project: 1737 / Archt. Giovanni Antonio Medrano
renovation works: 1997
capacity: 3000 seats
The Real Teatro di San Carlo, is one of the most famous theatres in the world. It is the largest theatre in Italy and is also the oldest working operatic theatre in Europe. The theatre is horseshoe shaped with five tiers of boxes, and a generous royal box.
Between 2008 and 2009, the theatre underwent renovation works in order to develop the potential of the structure, creating new rehearsal rooms, introducing technological innovations to the scenic machinery, improving the artistic and technical working areas, and generally restoring the aesthetic nature thanks to the conservative restoration of this World Heritage monument.
A new spacious entrance hall has been constructed underneath the stalls to offer the best possible welcome to visitors: the new Foyer offers a public bar and a bookshop. The original Foyer was and still is the main venue for meetings and parties: after its restoration, it now boasts air conditioning and disabled access, like the rest of the theatre.
TMA produced the furnishings of the bar and the dressing rooms, and also managed the restoration of the Theatre’s antique furniture; in addition, TMA refurbished the upholstery of the boxes, while striving to preserve the forms and richness of the materials by integrating modern innovations guaranteed by the use of new construction technologies. Today the antique red velvet paper that was once imported from France is now a synthetic fabric, as required by current regulations, however its design and background are woven and worked by traditional master craftsmen. In fact, it is a copy of a fabric by Niccolini preserved in Capodimonte, that was created especially and exclusively for the San Carlo Theatre.
TMA produced and supplied the front of house seating, designed and created according to a faithful re production of the original seats with particular attention to the acoustics that were fine tuned thanks to consultancy services provided by the studio Müller of Munich.
In 1997, TMA crafted the new curtain on the basis of a design by the set designer Professor Mauro Carosi. The Curtain is 18 metres high and 12 metres wide. The exquisite braiding that reaches 1.50 metres high was produced entirely by hand. 300 lilies and 200 buttons were applied for the finishing. The red colour dates back to the modernization project carried out in 1844 by Antonio Niccolini, “decorative architect of ‘royal theatres’”. Before this time, the dominant colour of the auditorium was pale blue. Furthermore, TMA has recovered and restored the original coat of arms of the theatre, which has now been repositioned in front of the harlequin design.