Since its origins in the XVI century the history of opera has left a permanent mark on Tuscany, and still does: the most important operas ever composed (need a few names? Verdi, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini, Bizet, Bellini) are now performed in many theatres and opera houses across the region. Let’s discover together the top venues for opera in Tuscany, venues that are treasure troves of astonishing beauty and historical significance in and of themselves.
Florence’s very own opera house is a modern and multifunctional building set near the entrance to the Cascine park, the largest green space in town. Opened in 2011 to replace the old Teatro Comunale, the Opera di Firenze hosts opera shows throughout the year. Furthermore, around May it is home to the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, possibly one of the oldest festivals comprising operas, concerts, ballets and prose shows. Check out the official website of the Opera to know more about the program of the season and buy tickets.
As for Florence, there are some other theatres that host opera shows from time to time and need to be mentioned in this post. We’re referring to the historic Teatro della Pergola, one of the oldest “all’italiana” theatres, the Teatro Niccolini, the Teatro Goldoni and, last but not least, the Teatro Verdi.
Every year, in July and August, the hamlet of Torre del Lago hosts a festival entirely dedicated to Giacomo Puccini. Born in Lucca, the renowned composer moved to Torre del Lago at the end of the XIX century and while he was there he wrote some of his main operas (Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Il Trittico, to name a few). The festival takes place in an open air theatre overlooking the Massaciuccoli lake. Visit the official website of Puccini festival to learn more and discover the program of the upcoming edition.
The three century-old Teatro del Giglio in Lucca is a splendid work of art in itself, to the point that in 1985 it was officially recognised as a “Teatro di Tradizione” (or Traditional theatre). Throughout its history, the Giglio has hosted major Italian opera companies, the most famous artists and the most beautiful operas, from Verdi to Rossini, from Bellini to Mascagni. Have a look at the official website of Giglio Theatre for more info on the programming.
The theatre was inaugurated in 1847 with the staging of the opera “Robert le diable” by Giacomo Meyerbeer, but it was only in 1860 that it took on its current name, after Carlo Goldoni, to highlight the deep bond between the town and the renowned Italian playwright and librettist. After various vicissitudes and property changes across the years, it stands today as the only historic theatre in Livorno that outlived the bombings during World War II. Look up the calendar of forthcoming events on the official website of the Goldoni Theatre.
Originally designed based on the model of Florence’s Teatro della Pergola, the “New Royal Theatre” was inaugurated in 1867 with Gioacchino Rossini’s William Tell. It was named after the renowned Giuseppe Verdi in 1904. Nowadays the Verdi is home to concerts and theatre shows and still offers a rich calendar of operas. Find out more on the official website of Teatro Verdi.
The cozy historic church of Santo Stefano alla Lizza in Siena hosts concerts that will take you on a journey through the most famous arias and duetscoming from the opera masterpieces by Puccini, Verdi, Rossini, Mozart, and more. Visit the official website of Italian Opera in Siena to learn more.