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Marrucino Theater • Chieti
The Marrucino Theater in Chieti is the most important and oldest theater in Abruzzo, the only one to have kept the original structure almost unchanged. Inaugurated in 1818 on a project by Eugenio Michitelli, recognized as a Theater of Tradition since 2003, it is managed by the municipal institution "Deputation Theater Marrucino Theater".


The only center of opera production in the region, the Marrucino produces three operas every year, collaborating with the most prestigious national opera institutions. It hosts a program in which, in addition to opera, music (symphonic, but not only), prose, children's theater and dialectal theater coexist and in which attention to the classics is combined with the promotion of contemporary artistic expressions.

The Marrucino Theater of Chieti, the fulcrum of Abruzzo's cultural life, was built over the years 1813 - 17 according to the project signed by the architect and engineer Eugenio Michitelli (Teramo 1771 - Naples 1826). He took the name of Real Teatro San Ferdinando, in honor of Ferdinand I of Bourbon, King of Naples and of the Two Sicilies, under whose sovereignty also Abruzzo, part of the Kingdom of Naples.

The new theater opened on 11 January 1818 with a sumptuous grand ball, and a few nights later the public inauguration took place with the Cinderella by Rossini, starting an activity that has now passed the milestone of two centuries. To remember, in the following season 1819, the staging of another Rossini masterpiece, The Barber of Seville, just three years after the world premiere.

With the advent of the unification of Italy, in June 1861 the theater of Chieti abandoned the Bourbon denomination, to take on the current name of Marrucino Theater, referring to the historical roots of the city - in fact recalls the ancient Italic population of the Marrucini, of Osco-Umbrian language, who lived in the pre-Roman city, Teate.

Given the growing importance of the theater over the years 1872-75 enlargement works were carried out, including the raising of the building for the construction of a further order of boxes and the enlargement of the stalls, made semicircular. Various decorative elements were added, including that of the vault, while the neoclassical facade did not undergo any alterations.

Over the years, the Marrucino Theater became a reference point for events and shows that have marked the cultural life of the entire regional territory, and have earned it a place even in the wider history of Italian theater. The Marrucino scenes were in fact trodden by many illustrious artists of the Italian cultural scene, including Eleonora Duse, Emma and Irma Gramatica for prose, Mattia Battistini, Maria Caniglia, Nicola Rossi Lemeni for opera, but also by people known to the wider public such as Cesco Baseggio, Nanda Primavera, Totò. Also memorable first from Abruzzo de "The Daughter of Iorio”, Staged in 1904 from Gabriele D'Annunzio a few months after the national debut.

The Marrucino Theater kept its tradition high until the Second World War, when a long decline began which led to its closure definitive, which took place in fifties of the twentieth century and which lasted until 1972 when was reopened after a major renovation. On 11 November of that year the Theater was returned to the city, starring the Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome directed by Pierluigi Urbini, who performed the overture of the Cinderella by Rossini.

Thus began the modern season of the Marrucino Theater, which boasts the presence of prominent names both in the musical and theatrical panorama, with Anna Moffo, Katia Ricciarelli, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Riccardo Muti, Vittorio Gassman, Carmelo Bene and many others.

Considered a point of reference for the whole of Abruzzo, the lyric billboard of the Chieti theater has always had great importance, which over the years has seen the representation of 190 operas, and is today the only pole of opera production in the region.

In 2003 Il Marrucino has obtained ministerial recognition as Theater of Tradition.

In 2021 the theater has undergone a significant redevelopment, aimed at conservation, safety, technological updating and above all at the widest accessibility and inclusive usability at every level. Reopened with a ceremony on 7 October 2021, the Marrucino re-inaugurated the activity in the following two evenings with The Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi directed by maestro Daniel Oren.

Still managed by Theater Deputation Marrucino Theater, today Municipal institution, the theater proposes a diversified cultural offer, with the aim of attracting the largest possible audiences. The billboard includes programming lyric, season concert, the prose, flanked by the children's theater is dialectal. The Theater also hosts pop music concerts, various kinds of shows, meetings and conferences.

Marrucino Theater • Chieti
The 'Marrucino'is not the first theater erected in Chieti: it was preceded by the so-called Old Theater, an eighteenth-century building attested from 1771, when Pasquale Anfossi's “Il geloso in cimento” was represented, but perhaps already built around the middle of the century. Due to the many transformations and the different uses to which it was used, the architectural details and the original dimensions of the theater are not known, but from a map for booking seats dating back to 1790, we know that it was equipped with three tiers of boxes, an audience and probably a gallery. Of the building, otherwise lost, the facade is still preserved, today the front of the Palazzetto dei Veneziani; the theater is also mentioned in the toponym, Largo del Teatro Vecchio.

As in many other Italian cities, at the beginning of the nineteenth century also Chieti began to feel the growing need for spaces capable of responding to the new needs of the staging, especially of the great operatic performances, and to offer greater capacity, adequate to the enlargement of the audience. The Decurionate - the representation of citizens who dealt with the municipal administration - of Chieti thus approved the construction of the new theater, which was erected on the area of the Church of S. Ignazio, which had already been deconsecrated for several years.


The interior of the Marrucino Theater presents itself today with thedecorative apparatus built in the 1870s, when the building was enlarged and renovated. To the new iconographic project by Luigi Samoggia dates the great wooden ceiling rose window, adorned with a garland of flowers and divided into eight sectors, in which the allegories of theatrical arts and music. The decoration is completed by circular medallions with a gold background, with the profiles of the great masters, Goldoni, Pergolesi, Shakespeare, Goethe, Paisiello, Alfieri, Rossini and Verdi.

In 1875 the sumptuous was created figured curtain, the work of the Neapolitan painter Giovanni Ponticelli (1829 - 1880), with the Triumph of Asinio Pollione, one of the most illustrious characters in the ancient history of Chieti, poet, leader, philosopher, who won a great victory over the Parthians and was known for having established the first public library in Rome.

Two are then placed in the atrium terracotta pages, the work of the sculptor Costantino Barbella (Chieti, 1852 - Rome, 1925), linked to the major Abruzzo artists of his time, Francesco Paolo Tosti, Gabriele d'Annunzio and Francesco Paolo Michetti.  
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