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Social Theater • Rovigo
The Social Theater of Rovigo, built between 1817 and 1819 on a design by Sante Baseggio, destroyed by a fire in 1902, was rebuilt on a design by Daniele Donghi and re-inaugurated in 1904. Taken over in 1964 by the Municipality of Rovigo which manages it all now, the Social has been included among the Theaters of Tradition since 1967.


The Municipality of Rovigo, through the Culture Offices, manages all the activities that are carried out and represented at the Theater, including opera season, drama season, ballet, performances reviews and meetings with artists of various kinds, classical music concerts in the period Christmas, experimental performances, organization of theatrical workshops with the involvement of schools.

Other rooms or locations

Sala del Ridotto - The Ridotto, which came out unscathed from the fire of 1902, has a capacity of 99 seats and is home to conferences, jazz and chamber concerts, workshops and shows for school children.

The Social Theater of Rovigo, part of the vast network of theaters founded in 19th century Italy, was born as in other places, from a need strongly felt by the city community: to have a modern theater, with large spaces, commensurate with the scenic needs of fashionable melodramas and to the convenience of the spectators, and with an adequate capacity for the constantly increasing public.

When the project came to fruition in 1816, Rovigo boasted a consolidated theatrical tradition for over a century: already in 1694 on the initiative of Celio Campagnella had been built on first theater in the city, but still earlier, is the first attestation of an operatic performance from Rovigo, dating back to 1683, With the'Alcinoo and the scorned peril, staged in the Loggia dei Notari (now the Town Hall).

The opera house met enormous success - despite the smallness of the population and resources - so much so that it quickly led to the programming of three show seasons a year, the most important of which was held in autumn, coinciding with the fair.

A few years after the opening of the Campagnella Theater, the count Marco Antonio Manfredini he had a second larger theater built, the Manfredini Theater, which later changed ownership and name twice: it belonged to two important noble families, first ai Venezze and subsequently ai Roncale, who renewed the structure, which remained active until the first decades of the nineteenth century and finally demolished in 1851.

Considering that ancient theater by now insufficient with respect to the changed needs of the city, the decision was made to build a new one. There Theater Society established for the purpose in 1816, identified the most suitable area in the place where until 1809 the small convent of S. Maria dei Battuti stood, demolished following the Napoleonic suppression - the new theater would thus overlook a square, since the church of S. Giustina it had been shot down.

For the project, the associates turned to Sante Baseggio, architect from Rovigo belonging to a family of artists, expert in the field of theatrical design, having restored the Roncale Theater and participated in the competition for the Fenice in Venice with a project which, although not winning, was among the most popular. Baseggio elaborated two drawings, the second of which was approved, and the building was swiftly erected between 1817 and 1819.

The new Theater of the Society, as it was originally called, opened to the public on the evening of March 3, 1819 with "The shadow of Phaeton, or rather the homage of Rovigo's gratitude”By Sante Campioni, on the occasion of the visit to Rovigo by Francis I of Habsburg, who however did not attend the event.

L'inauguration officer was held on April 26, 1819, at the start of the first season of performances, with the opera "Adelaide of Burgundy”, Written for the occasion by Pietro Generali (Masserano, Biella 1773 - Novara 1832), composer at the time very successful both in Italy and abroad, and interpreted by three of the most famous singers of the moment, Violante Camporesi, Claudio Bonoldi and Giuseppe Fioravanti.

The Social Theater came restored for the first time in 1858, under the chairmanship of cav. Antonio Gobbatti; the works involved the entire building, the stage, the decorations of the hall, the heating and the introduction of gas lighting.

In the night between 21 and 22 January 1902, a terrible fire he destroyed the beautiful Baseggio room, built mainly in wood for acoustic purposes. Only the façade, which remained almost intact, and the foyer were saved.

The theater was rebuilt in the space of two years, according to the technically avant-garde project of the Milanese engineer Daniele Donghi, winner of the competition. It kept the front part of the previous building, with the neoclassical facade and the sumptuous richly decorated hall. The room, rebuilt on the foundations of the destroyed one, presented an absolute novelty: Donghi was the first to use the reinforced concrete for the construction of a theater, with excellent results in terms of acoustics and fire safety.

The pictorial decoration of the interiors, entrusted to the Paduan, was also innovative Giovanni Vianello (1873 - 1926), who created it with a delicate liberty taste. In the central part of the ceiling the nine muses chasing and crowning various putti are depicted, while on the parapets of the boxes of the first order are portraits of famous artists, including Goldoni, Metastasio, Alfieri, Mercadante, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Mascagni .

The new building of the Social Theater was inaugurated on 12 October 1904 with a memorable evening, which he saw Pietro Mascagni to the direction of his symbolist work "Iris".

Resuming its activity, the Rovigo Theater maintained its prestige, despite facing moments of serious crisis. The scarce financial resources did not always allow the writing of established performers, committing the organizers to identify promising young artists, sometimes with sensational results: the Sociale can boast of having baptized two of the greatest singers of the last century, Beniamino Gigli is Renata Tebaldi. Among the other names who trod the stage in Rovigo, which later became famous, a young woman Maria Callas in 1948, which arrived in Italy only the year before, e Luciano Pavarotti at the beginning (1962).

Over the years the staging of the shows became more and more demanding and burdensome, such as to require public intervention to guarantee dignified achievements. The Social Theater in 1964 it was therefore taken over by Municipality of Rovigo, who oversaw the radical restoration and since then has been directly managing it, entrusted to the Department of Culture and Entertainment.

In 1967 the Social Theater of Rovigo was included in the restricted group of Traditional theaters of ministerial recognition.

Social Theater • Rovigo
Author: Uber Bertiè
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