Bologna Teatro Comunale di Bologna
About Teatro Comunale di Bologna
In the heart of the city’s university area, Il Teatro Comunale di Bologna is one of the most important opera venues in Italy and usually presents eight operas with six performances during its November to April season.
While there had been various theatres presenting opera in Bologna since the early 17th century, they had either fallen into disuse or burnt down which eventually led to a new public theatre, Il Nuovo Teatro Publicco, as the Teatro Communale was first called.
It was to be the first major opera house to be constructed with public funds and owned by the municipality.
Designed by the architect Antonio Galli Bibiena the theatre was inaugurated on 14 May 1763 with a performance of Gluck’s ‘Il trionfo di Clelia’, an opera which the composer had written for the occasion.
The 19th century saw the presentation of twenty operas by Gioacchino Rossini, while seven of Vincenzo Bellini’s ten operas were presented in the 1830s. Works by Giuseppe Verdi and, later in 1871, the Italian premiere of Richard Wagner’s ‘Lohengrin’ dominated the theatre’s repertoire as the century progressed. In fact, Bologna became the location for several other Wagner opera premieres in Italy, notably with the composer present for his ‘Rienzi’.
Another major figure associated with the Teatro Comunale from 1894 onwards was the conductor Arturo Toscanini who presented Verdi’s ‘Falstaff’ in that year until the Second World War.
After fire destroyed much of the stage area in 1931, the theatre was closed, re-opening again in 1935. By that date, the original bell-shaped auditorium had given way to a horseshoe-shaped one seating over 1,000 people.
Costa, Tiziano – Poli, Marco. Conoscere Bologna, Bologna 2005, pp251-252.