Teatro Comunale di Bologna
The Teatro Comunale di Bologna is an opera house in Bologna, Italy, and is one of the most important opera venues in Italy. Typically, it 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. However, from the early 18th century, the Teatro Marsigli-Rossi had been presenting operatic works by popular composers of the day including Vivaldi, Gluck, and Niccolò Piccinni. The Teatro Malvezzi, built in 1651, burned down in February 1745 and this event prompted the construction of a new public theatre, the Nuovo Teatro Pubblico, 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. Although 35 of its 99 boxes were sold for private use, the terms of ownership were also unique in that they have been described as being limited to "the right to rent in perpetuity"  rather than outright ownership and control.
Designed by the architect Antonio Galli Bibiena  - although opposed by several others who lost the design competition - 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. A bell-shaped auditorium consisting of four tiers of boxes plus a royal box and small gallery with a ceiling decorated as if open to the sky was built primarily of masonry as a protection against fire. However, much work remained unfinished, the facade in particular which was not completed until 1936. Also, many of the backstage facilities which would allow for the presentations of operas were unfinished and only completed due to competition from another theatre in 1805.
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 and conducted there until the Second World War.
Various renovations were undertaken between 1818 and 1820 and also in 1853/54. After fire destroyed much of the stage area in 1931, the theatre was closed, and it did not re-open until 14 November 1935. By that date, the original bell-shaped auditorium had given way to a horseshoe-shaped one seating 1,034 people.
- Lynn 2005, p. 139
- Landriani, p. 164—166
- Lynn 2005, p. 141
- Landriani, Paolo (1830). Dottore Giulio Ferrario, ed. Storia e Descrizione de' Principali Teatri Antichi e Moderni. Tipografia del Dottor Giulio Ferrario, Contrada del Bocchetto N. 2465. pp. 164–166.
- Lynn, Karyl Charna (2005), Italian Opera Houses and Festivals, Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-8108-5359-0
- Teatro Comunale of Bologna's website (in Italian and English)