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Malibran Theatre in Venice
Teatro Malibran
Teatro Malibran, Venice

Inaugurated during the Carnival of 1678 as Teatro San Giovanni Crisostomo it was immediately judged as the best theater in Venice (1683). Designer was Tommaso Bezzi, called the Stucchino for its qualities as a painter and engineer, whom Grimani, owners of many theaters in town, gave an area located between the church of St. John Chrysostom and the Court of Milion where once stood the home of the Polo family.
The seventeenth-century in Venice was characterized by a proliferation of theaters due to the opening to the people of a kind that was first played for the sole benefit of the aristocracy: opera.

Despite this cultural policy of the city Teatro Malibran kept the costs entry selecting thereby its public and becoming the favourite meeting place of Venetian aristocracy and foreign arrival in Venice. On its stage passed singers like of Farinelli, Caffarelli and Tolve and were performed works by Metastasio (Syrian), Zeno and Goldoni.
With the fall of the Republic (1797) Theatre was managed by the municipality suffering a difficult period also highlighted by a ministerial decree of the Italian kingdom the limited to four the number of theaters opened in the city: the Phoenix, the San Benedetto, San Moisè and Malibran.

Perhaps this led the Grimani to bow out in favor of Louis Facchini and Giovanni Gallo who acquired the San Benedetto and the Malibran inaugurating a the course with the representation of the Gazza Ladra by Rossini. Subsequently it was also decided a restoration of the building that led to a new opening with The Elixir of Love by Donizetti.
Became the only owner of the theater Gallo (1835) managed to engage the most famous singer Maria Garcia who sang for free and received for this by Gallo the privilege to name the theater. 1844 saw the arrival of another owner who brought changes both in programming, including many operas, and interior aspect modifying the decoration and lights.
After the dark years of Austrian domination which saw the theatres closed in protest Malibran was reopened with the representation of a mass by Verdi only in 1875.

Teatro Malibran
Facade of Malibran Theatre, Venice
Malibran theater in 1886 was auctioned and acquired by Francesca Baldanello, Emeric Merkel and Joseph Patrick who, through his heirs, retained the property until a few years ago.
In 1890 the new Malibran was opened again but urgent problems of stability of the building led to the decision to undertake a complete redesign that was given to the project of engineer Mauro Felice Donghi.
After the obvious break due to the outbreak of the First World War the Malibran was inaugurated in 1919 with a performance of Otello by Verdi. Throughout the twentieth century programmation of Malibran continued without interruption and turned to the evolution of theater shows including dancing (Carolyn Carlson, Pina Bausch).

In 1992, the Malibran was purchased by the City of Venice that planned the restoration of some parts of the building and its interior but the fire of the Teatro La Fenice and the urgency to move to the Malibran part of its planning led to a change of original project. Nevertheless facilities were modernized and was enlarged the space for the orchestra.
The foundation works to build a tank against high water also brought to light Roman ruins dating back to the fifth century AD interpreted as landing points, which already may rewrite the history of the Rialto area after the fall of the Roman Empire.

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Malibran Theatre

 

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