THEATRES in Florence
Musichas played a very important part in the artistic life of Florence; the very first opera was in fact created here at the end of the 16th century, based on the theories and the experiences of the Camerata dei Bardi. The temple of Florentine music today is the Teatro Comunale, home of the Maggio Musicale, which, like its twin city Salzburg – and also Bayreuth – holds the oldest and most important Festival in Europe, further supported by concert and opera seasons of the highest quality.
THE “TEATRO COMUNALE” (city theatre) OF FLORENCE AND THE “MAGGIO MUSICALE FIORENTINO”
Address: Corso Italia, 16
Phone (Call center telephone bookings): +39 0935 564767 | Monday – Friday from 9 to 21.30, Saturday from 9 to 16
Box Office Teatro Comunale: Corso Italia, 12 | Tuesday to Friday 10am-4.30pm; Saturday 10am-1p
The Teatro Comunale was originally the Politeama Fiorentino, designed by Telemaco Bonaiutiin 1862, an open air arena which lead to the creation of the theatre as we see it today. At present the Comunaleis is basically a huge auditorium with a single tier of boxes and two large amphitheatres – like semicircular galleries – that can seat about 2000 people. The Piccolo Teatro of the Comunale, situated on one side of the main auditorium; is a really up-to-date ‘small theatre’, capable of seating about 600 spectators.
Partially destroyed twice, by an air raid in 1944 and by the famous flood of 1966, the Teatro Comunale has always been immediately restored and has come to symbolize the city’s sense of responsibility and will to start again, (as expressed in the wonderful concert in Piazza della Signoria after the bomb attackon the Uffizi in 1993).
Indispensible elements behind the organization of the performances are the scene dock and costume shop while the technical staff (electricians, stage hands, sound technicians etc.) have always won the praise of the various artists with whom they have worked.
The stage of the Comunale has born witness to the triumph of some of the most famous names in music of our times, among them conductors like Vittorio Gui, Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Zubin Mehta, Von Karajan and Muti; the wonderful voice of Maria Callas made its debut here, while Pietro Mascagni, Richard Strauss, Paul Hindemith, Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, Luigi Dalla Piccola, Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio and many others came to interpret their own compositions. Some of the exceptional directors and set designers include Max Reinhardt, Gustav Grundgens, Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli, Luca Ronconi, Bob Wilson, Giorgio De Chiricoand Oskar Kokoschka.
The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was founded by Vittorio Gui in 1933 and immediately became one of the most important music festivals in the world. The Festival itself has always been characteristic for the originality of some of its basic cultural choices: this can be seen in the close attention given to the problems connected with the ‘visual aspect’ of opera, thus some of this century’s finest theatre and film directors have been called in to collaborate in the Festival as well as many famous painters and sculptors for the design of the sets and costumes. This has meant an almost constant exploration of Twentieth century music, from historic avant-garde compositions to more recent experiences, accompanied by the rediscovery of compositions and authors of the past that have fallen into oblivion.
The Maggio Musicale is normally heldduring the months of May and June but the activity of the Teatro Comunale continues all the year round, except for a short interlude in August, with the Summer Season, the Autumn Opera and Ballet Season (September – December) and the Symphonic Season (January – April); it offers an incredibly wide choice of music in various forms, capable of suiting all the different tastes of a huge public.
The Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino first came into being in 1928, again thanks to Vittorio Gui, though it was then called the Stabile Orchestrale Fiorentina. Composed of about 120 musicians, this orchestra has been led by some of the greatest conductors of our time and has always been admired for its extensive operatic and symphonic repertory, which ranges from baroque to contemporary music.
The Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was formed in 1933 for the first Maggio Musicale under the guidance of Andrea Morosini. The Chorus is at present composed of about 100 members and its repertoire not only includes traditional and contemporary opera but also many important symphonic compositions and chamber music.
Maggio Danza, the Corps de Ballet of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, was founded in 1967, its first point of reference being the figure of Aurelio Milloss. However the Florentine ballet company really began to assume a precise identity with the advent of Evgheni Polyakovin 1978 who was to give it a varied repertory that included modern contemporary dance as well as the great classical ballets. Composed of about 40 members, Maggio Danza has collaborated with some of the greatest étoiles in the world: Carla Fracci, Alessandra Ferri, Maya Pliseckaja, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Eric Vu An.
