Donegani & Delvecchio

The first professional so-called French theatre troupe that came from outside to settle in the province of Québec consisted, in fact, of 2 Italians, Jean Donegani from Moltrazio in Lombardy, and Thomas Delvecchio from Lake Como.

Donegani & Delvecchio

The first professional so-called French theatre troupe that came from outside to settle in the province of Québec consisted, in fact, of 2 Italians, Jean Donegani from Moltrazio in Lombardy, and Thomas Delvecchio from Lake Como. They arrived from the US in April 1788 and gave acrobatic and technical shows at Malo's hotel, on Notre Dame St in Montréal, a few yards from Allen's Hotel. They performed in Montréal during the summer of that year and in Québec City during the autumn, going on to tour North America in 1790 and 1791 described as a company of French acrobats.

In 1791-92 they moved back and forth between Montréal and Philadelphia. After having made enough money to buy 5 hotels, one at Pointe-aux-Trembles, one on Montréal's new market (Place Jacques-Cartier) and 3 on the old one (Place Royale), they settled in the Province of Québec. Jean died in 1799 and Thomas continued to run the business. In 1824 he installed a "museo italiano" (the first museum in the province) in Jean's famous Auberge des Trois Rois. Thomas died in 1826, sparking off a judicial dispute among Donegani's descendants that lasted 10 years. The Delvecchios remained in show business for more than a century. As for the Doneganis, although they became more interested in real estate, their name remained with the company for many years.