The Teatro Carignano is one of the most outstanding examples of a theatre in the Italian style. It is also one of the landmarks of the City. The origins of the theatre date back to the late 16th century when an imposing project was developed to transform and expand Torino: the House of Savoy needed to affirm the town’s status as a modern capital city, emancipating it once and for all from its constricted city plan and plain architecture, which had been criticised, among others by Montaigne. The ascent to the throne of Vittorio Amedeo II /Victor Amadeus II in 1684, and his subsequent nomination as king of Sicily, coincided with the appearance of Filippo Juvarra, and the unprecedented urban spaciousness with which he endowed the palazzi and streets of the city. Benedetto Alfieri, one of his followers and the uncle of Vittorio Alfieri, further developed his vision for the renewal of the city centre, with a grandiose project that also comprised many venues associated with the sovereign’s pastimes and those of his nobility. The Teatro Carignano is one of such venues. In 1740 prince Vittorio Amedeo II /Victor Amadeus II adapted the 17th century hall, known as the Trincotto Rosso, for use as a theatre with the creation of 56 spectator boxes. The building had previously been used for the game known as “pallacorda” (real tennis). It was only in 1727, when ownership of the building passed to the Società dei Cavalieri, that the location was also used for drama, singing and ballet performances.
During the 1752-1753 season, at the request of of Prince Luigi Vittorio di Carignano/Prince Louis Victor of Carignano, the royal architect Alfieri rebuilt the theatre from its foundations up, using a downscaled plan of the Teatro Regio. By Easter 1753 the theatre was inaugurated with a performance of “La Calamita de’ Cuori” (Magnet of Hearts) by Carlo Goldoni, with music by Baldassarre Galluppi. Following a fire that broke out on February 16th, 1786 the theatre had to be rebuilt again to a design by Gian Battista Ferroggio, which included four tiers of boxes.
Once the theatre became the property of the City of Torino in 1870, it was redeveloped by architect Carrera. He closed the portico with a mezzanine to create office space, and transformed the fourth tier of boxes into a gallery. In the basement area he also created a space that initially was used as a beer hall and then (1903) became one of the city’s first cinema halls. The City of Torino acquired full ownership of the building in 1977 and turned its management over to the Teatro Stabile di Torino,
More recently, extensive renovation work started In the Spring of 2007 and was completed in 2009. The original theatre entrances were restored, the earlier basement beer hall became the foyer, and furnishings, theatre and stage equipment were refurbished. The Teatro Carignano is currently one of the most advanced, live-performance, historic theatres nation-wide.
Countless actors, directors and playwrights have appeared at the Teatro Carignano and, dating as far back as Carlo Goldoni, they are all part of its history. It was at the Carignano in 1762 that Vittorio Alfieri, aged thirteen, saw his first play and it was also at the Carignano that his first tragedy made its debut in June 1775. During the Restauration years, from 1821 to 1855, the Carignano became the official seat of the Compagnia Reale Sarda (Royal Sardinian Company), a company modelled after the Comédie Française, and considered to be the most illustrious precursor of modern “teatri Stabili”.
The Carignano opened the 20th century with a plethora of debut performances, including Il Matrimonio di Casanova (Casanova’s Wedding) by Renato Simoni (1910), Il Ferro (The Iron) by Gabriele D’Annunzio (1914), Le Nozze dei Centauri (The Wedding of the Centaurs) by Sem Benelli (1915) and most importantly, Il piacere dell’onestà (The Pleasure of Honesty) by an emerging newcomer, Luigi Pirandello. During those years, Antonio Gramsci and Piero Gobetti attended performances as young theatre critics. Ever since 1961 this historic, 18th century theatre has hosted the main productions of the Teatro Stabile di Torino.
The list of artists who have performed at the Piazza Carignano theatre is practically endless and includes all the main Italian stage performers: Memo Benassi, Emma Gramatica, Paola Borboni, Renzo Ricci, Eva Magni, Sergio Tòfano, Vittorio Gassman, Laura Adani, Rina Morelli, Paolo Stoppa, Eduardo De Filippo, Dario Fo, Tino Buazzelli, Turi Ferro, Romolo Valli, Rossella Falk, Valeria Moriconi, Marisa Fabbri, Mariangela Melato, Paolo Poli, Glauco Mauri, Gianrico Tedeschi, Roberto Sturno, Franca Valeri, Eros Pagni, Umberto Orsini, Sandro Lombardi, Filippo Timi, Gabriele Lavia, Carlo Cecchi, Renato Carpentieri, Giuseppe Battiston, Massimo Popolizio, Luigi Lo Cascio, Franco Branciaroli, Laura Curino, Iaia Forte, Maria Paiato, Leo Gullotta, Toni Servillo, Carlo Giuffrè, Franca Nuti, Giancarlo Dettori. A memorable event took place at the Carignano in 2007 when Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, on the occasion of one of his last public appearances, was awarded the Premio Europa per il Teatro (Europe Theatre Prize) before a packed and deeply touched audience.
Teatro Carignano | Piazza Carignano, 6 – Torino
Lines 55 – 56 – 13 – 15 / bus stop Piazza Castello
72 – 72/ – 58 – 4 – 11 / bus stop Piazza Bertola