THE “TEATRO VERDI”
Address: Via Ghibellina,99
Phone: 055 212320 – 2396242 | Fax: 055 288417
Ticket Office of the Verdi Theater of Florence: Monday to Friday 15 pm – 19 pm
Website – More info: http://www.teatroverdionline.it/
The Teatro Verdi of Florence was founded in September 1854 by Girolamo Pagliano and was designed by the architect Telemaco Bonaiuti. Its orginal name was Teatro delle Antiche Stinche after the Trecento prison on which it was constructed. (Several cells are still visible today on the underground levels of the theatre).
The theatre, which assumed its current name in 1901, was designed by the architect Telemaco Bonaiuti and was completed under his supervision.
Between 1950 and the present, the theatre has undergone three different renovations in compliance with building codes. These adaptations have modified the interior of the hall but have preserved the classical Italian structure of the theatre: an ample orchestra pit, six levels of loges and the former royal box transformed into a dress circle, and the interior decor of the main entrance and the two foyers.
Since January 1998, Teatro Verdi has been the venue for Orchestra della Toscana’s rehearsals and concerts. Today, as throughout its 150 years, the theatre presents a program which includes various performing arts in addition to housing ORT’s classical music concerts: theatre, opera, operetta, ballet, pop and jazz concerts, film premières and conventions.
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA
Address: Via Ghibellina, 101
Phone: 055 281993 – 280670 | Fax: 055 281640
Website – More info: http://www.orchestradellatoscana.it/
Founded in 1980, ORT was established under the tutelage of the Tuscan Regional Government, the Municipal Government of Florence, and the Provincial Administrations of Florence. While under the artistic direction of Luciano Berio, ORT was given national recognition for excellence by Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Today, under Artistic Director, is Sergio Sablich’s able directorship and housed in the historic Teatro Verdi in the heart of Florence, ORT’s performances are broadcast nationally by RAI-Radiotre Suite. The Orchestra is composed of 45 musicians, divided into accomplished chamber groups: I Solisti dell’ORT, OrtEnsemble, Harmoniemusik – I Fiati dell’ORT.
From baroque to today’s music: Agile performer of a broad repertory that spans baroque to contemporary composers, the orchestra amply represents Haydn, Mozart, all of Beethoven’s symphonies, and large selections from baroque instrumental music, with a special emphasis on the presentation of works rarely performed. In addition to choral masterpices, ORT has performed Mahler’s Lieder, choral works by Brahms, and operatic selections with an emphasis on Rossini. The tuscan formation stands out in the Italian scene thanks to its aptitude for theearly 20th century music and a peculiar attention towards contemporary music. It has performed with renowned soloists and famous conductors worldwide; it has accompanied young performers at their débuts, and has also included in its programtheatrical and dance performances.
Invited by the main Italian Concert Societies, it has performed with great success at Teatro alla Scala of Milan, Teatro Comunale of Florence, Teatro Comunale of Bologna, Carlo Felice of Genoa, Auditorium “G.Agnelli” of Lingotto of Turin and Accademia di S.Cecilia of Rome. The Orchestra collaborates with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and with the Ravenna Festival, and since 1995 partecipates in the Rossini Opera Festival. Intenational tours since 1992 have included: Germany, Japan, Salzburg, Cannes, Buenos Aires, San Paolo, Montevideo, Strasbourg, New York, Edinburgh, Madrid. Since 1988, ORT has recorded numerous performances: works by Schubert and Cherubini, conducted by Donato Renzetti for Europa Music, Peter and the Wolf and L’Histoire de Babar with actor Paolo Poli, conducted by Alessandro Pinzauti for Caroman, Cavalleria rusticana conducted by Bruno Bartoletti for Foné, Il Barbiere di Siviglia conducted by Gianluigi Gelmetti for EMI Classics, Tribute to Mina and Orfeo cantando tolse by Adriano Guarnieri for Ricordi, Stabat Mater by Rossini conducted by Gianluigi Gelmetti, for Agorà, Holy Sea by Butch Morris for Splasc(h), Richard Galliano with “I Solisti dell’Ort” for Dreyfus. Of recent release is Tancredi by Rossini conducted by Gianluigi Gelmetti.
