The Teatro Sociale is a vaunt for the town of Como for its remarkable historical and architectural value and for its excellent run also during summer.
Both for guided tours at the Theatre (reservation required) and shows you can benefit from the Welcomocard:
THE EARLY PROJECT
The Teatro Sociale was born in the year of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner’s birth (1813). In 1807 there were negotiations to acquire the area of Castello della Torre Rotonda, called ‘luogo delle rovine’ (ruins place), to build the new big Theatre of Como. The perimeter walls of the castle can be still seen and limit the theatre and the area of the arena. In 1811 the theatre construction works started and the project was assigned to architect Giuseppe Cusi. 28th August 1813 in the evening the curtain of the Teatro Sociale di Como raised for the first time.
Many interventions and restorations followed: 1838 extraordinary repairs, 1855 enlargement, 1864 gas, 1899 electricity. In 1855, the theatre was enlarged with 38 boxes: 12 thanks to the stalls enlargement, the others obtained from the existing fourth order. To build the fifth order, the gallery, they had to raise the building, giving up the original vault of 1813. It was attributed to Alessandro Fiori and represented Vittorio Alfieri’s coronation (poet from Asti), and all around him Bacchantes, chandeliers and festoons.
The actual painting on the roof vault, which represents the Muses who come down from the Olympus to crown the artists, is Eleuterio Pagliano’s work on the project of Gaetano Spelluzzi, made during the restoration works of 1855. In 1899, on the occasion of the centenarian of Alessandro Volta’s battery, the theatre was furnished with electricity. In 1909 the fourth order boxes were abolished to create a single gallery, to support the increasing request of common public. Today the room has a cello case shape, the walls have a wooden structure with 5 orders: 3 orders for the 72 private boxes, besides the royal box, and 2 orders for the galleries (4th and 5th order). The theatre has historical curtains by Alessandro Sanquirico, famous scene designer and painter of the first half of the 19th century, which represent Plinio il Vecchio’s death during the Vesuvius eruption of 79 d.C. In 1938, the Arena of the Teatro Sociale became an outdoor resident theatre, with a structure designed by Eng. Ponci, holding 4,000 people. Today the stage and the structures are neglected and the stalls are a discouraging parking.
With a programme agreement undersigned in 2005 by the Società dei Palchettisti (society of the owners of the boxes), AsLiCo, Regione Lombardia, Comune (the town) and Provincia di Como (provincial administration of Como), the Theatre has been carefully restored. The works included the stuccos, the vault, the stage and, recently, the complete change of the stalls chair.
The Teatro Sociale hosted the Teatro alla Scala after the 1943 bombing made the prestigious theatre unfit for use. Thanks to this coopertaion, the best artists of the period performed in Como. All the ‘bigs’ sang at the Sociale: Giuditta Pasta and Malibran, then, Tamagno, Gigli, Pertile, Schipa, Valletti, Merli, Galeffi, Filippeschi, Basiola, Del Monaco, Tagliabue, Pasero, Bechi, Poggi, Stabile, Bastianini, Dal Monte, Dalla Rizza, Adami Corradetti, Pacetti, Elmo, Simionato, Favero, Pagliughi, Cigna, Barbieri, Carosio, Caniglia, Zeani, Devia. Many orchestra leaders were here too, from Toscanini to Muti.
THE THEATRE TODAY
From 1st January 2002, the management of the plays and the whole theatre activity have been assigned to the AsLiCo (Concert Opera Association) of Milan. The Theatre, open more than 300 days a year, is the frenzied seat of many activities: besides the plays, dance and concert and opera seasons, the Theatre is full of theatre and dance schools (classical ballet, modern-jazz, flamenco) attended by children and kids of different age. For years part of the Circuito Lirico Lombardo (Lombard Association for opera), the Teatro Sociale di Como-AsLiCo has been a production theatre, with many music projects consolidated during years and addressed to every kind of audience and gathered in a wider Opera Education project: from Opera domani, born in 1996, that collects every year more than 2,500 teachers and 50,000 children, to Pocket Opera, to integrate the opera in small historical theatres of the region; from Opera Kids to Opera It (respectively for nursery schools and high schools) ; from the Contest for young opera singers, 62nd edition and 250 people registered, the new Contest of opera J composition and the Festival Como town of music, to extend the music activity during summer too. Last but not least, the Orchestra 1813’s birth in 2007, which has the name and the “age” of the theatre: a chamber music that takes part in the AsLiCo’s projects in the region and protagonist of the symphonic season of the Theatre. A hard-working smithy, in music and opera’s name, waiting to celebrate the bicentenary of the Teatro Sociale’s birth in 2013.
The Società dei Palchettisti, which has always supported the Theatre acitivities, is still the owner.
INFO For further information about the run of the Teatro Sociale — opera, ballets, concerts, plays for children, etc. - please check the website www.teatrosocialecomo.it
open from Tuesday to Friday, 13.00-18.00
tel. +39 031270170
fax +39 031271472