Rome has a lively scene for those who love theatre and opera. From classical theatre pieces to ballet, from musical to opera compositions, the city offers a wide range of possibilities for entertainment, with her off-theatres or with her more institutional theatres.
Theatres and Operas in Rome
For classical music lovers, a special mention goes to the Auditorium, which hosts, among other things, also the prestigious music foundation and Institution of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia.
We have already mentioned the fact that as Rome has very friendly weather and some of the most superb sceneries in the world so, in the summer times her squares, her churches, and her archeological sites become the setting for some unforgettable performances under the stars, such as the Orchestra Sinfonica Nights at Massenzio or Baths of Caracalla.
Don’t Expect Gladiatorial Shows
It may be surprising to some tourists, but it’s worth noting that the Colosseum no longer offers gladiatorial shows, as they belonged to a bygone era. However, contemporary theatres in Rome offer various theatre shows and opera performances catering to multiple preferences. From timeless classics and Shakespearean masterpieces to groundbreaking experimental productions, there are abundant entertainment options for everyone to appreciate.
The City Often Turns Into an Open-Air Theatre
With its consistently pleasant weather throughout the year and warm summers, Rome embraces the magic of outdoor performances. The city’s numerous piazzas, historic ruins, and open-air arenas often transform into beautiful theatrical settings, adding a special touch to the experience. In summer, check the events organised during Estate Romana, including concerts, theatre performances, art exhibitions, film screenings, festivals, and various outdoor activities.
Don’t Overlook Smaller Venues
Rome has many well-established theatres, but beyond all that, the city boasts a vibrant community of local actors, directors, and musicians. This is precisely why smaller venues in Rome, like Salone Margherita, can offer intimate and heartfelt performances, creating a more personal and immersive experience for the audience.
Rome Has Its Own Opera House
With its 1600 seats, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is considered one of the main opera houses in Rome. Originally opened in November 1880 under the name Costanzi Theatre, it has since undergone several changes in looks and name.
Rome City Council bought the Costanzi Theater in 1926, when Italy was still a monarchy, and changed its name to Teatro Reale dell’Opera – Royal Opera House.
Teatro dell’Opera is what you’d expect from an opera house, and if you plan to visit, you should keep in mind its smart dress code. No shorts, t-shirts, or tank tops: have fun dressing up for your night out.
Auditorium Parco della Musica Offers Amazing Gigs All Year Round
The Auditorium Parco della Musica, known locally as the Auditorium, is more of a cultural powerhouse than a theatre. Designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano in 2002, it is located in the Parioli neighbourhood.
The complex has three concert halls and outdoor theatres, offering a lot of shows. Whether your preference lies in classical, jazz, or contemporary genres, there is likely a performance for you to enjoy. In addition to being an exceptional music venue, it showcases theatrical performances, dance shows, opera, film screenings, and cultural events.
Teatro Brancaccio Is the Theatre of Rome
Throughout its illustrious history, Teatro Brancaccio has played host to renowned international artists such as Louis Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix. Situated in the Esquilino neighbourhood, this grand theatre and cinema boasts a historic hall with over 1300 seats.
Since its inauguration in 1937, Teatro Brancaccio has continued to present a diverse range of theatrical plays, musicals, ballet performances, and concerts. Additionally, it offers entertaining shows for children and families and even features outdoor performances.
Teatro Valle is A Testament to Rome’s Art Community’s Resilience
The Teatro Valle is one of the oldest theatres in Rome. Built in 1726, more than one century before Italy became a unified nation, this historic venue has witnessed countless performances.
During the mid-19th century, the venue transitioned from hosting opera and theatre productions to exclusively focusing on spoken dramas. However, after its closure in 2010, a new chapter began for the theatre in June 2011 when a group of protesters, including actors, musicians, and creative staff, occupied the building. Although they weren’t hosting performances then, the theatre became a cultural hub and recording studio during COVID-19, providing a safe haven for theatre companies.
Teatro Sistina Had An Inclination Towards Cinema
The Teatro Sistina is just a short distance from the historic Piazza Barberini. It was inaugurated in 1949 and quickly became one of the city’s premier theatres. Despite early expectations of cinema-centric programming, the Teatro Sistina has embraced diverse shows, including theatrical productions, musicals, and comedy acts. And it has even been hailed as the “Italian answer to Broadway”.
The Auditorium Conciliazione is a Paradise for Audiophiles
The Auditorium Conciliazione provides the perfect setting for captivating musical performances, ranging from orchestral concerts to mesmerising operas near the iconic St. Peter’s Square. It hosts the highly esteemed David di Donatello, one of the most prestigious awards in Italian cinema. The Auditorium Conciliazione goes beyond entertainment, offering workshops and educational programs that foster artistic growth.
If You Love Shakespeare, the Silvano Toti Globe Theatre Roma is Your Place
The Silvano Toti Globe Theatre Roma is a charming open-air theatre situated in Rome’s picturesque Borghese Gardens, right to the Borghese Museum.
Constructed in 2003, it is a tribute to the iconic Globe Theatre in London and seeks to capture the enchanting ambiance of Shakespearean productions from yesteryears. The theatre’s repertoire predominantly features a diverse selection of Shakespearean classics and Elizabethan plays.
Beyond theatrical performances, the venue also hosts various cultural and educational events, offering an enriching experience for enthusiasts of Elizabethan theatre seeking to delve into the history and artistry of the era. Unfortunately, following an incident in 2022, the theatre is currently closed. However, there are hopes that it will reopen to the public in the future.
Rome Theatres Cater to Kids Too
When we think of theatre, we often picture elderly ladies with jewellery. However, theatre is an art form that people of all ages can enjoy, and Rome offers theatrical options specifically catered to kids.
One notable place is the San Carlino Gran Teatro Dei Piccoli, a small yet significant puppet theatre in the Trastevere neighbourhood.
Another longstanding theatre that holds a special place in my heart is Teatro Verde. I enjoyed attending a performance there during my primary school days. Established in 1986, Teatro Verde’s performances captivate the audience through a combination of techniques, including actors, puppets, clowns, juggling, and projections. These performances explore social themes, providing an engaging and thought-provoking experience.
Teatro Argentina Stands Where Julius Caesar Was Killed
The Teatro Argentina, inaugurated in 1732, has a fascinating history. The theatre stands on the site where the Curia Pompeii once stood, the very place where Julius Caesar was assassinated.
During the 1800s, Teatro Argentina gained renown as a prestigious venue for the celebrated Carnival of Rome, an eagerly anticipated event in the capital of the Papal State, reminiscent of Venice’s Carnival festivities. It hosted performances by distinguished artists such as Rossini, Cimarosa, Donizetti, Paganini, and Giuseppe Verdi.
Notably, the premiere of Verdi’s opera “La Battaglia di Legnano” sparked a surge of patriotic enthusiasm among the Roman audience, who used the occasion to express their protest against the oppression of the Papal State and the presence of the French.
Today, Teatro Argentina remains a prominent theatre in Rome, offering a diverse range of plays and ballet shows.