Among the renowned musicians who have collaborated with ORT: SALVATORE ACCARDO, RUDOLF BARSHAI, YURI BASHMET, GEORGE BENJAMIN, LUCIANO BERIO, FRANS BRÜGGEN, MARIO BRUNELLO, SYLVAIN CAMBRELING, KYUNG WHA CHUNG, MYUNG-WHUN CHUNG, ALICIA DE LARROCHA, GABRIELE FERRO, ELIOT FISK, RAFAEL FRÜBECH DE BURGOS, GIANANDREA GAVAZZENI, GIANLUIGI GELMETTI, IRENA GRAFENAUER, NATALIA GUTMAN, DANIEL HARDING, HEINZ HOLLIGER, ELIAHU INBAL, KIM KASHKASHIAM, TON KOOPMAN, GIDON KREMER, YO-YO MA, GUSTAV KUHN, PETER MAAG, PETER MAXWELL DAVIES, ALEXANDER LONQUICH, ANDREA LUCCHESINI, EDUARDO MATA, SABINE MEYER, MIDORI, SHLOMO MINTZ, VIKTORIA MULLOVA, ROGER NORRINGTON, DAVID ROBERTSON, ESA PEKKA SALONEN, HEINRICH SCHIFF, VLADIMIR SPIVAKOV, UTO UGHI, MAXIM VENGEROV, RADOVAN VLAKTOVICH.
TEATRO DELLA PERGOLA
Address: Via della Pergola, 18
Phone: 055 2479651 – 2479612
Website – More info: http://www.teatrodellapergola.com/
The Teatro della Pergola is a historic opera house in Florence, Italy. It is located in the centre of the city on the Via della Pergola, from which the theatre takes its name. It was built in 1656 under the patronage of Cardinal Gian Carlo de’ Medici to designs by the architect Ferdinando Tacca, son of the sculptor Pietro Tacca; its inaugural production was the opera buffa, Il potestà di Colognole by Jacopo Melani.
The opera house, the first to be built with superposed tiers of boxes rather than raked semi-circular seating in the Roman fashion, is considered to be the oldest in Italy, having occupied the same site for more than 350 years.
It has two auditoria, the Sala Grande, with 1,500 seats, and the Saloncino, a former ballroom located upstairs which has been used as a recital hall since 1804 and which seats 400.
Work on completing the interior was finished in 1661, in time for the celebration of the wedding of the future grand duke Cosimo III de’ Medici, with the court spectacle Ercole in Tebe by Giovanni Antonio Boretti. Primarily a court theatre used by the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, it was only after 1718 that it was opened to the public. In this theatre the great operas of Mozart were heard for the first time in Italy, and Donizetti’s Parisina and Rosmonda d’Inghilterra, Verdi’s Macbeth (1847) and Mascagni’s I Rantzau were given their premiere productions.
By the nineteenth century, La Pergola was performing operas of the best-known composers of the day including Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi. Verdi’s Macbeth was given its premiere performance at the Pergola in 1847.
The Pergola’s present appearance dates from an 1855-57 remodelling; it has the traditional horseshoe-shaped auditorium with three rings of boxes and topped with a gallery. It seats 1,000. It was declared a national monument in 1925 and has been restored at least twice since.
Today the theatre presents a broad range of about 250 drama productions each year, ranging from Molière to Neil Simon. Opera is only presented there during the annual Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
List of other theatres in Florence (alphabetical order):
Address: Piazza Cestello
Phone: 055 294609
TEATRO DELLA LIMONAIA
Address: Via Gramsci, 426 (Sesto Fiorentino)
Phone: 055 440852
TEATRO DELLA S.M.S. GRASSINA
Address: Piazza Umberto I, 14 (Grassina)
Phone: 055 644481 – 642639
TEATRO DI RIFREDI
Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 303
Phone: 055 4220361
Website – More info: http://www.toscanateatro.it/
Address: Via delle Mimose, 12
Phone: 055 7398857
TEATRO GARIBALDI – TEATRO STABILE DI FIRENZE
Address: Piazza Serristori (Figline Valdarno)
Phone: 055 9155986
Address: Piazza Puccini
Phone: 055 362067
Website – More info: http://www.teatropuccini.it/
TEATRO STUDIO DI SCANDICCI
Address: Via Donizetti, 58 (Scandicci)
Phone: 055 757348 | Fax: 055 751853
Website – More info: http://www.scandiccicultura.it