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Piacenza, city of theatres

Piacenza

Theatres in Piacenza may be divided into two groups: teatro Municipale on the one hand, connected to the 19th century tradition of Melodrama; on the other hand, venues obtained from the several religious buildings in the city, desecrated churches, closed to the public mostly during the Napoleonic period, when convent orders were abolished. Today all these venues show the livelihood and interest of the city for drama, concerts, opera also offered to younger people by means of a constant relationship with schools.

- TEATRO DEI FILODRAMMATICI

In 1908 Società Filodrammatica Piacentina, an amateur actors' group, was given the one-nave church with a barrel vault which had once been part of Santa Franca nunnery, abolished under Napoleon’s rule. The engineer Giovanni Gazzola was appointed to transform the church into a small theatre; the Art Nouveau style, very fashionable at the beginning of the 20th century, influenced the whole project. The external, curved lines decorative pattern, known as butterfly wings, is also evident on the doors and wrought iron parts, namely the lamps with their strange snake-like tail, are in the same style. The interiors are more 19th century-like in style: delicate flower patterns go across the hall, from the proscenium arch to the ceiling. After several restoration works, the theatre reopened in 2000 and houses about 300 seats.

- TEATRO MUNICIPALE

Inaugurated in 1804, after only one year of building site, it represents the largest theatre in the city, with its 1124 seats, and was designed by the architect Lotario Tomba who built the theatre over a pre-existing noble palace. The façade, modified in the following years by Milano’s architect and scenographer Alessandro Sanquirico, reminds of the famous Lombard model of Teatro alla Scala. Piacenza theatre is characterized by boxes, still privately owned today, with an atmosphere rich in red velvet and sumptuous gilded decorations. The elliptical plan and wood transform the cavea into an exceptional sound box able to enhance drama, music and singing. To obtain more stage space, originally quite narrow given the limit imposed by the perimetral walls on which Tomba operated, the wide attic was transformed at the end of the seventies into and auditorium, known as Sala degli Scenografi (Scenographers’ Hall).

- TEATRO DEI TEATINI

The outstanding restoring works of the church belonging to the Order of Theatines dedicated to S. Vincenzo, built at the end of the 16th century, allowed for a grand reopening in 2009 of a modern auditorium with excellent acoustic. It can host about 150 spectators. The church offers an impressive decorative interior, all walls were fully covered by frescoes betweenthe 17th and the 19th century. A complex decorative plan with trompe-l'oeil frames on vaults and in the domes, the walls present pictures of saints, angels and prophets, scenes from the Bible and allegories, by renowned painters among which there were RobertoDe Longe and Giovanni Evangelista Draghi. The most interesting intervention that characterizes the church today – and its new use – is the wooden stage where once the main altar stood, protected by an innovative transparent acoustic chamber that turned Sala dei Teatini into a space specially designed for concerts and musical events.

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