Italy has a lot of beautiful, historic opera houses, many still serving as theaters. The opera season in the country is generally October through March or April but outdoor performances are held in the summer. Opera houses hold theater and dance performances at other times of the year, too, and some can be toured without going to a performance.
Here are some of the most famous opera houses in Italy.
Teatro Alla Scala
Located in Milan, right next to the Galleria, this theater is probably the most important opera house in the world, a true temple of classical music. It was founded in 1776 to replace a theater that had burned down. The theater has been through several remodeling and restyling, and the last one dated just a few years ago (2002-2004), caused much criticism, as many felt that the soul of La Scala was actually betrayed. At the moment, the theater has a capacity of a little over 2000 seats. The season opening is one of the most celebrated social events in Milan and highly reported by the media.
Official website: http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/index.html
How to get there: underground: Duomo or Cordusio Tube Stations on the Red Line (Line 1), Duomo or Montenapoleone Tube Stations on the Yellow Line (Line 3). Bus: Line 61, Verdi – via dell’Orso stop. Tram: No 1, Manzoni – Scala stop, No 2, Manzoni – Scala stop.
Teatro La Fenice
Located in Venice the theatre was built at the end of the 18th century and – as befits its name – was burned down and rebuilt… twice in the 19th century. Then, it was destroyed once again by fire in 1996. This event was front page news, and engendered a major international effort to rebuild. Many celebrities led such efforts: American filmmaker Woody Allen was one of the most active. This new theater has been criticized by many for its style, which some say doesn’t match the city; the location is considered not the best. The most important event hosted here is the New Year’s concert that usually attracts some of the best musicians in the world.
Location: La Fenice Opera House, Campo San Fantin, 1965 St. Mark, 30124.Venice
Tel.: +39 041 786511
Official website: http://www.teatrolafenice.it/site/index.php
How to get there: Public Boat – “Vaporetto” from Tronchetto: line 2 , Direction/via Rialto bridge, St Mark and Lido
Teatro San Carlo
This is one of the most important opera houses in Europe. It is the oldest existent opera house, circa 1737, and can host almost 1000 more people than La Scala. This theater had some very famous directors; two who are worth mentioning, Gioacchino Rossini and Gaetano Donzinetti, are true icons of Italian music. The problem is that this theater has experienced strong censorship in comparison to other cities, even tougher than in Rome, home of the Vatican. This environment has created a great deal of friction with important composers, and especially with Giuseppe Verdi.
Location: Via San Carlo, 98/F, 80132 Napoli
Tel.: +39 081 7972331 – 412 -468
Official website: http://www.teatrosancarlo.it/en/
How to get there: Bus: R2 to Via San Carlo