Teatro San Carlo

The Teatro Reale di San Carlo (Royal Theatre of Saint Charles), named by the Bourbon monarchy, is the oldest continuously active opera in the world. Many operas were first performed at the Teatro di San Carlo. Seventeen of Gaetano Donizetti operas and eight of Gioacchino Rossini’s operas were perfomed there. It was 1737 when the first Bourbon of Naples, King Carlos III, put his backing behind “a work that unites magnificence and wonder. A theatre! The largest in Europe… destined to soon become the kingdom of opera music in the world”. San Carlo was inaugurated on 4th November 1737, the king’s name day, with the performance of the opera Achille in Sciro by Domenico Sarro. The first seasons highlighted the royal preference for dance numbers, and featured among the performers famous castrati. The new opera house was designed by Giovanni Antonio Medrano, a military architect, and Angelo Carasale, the former director of the Sant Bartolomeo. The horseshoe-shaped auditorium is the oldest in the world. The fastidious composer and violonist Louis Spohr reviewed the size and acoustic properties of this opera house very thoroughly on 15th February 1817.

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