San Carlo Opera House

photo4The Real Teatro di San Carlo is the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in Europe, opening decades before both the Milanese La Scala and Venetian La Fenice theaters. San Carlo was built by the Bourbon king, Charles III, and takes its name from the fact that it opened on November 4, 1737, the feast day of the saint the king was named for. San Carlo has always been what they called in the days of vaudeville a “tough house”. in 1901, local critics panned their own hometown boy, Enrico Caruso, so severely that he took himself to America, never to sing in Naples again.
I recently was treated to box seats for an opera performance at the San Carlo and it most certainly was a memorable evening. The ushers were clothed in fun attire made of all buttons, ribbons, or keys…a delightful contrast to the classic gilded red and gold theatre itself.
Though the opera season in Italy does not run year around, often a ballet or musical performance can be enjoyed in the off season.

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