Teatro Regio di Parma is one of the most famous theatres in the world. Its popularity is given by the beauty of the hall and of certain pieces of decoration, but also by the fact that Teatro Regio hosts the famous Festival Verdi.
Initially, Teatro Regio di Parma was known as the Nuovo Teatro Ducale (New Ducal Theatre). The existence of a ducal theatre in Parma dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. The main theatre was Teatro Farnese, built in 1618. It hosted nine shows until October 1732, later being neglected and destroyed, during World War II. However, the new theatre replaced an existing one from 1688, which was located in the Palazzo di Riserva. This was a small theatre, with only 1,200 seats, which was considered more accessible to the middle class. But, unfortunately, in 1828 after a performance of Zelmira by Gioacchino Rossini, the theatre was closed and demolished.
The city’s need for a new performance hall led to the construction of a new theatre. Thus, in 1821 under the patronage of Marie Louise, the Duchess of Parma (Napoleon I’s divorced second wife) began the construction of a new building. Marie Louise was the one who supported financially the whole project. She wanted to make sure that interior design reflected “the sobriety of neoclassicism and the colors white and light blue.“
Teatro Ducale is built on the site of the former Monastery of St.Alexander and also, near the Ducal Palace. So, the Duchess had direct access to the theater from the Palace. Finally, the inauguration of the new theater took place in 1829 with the opera Zaira by Vicenzo Bellini.
Read the entire article here, in the 5th issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.0