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Royal Theatre

Filippo Juvarra

alias Nuovo Teatro Regio, Teatro Nazionale, Teatro Imperiale, Teatro Reggio
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)26.12.1740 | opening
Opened with Francesco Feo's Arsace.
(detail)1936 | fire

People

History

From the very beginning the Teatro Regio set a standard, and it is interesting to note that although it was a court theatre the initiative was not entirely royal. It was begun in April 1738 by the forty-strong Societa dei Signori Cavalieri of Turin, who wanted a new theatre for plays, operas and ballets and who paid an advance to the king of 100,000 lire. In return they received a seven-year financial interest in the sale of tickets, refreshments, libretti, etc. It served, in fact, as a sort of aristocratic civic centre. A platoon of soldiers was permanently on duty in the auditorium and adjoining gaming rooms to prevent disorder and to supervise the conduct of the public. Galeotti of Florence and Milocco of Piedmont painted the ceiling with scenes showing the triumph of the gods. The stuccoist Domenico Ferretti was responsible for the royal box. The top of the proscenium was modelled in scagliola. Scenery was in the hands first of Giuseppe Bibiena and then of Fabrizio and Bernardino Galliari; Bernardino designed the drop-curtain with scenes of Bacchus and Ariadne. Small wonder that the Teatro Regio became the admiration of Europe. It was probably studied more closely than any other theatre and, as the years went by, its restraint and the relative austerity of its decoration only recommended it the more to visitors nourished on the doctrines of Neoclassicism. Patte came here  and was to base his Essai very largely upon what he learned. Dumont in 1763 and later Diderot (in the article 'Theatre' in the Encyclopedic) devoted many whole-page diagrams to it. Another writer, J. J. Lalande, in the 1760s, found the theatre 'the most scholarly, the best laid out, and the most complete of any to be seen in Italy, and the most richly and nobly decorated of any in the modern style'. The innovation that most struck him was the concavity of the ceiling, 'contrary to the custom of most theatres, which always have flat ceilings'. This noble theatre was destroyed by fire in 1937.

 

In: Tidworth, Simon : Theatres: An Illustrated History. London 1973 p. 86 - 87

 

 

Author: Simon Tidworth

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