You don’t have to be a lover of the opera, symphony or ballet for that matter to appreciate this stunning Opera House situated adjacent to Palazzo Reale. One of Naples crown jewels, the San Carlo Theater is the Oldest Opera House in Europe. Built 41 years before La Scala in Milan, its design was the model on which many, and if you ask a Neapolitan, all other Opera Houses would follow.
A horseshoe shaped theater with tiered boxes rising six stories high, its design is owed to Antonio Medrano and Angelo Caresale. Adorned in sumptuous blue upholstery and gold decor, the colors of the Bourbon Monarchy (it was later changed to red and gold), it was a theater built for a King, King Charles III (1716 – 1788) to be exact. Inaugurated on his onomastico, his name day, the San Carlo opened on November 4th 1737. With 3300 seats, it was the largest Opera House in the world at the time. And with pitch perfect acoustics, it quickly became the venue of the masters, the dream of the hopefuls and made Naples the music capital of Europe.
Attracting composers like Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi and Vincenzo Bellini, the San Carlo Theater thrived through the 19th and into the mid 20th century. Neither the fire of 1816 nor severe damages from WWII air raids in 1943 halted its operations. Both times the theater was quickly restored, the first time by Antonio Niccolini within 10 months of the fire and the second time by the Allied Forces. Reopened December 16th, 1943, it was used for armed forces concerts until the end of the war.
Today, after a two year, 76 million euro renovation that was completed in January 2010, the San Carlo Theater is reclaiming its tittle as one of the most important Opera Houses in the World. Equipped with state of the art amenities, this historic theater is once again attracting world class performers who, along with the theater’s own companies are filling the stage with a rich and varied program of Opera, Ballet and Symphony.
Guided Tours of the San Carlo Theater
The San Carlo Theater offers guided tours of the theatre daily (except for holidays). The tour includes the main hall, the boxes, the Royal Box, and the two Foyers. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and are available in Italian and English and other languages on request. Tours are €6,00 and visitors can continue with a 40 minute tour of MeMus, Museum and Historical Archives of the San Carlo Theater for an additional cost.
When: Monday through Saturday at 10:30, 11.30, 12:30 and 14,30, 15:30, 16:30; Sundays at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30
How Much: San Carlo Theater – €6,00/MeMus – €6,00
Information and booking: +39 081 7972 468 or firstname.lastname@example.org