Swan Lake Ch. Patrice Bart © Teatro di San Carlo


A short history of the classical companies in Italy

by Nicola Campanelli

In Italy, the so-called ‘Enti Lirici’, public opera institutions, were created in 1967 thanks to the Law no. 800 that establishes their significant importance in the cultural and social life of  the citizens.

In 1996 the Veltroni Law n. 367 transformed this institutions into private Opera-Symphonic foundations, creating a mixed public and private financing system. Even though the legal status of the theatres changed, unfortunately their economic situation got worse: from here onwards public funding was drastically reduced and private funding is not enough to support such large and complex theatres.

Opera di Roma, Nuit romaine, Ch. Angelin Preliocaj © Fabrizio Sansoni

Today in Italy there are fourteen Opera-Symphonic foundations, theatres of excellence for the country and for the world. Each one of them with its own orchestra and choir, but only four of them with ballet companies: Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and Teatro Massimo in Palermo.

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