The San Carlo Theatre is one of the most gorgeous and glorious theatres in the world. It stands in the center of Naples next to the Royal Palace and Plebiscito square and has always attracted the lovers of classical music. It was founded in 1737, before the Scala theatre in Milan and the Fenice in Venice, according to the will of king Charles of Borbone as a sign of his power and was dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo, hence its name.
The theatre we see today is not the original one which was destroyed by a fire in less than an hour in 1816 and reconstructed soon after. It has hosted the works of the most famous composers of the past many of which presented for the first time and also the best singers not to forget the castrati singers in the 17th and 18th century.
They were male singers emasculated before puberty to keep their voices shrill. Composers as Bellini or Verdi, singers as Caruso, Callas, Pavarotti, conductors as Toscanini, Bernstein, Von Karajan, dancers as Rudolf Nureyev, Carla Fracci, Margot Fonteyn. But how to name everybody? In 1817 the great writer Stendhal wrote about the San Carlo theatre “The first impression is that you have been transported to the palace of an oriental emperor. Your eyes are dazzled your soul enraptured…” But it’s not only for the red velvet of the seats or the gold of the decorations that our eyes are dazzled and our souls enraptured, it’s because of the art we can breathe!