Italy’s Famous Opera Houses

San Carlo Opera House, NaplesIMG_1153Italy has a wealth of beautiful, historic opera houses.  Should you be in Italy during ‘the season’, you might want to make reservations for a performance. The opera season is generally October through March or April.  Milan’s famous opera house, Teatro Alla Scala, ranks number one.  It reopened in December, 2004 after an extensive renovation. It has a bookshop, bar, and history museum as well. The original opera house, designed by neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini, opened in 1778 and many famous operas were first performed here. La Scala was badly bombed during World War II but reopened in 1946 and quickly regained its reputation as a top Italian opera house. La Fenice (the Phoenix) in Venice, is also one of the most famous theaters in Europe. La Fenice first opened in 1792 but was twice badly damaged by fire. It has recently been renovated and reopened. La Fenice is in Venice’s San Marco Sestiere.  The Teatro San Carlo in Naples is the oldest opera house in Italy, founded in 1737. Some of the first ballet productions were also performed here during the opera intermissions. Opera, ballet, and short comic opera are still performed at Teatro San Carlo. Teatro Massimo in Palermo is the foremost opera house in Sicily as well as one of the finest in Europe. Its opening in 1897 signaled the beginning of Palermo’s belle epoque. Year-round performances include opera, ballet, and music. Bologna’s opera house is one of the top theaters in Italy and also one of the oldest. It is a stunning example of 18th century baroque architecture. Located in the heart of Bologna’s historic district, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna holds opera, musical, and symphony performances.  I recommend you visit theses beautiful theatres, even if your timing does not allow you to enjoy a performance.

For a more extensive list of famous theatres in Italy see: http://goitaly.about.com/od/performingarts/tp/opera_houses.htm?nl=1

 

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