Built thanks to the foresight of entrepreneur Domenico Costanzi, who wanted a theater for opera and ballet, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma stands on the area formerly occupied by the villa of Eliogabalo. It is also known as Teatro Costanzi.
Its construction was entrusted to the architect Achille Sfondrini who, specializing in the building and restoration of theaters, designed it in the neo-Renaissance style, very much in vogue at the time, thinking above all of the acoustic performance.
The Teatro Costanzi was inaugurated on 27 November 1880, with the performance of the Semiramide by Rossini and in the presence of the kings of Italy.
Initially, the Theater was arranged on three tiers of boxes surmounted by a gallery and was crowned by a dome decorated with splendid frescoes, the work of Annibale Brugnoli.
With a capacity of about 2200 seats, since its creation, the Costanzi hosted absolute premieres that later became very famous; these include La Cavalleria Rusticana (17 May 1890) and L’amico Fritz by Mascagni (31 October 1891), Tosca by Puccini (14 January 1900), and Le Maschere by Mascagni (17 January 1901).
After the brief but triumphant management by Enrico Costanzi, the son of the first owner, the Theater passed to the impresario Walter Mocchi, who, in 1912, entrusted the superintendence of the new Impresa Costanzi to his wife, Emma Carelli.
In 1926, Rome Municipality bought it and took it over: the Impresa Costanzi became the Teatro Reale dell’Opera (Royal Opera Theater). The renovation work was entrusted to the architect Marcello Piacentini who increased the three tiers of boxes by one and installed an extraordinary Murano crystal chandelier, now considered the largest in the world. The Theater was inaugurated again on 27 February 1928 with the representation of Nerone by Boito.
In the same year, the Ballet School of the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome was established; the first director for the female students was Ileana Leonidov, and Dmitri Rostov was the one for the male students. Since then, the Corps de Ballet of the Theater has only staged great successes thanks to its great directors and choreographers, including Aurel Millos, André Prokovski, Vladimir Vassiliev, Elisabetta Terabust, Carla Fracci, and Eleonora Abbagnato.
In 1956, Piacentini intervened for another extension and restoration intervention: he created a foyer for the boxes, office spaces, and a new facade in a 20th-century style; the works were completed in 1960.
With the advent of the Republic, the Theater acquired its definitive name of Teatro dell'Opera and, in 1958, underwent further renovation and modernization works.
In over a century of life, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma has seen its prestige grow exponentially and its prestigious aces have been trodden by the likes of Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Aureliano Pertile, Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Montserrat Caballé, Rajna Kabaivanska, Mario Del Monaco, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti, and by illustrious conductors such as Toscanini, Von Karajan, Abbado, Mehta, Maazel, Rostropovich, Sinopoli, and Riccardo Muti.
Absolutely not to be missed, the summer season, taking place among the magical, evocative ruins of the Baths of Caracalla.
The Baths of Caracalla
Museo Nazionale Romano – Baths of Diocletian
For opening times and visiting condition, please check the contacts.
To find out about all accessibility services, visit the Rome accessible section.