The 15 Most Famous Theaters in the World - Official Ranking

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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Neoclassical, modern or ancient: throughout history the creative mind of man gave birth to theaters of truly immense aesthetic and functional beauty, perfect for different types of representation and with aterrific acoustics.
Even with the limited technological means available at the time, the visual and auditory rendering of some theaters by now entered in history is unmatched compared to contemporary buildings ... and this says a lot about their greatness and the skill of the people who built them.
The greatest architects have tried their hand at the construction of theaters: we remember for example Antonio Bibiena, Andrea Palladio, Aldo Rossi, Giuseppe Piermarini, just to mention famous names of the theatrical architecture of our house.
Let's now see together the ranking of 15 most beautiful and important theaters in the world.

15 - San Carlo Theater, Naples

  • Capacity: 1.386 seats
  • Construction period: 1737

The San Carlo Theater in Naples is the oldest opera house in Europe still active. The initial capacity of around 3.300 people has been over the years reduced for safety reasons. The works were completed in 8 months and the theater was an inspiration for all subsequent European theaters.

14 - Margraves Opera House, Bayreuth - Germany

  • Capacity: 1.500 seats
  • Period of construction: from 1745 to 1750

Baroque theater inserted in 2012 in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. An excellent example of Baroque architecture of the century, the theater was often used by Wagner, who lived in Bayreuth from 1872 until 1883. The stalls, without armchairs, were reserved for dancing.
A curiosity: the original curtain was stolen by the Napoleonic troops passing through Bayreuth

13 - Opera House, Sydney - Australia

  • Capacity: 5.532 seats
  • Construction period: works started in 1959, inaugurated in 1973

Real icon not only of the city of Sydney but of the whole of Australia, is one of the most famous theaters on the planet, probably the most famous of all those in modern style. Since 2007 UNESCO World Heritage Site.

12 - Bolshoi Theater, Moscow - Russia

  • Capacity: 2.500 seats
  • Period of construction: Opened in 1856

For fans of classical ballet, the Bolschoi of Moscow it is a real cultural temple. Its notoriety is in fact due to the great tradition of its famous dance company, but this incredible public work is also a place for theatrical performances and operas.

11 - Opera House, Copenhagen - Denmark

  • Capacity: 1.703 seats
  • Period of construction: from 2001 to 2004

Among the most modern theaters in the world, its construction required a budget of approx 500 million dollars. It is located opposite the Amalienborg Palace, along the harbor shore, and it can also be reached by boat.

10 - Fox Theater, Detroit - USA

  • Capacity: 5.174 seats
  • Construction period: 1928

One of the 5 spectacular Fox theaters built by William Fox in the 20s, it has three levels of seating and was widely used for film broadcasting. THE'exterior of the building is spectacular: decorated with Asian motifs, it is visible for several blocks at night when illuminated.

9 - Estates Theater, Prague - Czech Republic

  • Capacity: 1.300
  • Period of construction: from 1781 to 1783

Historic Rococo theater, is one of the most beautiful and important in Europe. It boasts the premieres of some Mozart operas, or the Don Giovanni and the Clemenza di Tito, e in 1796 Beethoven also performed there. It is currently part of the National Theater.

8 - Metropolitan Opera House, New York - United States

  • Capacity: 3.800 seats
  • Period of construction: First version from 1880 to 1883 - rebuilt from 1963 to 1966

Located in Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Opera House it is the largest opera house in the world. It was built in 1883 by Cleaveland but was destroyed by a terrible fire. Between 1963 and 1966 it was renovated.

7 - Gran Teatro La Fenice, Venice - Italy

  • Capacity: 1.000 seats
  • Construction period: 1792

And let's go back to Italy to talk about one of the most beautiful theaters in the world: this is La Fenice in Venice, home of the before very important works by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi.

However, the theater also has an unfortunate history: twice destroyed by fires, was necessarily rebuilt and remodeled. The last reopening dates back to 2003.

6 - Royal Opera House, London - United Kingdom

  • Capacity: 2.256 seats
  • Construction period: 1732

Among the most important theaters in the world, he saw numerous performances by Hendel. The current building is the third in chronological order: the first two were destroyed by violent fires in 1808 and 1856. The theater is the seat of the Royal opera and Royal ballet.

5 - Vienna State Opera - Austria

  • Capacity: 1.709 seats
  • Construction period: 1861 - 1869

Considered one of the most beautiful and relevant theaters for the world of Opera, the Staatsoper of Vienna was built in the second half of the th century. after having launched a competition between the best architects in Europe: August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll won. The theater, equipped with a sumptuous staircase, was inaugurated with the Don Giovanni by Mozart. During the Second World War the Staatsoper was completely destroyed, and was reopened to the public in 1955.

4 - Opéra Garnier, Paris - France

  • Capacity: 1.900 seats
  • Period of construction: from 1861 to 1875

Elected a French historical monument, its construction was interrupted several times due to the discovery of numerous water galleries.

The style is that of the Second Empire, with an exceptional richness and beautiful exterior decorations. The big stage can host up to 450 artists.

3 - Teatro Massimo, Palermo - Italy

  • Capacity: 1.358 seats
  • Period of construction: from 1875 to 1891

This theater boasts the primacy of largest opera house in Italy, and it is also one of the largest in Europe. The building is truly monumental: over 7.700 square meters. The hall is structured in a horseshoe shape and houses 5 tiers of boxes.

2 - Teatro Alla Scala, Milan - Italy

  • Capacity: 2.030 seats
  • Period of construction: from 1776 to 1778

The Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, one of the best known and most important Italian theaters, and the main opera house in Milan: still today there are works and ballets among the most representative of international poster design. Made from Piermarini, over the years it underwent some renovations such as the much controversial construction project in the 2000s of the two "New Towers".

1 - Teatro Colòn, Buenos Aires - Argentina

  • Capacity: 2.487 seats
  • Period of construction: from 1889 to 1908

At the first position we find the Colón Theater in Buenos Aires, the most important in the world!
It is considered to all intents and purposes a real monument of theatrical and lyrical art and acoustically it is certainly the best ever.
The building extends over 8.200 square meters and is located near 9 de Julio Avenue, one of the widest avenues in the world.

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