The Massimo Vincenzo Bellini Theater is the center of representation of the Catania opera. Inaugurated in May 1890, it is considered one of the most prestigious theaters in Italy and among the best for acoustics.
Teatro Massimo Bellini History
In 1870 the architect Andrea Scala was entrusted with the task of finding a suitable site to build a new Politeama, after examining the various options it was decided for the area of Piazza Cutelli. Despite the financial uncertainties, the Scala project was approved which, with the assistance of the Milanese architect Carlo Sada, carried out the work, financed by the group of shareholders of the Politeama Anonymous Company. In 1880 the company soon ended in liquidation and was replaced by the Municipality which decided to modify the structure of the Lyric theater by imposing changes to the project, in seven years the works were completed. Lacking the funds to entrust him to an impresario, he had to wait on May 31, 1890 for the inauguration with the opera Norma of the Catania composer Vincenzo Bellini.
The facade of the neo-baroque style theater is inspired by the Sansovinian classic of the Marciana National Library in Venice. The rest of the building, however, stands out in the lateral development, assuming the form of a theater.
The room with four tiers of boxes beyond the gallery is of great decorative richness and is one of the most beautiful among those built in the nineteenth century in Italy. The ceiling is frescoed by the painter Ernesto Bellandi with the apotheosis of Bellini with the allegories of his major works: Norma, La sonnambula, I puritani and Il pirata. The historical curtain, illustrating the victory of the Catania people over the Libyans, is by the Catania painter Giuseppe Sciuti. In the reduced, very large and elegant all marble and stucco, the bronze statue of Vincenzo Bellini, by Salvo Giordano, is remarkable.
Noteworthy: in 1931, the staging of Mascagni's L'amico Fritz with Ines Alfani-Tellini, in 1933, an edition of La traviata with Mercedes Capsir and Lina Pagliughi, in 1934 Carmen with Gianna Pederzini and in 1935 by Norma with Gina Cigna. In 1941 Don Pasquale di Donizetti with Toti Dal Monte and Puccini Bohème with Mario Del Monaco. Subsequently the war events forced the closure of the Theater until 1944 when the resumption of the performances took place. In 1950 Maria Callas made her appearance in Norma, a work with which she will also return in 1951. Also in 1951 Callas was also highly acclaimed interpreter of another of Bellini's masterpieces, The Puritans. In 1952 he brought La traviata to Bellini and Lucia di Lammermoor in 1953. In 1955 the "Bellini" hosted, for the inauguration of the season, the newly elected President of the Republic Giovanni Gronchi. On stage The Puritans. From that period we remember: The dialogues of the Carmelites (opera) in 1959 which the same author, Poulenc, defined as the best staging of his work; Joan of Arc burned at Honegger in 1960 with Vittorio Gassman actor and director (the representation was taken up by RAI and broadcast on TV); Richard Strauss' rose rider in 1960. In 1966 the management of the "Bellini" was taken by the Municipality of Catania, which debuted in this role with a season that saw the Bellinian Beatrice di Tenda directed by Vittorio Gui with Raina Kabaivanska. In 1970 Moses premiered in Egypt directed by Gianandrea Gavazzeni. In 1972 Gavazzeni himself directed The Puritans under the direction of Attilio Colonnello. In 1976 it was proposed in the first edition of the Zaira century with the reconstruction of Rubino Profeta with Renata Scotto and Giorgio Casellato Lamberti. In 1979 Anna Bolena of Donizetti with Katia Ricciarelli in her Catania debut and Verdi's Macbeth with Olivia Stapp and Kostas Paskalis.
In 1981 there was the premiere of Mario Zafred's Kean with Carlo Cava.
In 1986 the Massimo Bellini Theater became, with the law of the Sicilian Region, the Autonomous Regional Authority.
Rinaldo & C. di Azio Corghi premiered in 1997 with Valentina Valente, Carmela Remigio and Federica Bragaglia.
In 2002 the Sicilian Region started the transformation of the autonomous regional authority Massimo Bellini Theater into Foundation. In 2007 the Sicilian Regional Assembly brought the "Bellini" back to the Autonomous Regional Authority with a specific law.
The "Bellini" has an orchestra of 105 elements and a choir of 84 elements.
In April 2018 the Fe.Ba.Si. Regional Wind Orchestra she performed inside the Bellini, a unique event of its kind, as, for the first time in its history, a group of non-professional wind instruments held a concert inside the theater.
The tenor Beniamino Gigli proclaimed it the best theater room in the world for acoustics