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As has been noted by Lee Marshall, "while not as well known as La Scala in Milan or La Fenice in Venice, the city’s Teatro Regio...considered by opera buffs to be one of the true homes of the great Italian tradition, and the well-informed audience is famous for giving voice to its approval or disapproval – not just from the gallery." was inaugurated on when it presented the premiere of Vincenzo Bellini's Zaira, a production which was staged another seven times, although it did not prove to be popular with the Parma audiences.Initially Rossini had been invited to compose a work for the inauguration of the house, but he was too busy and so the task fell to Bellini.The newly built "Nuovo Ducale" was located on the site of the former Monastery of St.Alexander and it was located next to the Ducal Palace.Construction began in 1821 during the reign of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma who, as Napoleon I's divorced second wife, preferred divorce rather than exile.However, that inaugural season saw three Rossini operas staged, including Moïse et Pharaon, Semiramide, and Il barbiere di Siviglia.There had been a Ducal Theatre in Parma since the 17th century, the principal one being the Teatro Farnese constructed in 1618, but it was used only nine times, the last one occurring in October 1732, was becoming obsolete due to a variety of factors, including the need to appeal to an increasing middle class desire to experience opera, but also allow for "separate and well articulated private and public spaces".
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Also well known in Parma was the conductor Arturo Toscanini, was born there in 1867.