Five wonderful venues to experience a genuine Italian Opera
Italy is the birthplace of the opera and remains still one of the best places in the world to see operatic performances. Originally created as an art form for the elite, opera eventually found its way to the masses and today it is thought of total art form accessible to all. What better place to experience this than in Italy itself, so we have picked five of the very best historic theatrical venues for lovers of Opera to enjoy their performances.
1) Venice – Gran Teatro La Fenice
Venice’s primary Opera House is called ‘La Fenice’, which is the Italian word for a phoenix, the legendary bird, which has the ability to rise from the ashes. Its name has proved particularly appropriate, as, over time, La Fenice has fallen victim to fire on no fewer than three occasions since its inauguration in the 18th Century, The latest fire in the 1990s, completely gutted the building to its foundations. However, like the mythical phoenix it rose again, restored to its former glory, yet brought right up to date with the installation of the most modern stage machinery in the world allowing La Fenice to continue to delight audiences to this day.
2) Milan – Teatro alla Scala
The Scala was built on the location of the Santa Maria alla Scala Church in 1778 which gave the Opera House its name. The sumptuously decorated balcony seats were originally owned by important Milanese families, and the La Scala back then was the place to be seen, with the theatrical performances merely serving as a backdrop. The theatre underwent complete renovation from 2002 to 2004 and now is equipped with an 11 storey technical area, with a further 8 levels underground. A visit to the Milanese Scala is the dream of many opera lovers and backstage tours provide a remarkable insight into modern day theatrical operations.
3) Trieste – Teatro Verdi
The Verdi Theatre, named after the composer Giuseppe Verdi, was founded as “Teatro Nuovo” and is one of the oldest opera houses in the world, being inaugurated in 1801. The architects behind the construction worked on both La Fenice in nearby Venice and Milan’s La Scala, resulting in a theatre which resembles La Fenice internally and La Scala on the exterior.
4) Turin – Teatro Regio
Turin’s famous Teatro Regio, the “Royal Theatre” has set the standard for theatrical construction since its inception in 1740 when this beautiful opera house was constructed by the forty-strong Societa dei Signori Cavalieri of Turin with its 1,500 seats and 139 boxes. The opera house was rebuilt back in 1973 and opened with a production o of Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani directed by Maria Callas and Giuseppe Di Stefano.
5) Verona – Amphitheatre Arena
The Roman amphitheatre (better known as an Arena) is, along with Juliet’s Balcony, the iconic symbol of this city. It was built in the 1st Century and like all amphitheatres of the day, staged gladiatorial spectacles. A solid and impressive structure with an exterior faced by bricks and red marble (called “rosso Verona”) the Arena’s central stage and tier of 15,000 concentric seats create an effect of grandeur. The Arena today retains its function of entertainment venue and provides a stunning backdrop for many different types of concerts and musical events including the famous annual Verona Opera Season.
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