12 Miles West

All about Theatres

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The Famous Opera Houses

An Opera House is a theatre that has been built for the productions of Operas. Not every theatre can be used for operas as the size of operatic productions can be huge. The numbers in the cast can be massive and the opera is always accompanied by a large musical accompaniment. The Opera houses emerged with the building of the Teatro San Cassiano in Venice which opened in 1637 and was the first that was opened to the general public. It was demolished in 1812 after continuingly suffering from fires.


The Teatro di San Carlo

The oldest surviving opera house is the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples that was opened in 1737. The theatre hosts both ballets and operas, and now has a capacity of 1,386 seats, where previously if could host 3,285 spectators. The building is an impressive structure containing 184 boxes, including the Royal Box. The architecture reflects the period that it was built in, and the theatre is renowned for its blue and gold coloring. Its audiences were famous for their passion and from 1901 the famous local opera star Enrico Caruso vowed never to return after being booed on stage.

The Teatro Alla Scala

Italy’s leading opera house is the Teatro Alla Scala which is located in Milan. The theatre was built in 1778 with the premier performance being Antonio Salien’s “Europa Riconsciuta”. As well as being home to the La Scala Theatre Chorus the La Scala Theatre Ballet and the La Scala Theatre Orchestra are also based there.The theatre also has its own museum and is also home to the La Scala Theatre Academy which offers training music, dance, stagecraft, and stage management. The capacity of the theatre today is just over 2000 and the stage is one of the largest in Italy.The Palais Garnier theatre is the home to the Paris opera. It was built between 1861 and 1875, and was opened with a capacity of 1,979 seats. Until 1989 it doubled as being the home to the national ballet, but the building of the Opera Bastille has resulted in most ballet performances being produced at the Palais Garmier while opera is performed mainly at the Palais Garnier. It is one of the most famous opera houses in the world as a result of it being the setting of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel “The Phantom of The Opera”. When Andrew Lloyd Webber produced the musical its fame increased tenfold, as the musical was played in the West End, and on Broadway, for many years always referring to the opera house. The building of the Vienna State Opera was completed in 1869 having been started in 1861. During the Second World War the opera house was badly damaged by bombs, with the auditorium and stage being completely destroyed.

In 1949 it was reopened having been restored to its original design, with improved acoustics as wood was used in the construction, and a reduced capacity that now holds an audience of 2,280. The building is an imposing structure with a major feature being the marble stone that has been used in much of the construction. One of the largest Opera houses in the world is the New York Metropolitan Opera House which can hold up to 3800 spectators. Located in the Lincoln Centre the building was completed in 1966 with the premier of Samuel Barber’s “Anthony and Cleopatra”. Being a modern theatre it possesses one of the most advanced technological stages. Lifts, elevators and rigging systems means that the most ambitious productions can be staged. The Theatre is so large and flexible that many pop concerts have been staged there. The Who, Paul McCartney and Barbara Streisand have all performed in the opera house. The largest and most famous opera house in South America is the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. It is famed for the quality of its acoustics and it is ranked the third best opera house in the world by the National Geographic.

The current building replaced the old opera house, and it was opened in 1907. It has 2487 seats plus there is standing room for another 1000. The building is an imposing structure with its central chandelier containing 700 light bulbs.