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date: 23 January 2020


  • Pierfranco Moliterni


City in Apulia, southern Italy. Despite the many musical associations of the region, Bari had no real theatre until the mid- 19th century. From 1815 to 1835 the Teatro del Sedile, the only building capable of holding even 250 people, presented recitals, concerts, drama and opera. Between 1840 and the opening of the multi-purpose Teatro Comunale Piccinni (on corso Ferdinando, later corso Vittorio Emanuele) the temporary site of the Circo Olimpico was used.

The series of theatres opened over a 60-year period – the Piccinni in 1854, the Petruzzelli in 1903 and the Margherita in 1914 – reflected the social and economic development of the city. (Apulia, and Bari as its chief town, were always important components of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies.) The architect chosen was Antonio Niccolini from Naples, considered with Alessandro Sanquirico to be the father of Italian scene-painting and renowned internationally for his restoration of the S Carlo opera house and his studies on theatre acoustics. The Piccinni (named after the composer, a native of Bari) was the only ‘teatro di pianta’ he designed; its horseshoe plan had 312 stalls seats and 64 boxes (the capacity eventually reached ...

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