The Teatro di San Carlo Theater in Naples is the oldest operating theater in the world. It has been declared by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage Site next to the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge. It is located next to the central Piazza del Plebiscito, and is connected to the Royal Palace.


It was discovered in 1737 decades before Milan's La Scala and Teatro La Fenice in Florence. It is because of the size, structure and time at which it was built that the San Carlo Theater becomes a role model for the construction of the next theaters in Europe. It was built on the idea of ​​King of Naples, Charles III. He wanted to create a larger and more modern theater to replace the then "San Bartolomeo" (built in 1621), which was the place where the opera Renaissance of the city began after 1700.


On 4 November 1737 is the official opening of the San Carlo Theater with a performance by Giovanni Pergolesi (Giovanni Battista Pergolesi) - Libre based Achille in Sciro (literary text used as a script for an opera or other stage work). The first seasons in the theater were influenced by the royal preference for dancing, and so many famous castrators took part in the stage (this is done from a childish age in order to keep the child's voice clear and clear).

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At the end of the seventeenth century, Christoph Willibald Gluck was invited to direct the opera in Naples by the Tuffarelli Impressario, and Johan Bach presented two of his operos, Catone in Utica, between 1761 - 1762. and Alessandro nelle Indie.


The new opera was designed in the form of a horseshoe by military architect Giovanni Antonio Medrano and Angelo Carasale, and is the oldest in the world. The hall is 28,6 meters long, 22,5 meters wide and has a total of 1379 seats. Together with the balcony locations, the total number reaches 3000.

For this hall, the demanding violinist Louis Spohr, who paid much attention to acoustics during his performances, concluded as early as February 15 that "there is no better place for ballet and pantomime, even battles and storms in the sea can be represented without a sense of grandeur and something out of place. " Some of the highest-pitched singers, such as Isabella Colbran, who was the theater's primate, and Rossini's future wife, were guests here. The acoustics were more than perfect. The room was of exquisite architecture and glowed with blue trim and gold decorations (these colors were the official color on the Bourbon emblem).


In the period 1809 - 1841, Domenico Barbaia was appointed as the Governor. Thanks to its incredible productions, with their lighting and innovations intertwined with them, the theater attracts many audiences as well as leading opera singers from all over the world. Unfortunately for the 13 February 1816, a fire breaks out during rehearsal in the theater, destroying it to the ground. At the behest of Charles III's son, King Ferdinand IV, the 10-monthly restoration of the theater begins.


With the help of Antonio Nicolini, the main audience was restored with the original horseshoe shape, with 1444 seats, and the interior was decorated with a bas-relief depicting "Time and Hour." On 12 January 1817, the already renovated theater opens its doors. The Great Stendal is one of the invitees and says: "There is no other place in Europe that can be compared to this theater; it dazzles the eyes and excites the soul." A few years later, the theater underwent cosmetic changes.

photo: Silvia Lelli

photo: Silvia Lelli

In 1872, a separate space for the orchestra was created by Verdi's idea, and in 1890 electricity was created, with changing rooms and a new lobby being built. The outbreak of World War II and subsequent bombing inflicted minimal damage on the theater in 1943. After the liberation of Naples in October 1943, Peter Francis of the Royal Artillery helped organize the repair of the damaged lobby and only after 3 weeks the building was reopened visitors. The first opera performance is by Bohemia by Giacomo Puccini and takes place on 26 December 1943.


At the end of the 19th century, Giuseppe Martucci began creating an internal orchestra, including a number of distinguished conductors such as Pietro Mascagni and Arturo Toscanini, and thanks to the composer Richard Strauss, the repertoire of the opera was expanded.


At the beginning of the 21st century, due to outdated equipment and lack of air conditioning, the building had a tide of visitors. That is why the Campaign Regional Government funded the renovation and, within a year, between 2008 - 2009, made a major renovation of the rehearsal rooms and replaced the décor. On January 27, January 2010, the theater officially opened with Mozart's opera "The Mercy of Titus," a date that coincided with the celebration of the 100's birth anniversary by the great composer.



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