Italian playwright. Pope under the name of Clement IX from 1667 onward and author of musical libretti, Giulio Rospigliosi renewed Roman theatrical tastes, writing for the Barberini family and their theatre. He introduced into the texts, after some experiments with sacred drama (Sant’ Alessio Saint Alexis), elements of realism and “masks” (maschere, stock characters) from the commedia dell’ arte (Zanni, Coviello), and with Chi soffre speri (May He Who Suffers Take Hope, 1639), creating a new type of musical comedy.

After his nunciature in Spain, Rospigliosi added theatrical elements borrowed from Calderón, as for example in La comica del cielo, ovvero la Baltassara (The Heavenly Comedy, or La Baltassara), performed in Rome at the Ludovisi palace (which would later become the Palazzo Fiano) in 1667. Set to music by Antonio Maria Abbatini, with stage devices by Bernini, La comica met with great success thanks to the mixture of tragic elements with comic ones (such as the servant Biscotto) that characterized it. It was also revived several times in 1668, at the court of Colonna, Grand Constable of the Kingdom of Naples, accompanied by the short comic opera Il girello (The Baby Carriage) by Filippo Acciaiuoli, later staged with glove puppets at the Campo Marzio monastery.

(See Italy.)


  • Beani, G. Clemente IX notizie storiche. Prato, 1893.
  • McCormick, John, with Alfonso Cipolla and Alessandro Napoli. The Italian Puppet Theater – A History. Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Co., 2010. (See chapter on puppets and the Commedia dell’Arte.)
  • Signorelli, Maria. Un testo inedito di Papa Clemente IX rappresentato a Roma nel 1668.