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Teatro Malibran

Teatro Malibran

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The Teatro Malibran, formerly known as the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo
Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo
The Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, now known as the Teatro Malibran, is an opera house in Venice. Founded in 1678 by the Grimani family, it was founded primarily to provide entertainment for the aristocracy and to advance the social position of the Grimani family, and was not expected to be a...

, is an opera house
Opera house
An opera house is a theatre building used for opera performances that consists of a stage, an orchestra pit, audience seating, and backstage facilities for costumes and set building...

 in Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 known for its operatic importance in the 17th and 18th centuries. Richly decorated, the theatre consists of five levels of thirty boxes and a large stalls area.


Designed by Thomas Bezzi for the Grimani
The Grimani family were a prominent Venetian patrician family, including three Doges of Venice. They were active in trade, politics and later the ownership of theatres and opera-houses...

 family, the theatre was inaugurated during the 1678 carnival with Vespasiano by Carlo Pallavicino
Carlo Pallavicino
Carlo Pallavicino was an Italian composer.Pallavicino was born at Salò, Italy. From 1666 to 1673, he worked at the Dresden court, from 1674 to 1685, at the Ospedale degli Incurabili in Venice and further in Dresden...

. It became the biggest, most luxurious and extravagant stage in Venice, known for its sumptuous productions and high quality singers such as Margherita Durastanti
Margherita Durastanti
Margherita Durastanti was an Italian singer of the 18th century. Vocally, she is best described as a soprano, though later in her career her tessitura descended to that of a mezzo-soprano. First heard of professionally in Mantua in 1700-01, she later appeared in Bologna and Reggio Emilia , Milan...

, prima donna between 1709 and 1712. During its golden age composers such as Carlo Francesco Pollarolo
Carlo Francesco Pollarolo
Carlo Francesco Pollarolo was an Italian composer, chiefly of operas. Born into a musical family, he became the cathedral organist of his home town of Brescia. In the 1680s he began composing operas for performance in nearby Venice. He wrote a total of 85 of them as well as 13 oratorios...

, Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti was an Italian Baroque composer especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera. He was the father of two other composers, Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti.-Life:Scarlatti was born in...

 and Georg Friedrich Händel were active at the theatre.

During the 1730s, the San Giovanni Grisostomo began a slow and inexorable decline, although managing to keep its position at the head of Venetian theatres until the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1737, when Carlo Goldoni
Carlo Goldoni
Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni was an Italian playwright and librettist from the Republic of Venice. His works include some of Italy's most famous and best-loved plays. Audiences have admired the plays of Goldoni for their ingenious mix of wit and honesty...

 was placed in charge of the Venetian stage, prose works began to be performed (many of these his own comedies). Subsequently, because of its considerable size, the Grimani family decided to open a smaller theater in 1755, the San Benedetto
Teatro San Benedetto
The Teatro San Benedetto was a theatre in Venice, particularly prominent in the operatic life of the city in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It saw the premieres of over 140 operas, including Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri, and was the theatre of choice for the presentation of opera seria until...

. The opening of this new stage led to the end of the dominance of San Giovanni, which saw a slow decrease in performance.

Teatro Malibran

Following the French occupation of Venice, the theatre was among the few not to be closed. In 1819 it was sold to Gallo, who restored it in 1834; in 1837 he changed the name to Teatro Malibran, in honor of the famous singer Spanish mezzo-soprano Maria Malibran
Maria Malibran
The mezzo-soprano Maria Malibran , was one of the most famous opera singers of the 19th century. Malibran was known for her stormy personality and dramatic intensity, becoming a legendary figure after her death at age 28...

. In 1849 the return of the Austrians to Venice provoked the closure of all the major theatres of Venice as protest, with the exception of the Malibran.

After changing hands again in 1886, it reopened in 1913; after a single operatic season, it closed again due to security problems. Reopened in 1919, it was active in the showing of operas, operettas, and films for the first half of the century. In 1992 the municipality of Venice purchased the theater, which, after restoration and expansion, brought it back into use. Following the 1996 fire that destroyed the Teatro La Fenice, the Malibran was the temporary home to the Fenice orchestra.

The theatre was re-opened in 2001 by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

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