taddei, less frequently known by her married name Mozzidolfi, was probably born August 30, 1799. Her birthplace has been reported as either Naples, Trento, or Corato (Puglia), but she considered herself Neapolitan. The Taddei family was a famous family of actors, the head of which was Francesco ("Ciccio") Taddei (1770-1830), who maintained a successful comic troupe for thirty years. His wife Maddalena (who died in 1830) was also an actor, as were their children Rosa and Luigi. Luigi (1802-1866) was one of the most famous actors of his day, as well as a painter and poet.

After successfully making her mark on stage at age 17, Rosa purportedly grew to be one of the most beautiful and talented of tragic actresses in Italy. She was more known, however, for her skill as an "improvisatrice" or a composer of extemporaneous poetry. This genre required the ability to improvise with ease and aplomb poetic works of at times great scope, the subject of which was usually given by members of the audience. It was especially popular in Italy during the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries. Several of these poets became famous throughout the continent and were welcomed into theaters, academies, courts, and salons. Rosa Taddei, in fact, was famous in her day and was welcomed into the Arcadia with the name Licori Partenopea. She married Vincenzo Mozzidolfi, reportedly an educated man learned in foreign languages, in 1832.

She died in Rome on March 3, 1869.

Sources:

  • s.v. "Taddei." In Dizionario enciclopedico italiano. Vol. 11 (Sci-Tat). Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana fondata da G. Treccani, 1961.
  • s.v. "Taddei Mozzidolfi, Rosa." In Enciclopedia Biografica e Bibliografica "Italiana." Serie 6: "Poetesse e scrittrici." 2 vols. Rome: E.B.B.I. Istituto Editoriale Italiano, 1941.
  • s.v. "Taddei, Francesco." In Enciclopedia italiana di scienza, lettere, ed arti. Vol. 33 (Sup-Topi). Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana fondata da G. Treccani, 1937.
  • s.v. "Estemporanea, poesia." In Dizionario critico della letteratura italiana. 2nd ed. Vol. 2 (Com-L). Directed by Vittore Branca. Turin: Unione tipografico-edizione torinese, 1986.
Submitted by Margaret E. Kern, The University of Chicago, 2002.


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