Teatro Petruzzelli
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The fourth largest opera house in Italy is shutting down its two largest productions of the season, according to a Newsweek report.

The fourth-largest opera house in Italy is the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy. Bari is a port city located at the top of the heel of the boot--facing Albania and Montenegro.

The Newsweek report is about two productions, Puccini’s Il Trittico and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, being canceled. The headline is “The Lights Go Out on Italy’s Fourth Largest Opera House.”

Interior of the Teatro Petruzzelli

What the article fails to mention is that there are two productions left at the Petruzzelli this season. Those productions are Nino Rota’s The Straw Hat of Florence and Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

The current Petruzzelli season began with Richard Strauss and his opera Elektra followed by La Traviata and Pagliacci. I’m not sure why Newsweek is reporting this as the house shutting down. It is not.

The article also uses a photo from Busseto, a 300-seat opera theater near Milan that is rarely used. I’m not sure what’s going on there.

It would be like writing about LA Opera, the fourth-largest opera house in the U. S., and using a picture of a theater in Tacoma, Washington.

The difference between northern and southern Italy is night and day. They almost consider themselves to be separate countries.

But, I digress — back to the Petruzzelli.

According to the Petruzzelli website, the productions were canceled in order to fund renovations to the theater.

However, it is true that the current financial state of Italy is crippling the current paradigm of opera in that country.

I’ve talked to a few singers who mentioned that they have had problems getting paid for the roles they have sung in Italy.

Opera is changing everywhere.

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monaghan Aug. 18, 2014 @ 11:59 a.m.

Bari is one of the poorest cities in Italy located in a very poor region. Even with State subsidies, it is no wonder that Opera there is suffering.

I recently heard from an American opera apprentice from Kansas that the best place to work in Europe today is Germany, where a singer is hired for an entire season and receives full benefits. Not one-gig-at-a-time beggars-can't-be-choosers American-style.


Garrett Harris Aug. 19, 2014 @ 10 a.m.

Yes, the German "fest" system is legit. There's been some conversation about adopting that system for San Diego Opera but I doubt it will get that much traction.


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