Art, Theaters and Museums

Bari | Petruzzelli Theatre

The Petruzzelli Theatre is the maximum cultural container of the city of Bari and the fourth largest Italian theatre. Located in the city centre, it overlooks Corso Cavour; on its south wall ends Via De Giosa, behind the Palazzo dell’Acquedotto Pugliese. The history of the Petruzzelli Theatre in Bari began when Onofrio and Antonio Petruzzelli, merchants and shipowners of Trieste origin, presented the design of their brother-in-law’s theatre, the engineer from Bari Angelo Cicciomessere (later Messeni), at the municipal headquarters in Bari. The Petruzzelli’s proposal was accepted and in 1896 the contract between the family and the municipal administration was stipulated; the contract bears the date of 29 January 1896. Two years later, in October 1898, work began and was completed in 1903. The interior of the theatre was frescoed by Raffaele Armenise. Petruzzelli took away from Corato the supremacy of the greatest theatre of Apulia. The theatre was inaugurated on Saturday 14th February 1903 with Meyerbeer’s masterpiece, The Huguenots. In the eighties the theatre hosted two great "prime": that of Iphigenia in Tauride by Niccolò Piccinni, never performed again after its debut in Paris in 1779, and that of the Neapolitan version of I puritani by Bellini, written for Maria Malibran and never performed. The theatre projects the city into the world, making it famous. Alongside the opera, there are musicals, ballets and great concerts. Great international artists have taken the Petruzzelli stage: Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Nureyev, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli, Juliette Greco. And then great Italian artists: Eduardo De Filippo, Riccardo Muti, Carla Fracci, Luciano Pavarotti, Piero Cappuccilli, Giorgio Gaber. Petruzzelli also gave important concerts of light music to the people of Bari, hosting among others Paolo Conte, Ornella Vanoni and the Queen, and was the home of the music TV show Azzurro for almost all the 80s. The interior of the theatre has also been used as a set design by directors such as Franco Zeffirelli.

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