The Real Teatro di San Carlo is an opera house in Naples, Italy. It is the oldest continuously active such venue in Europe and it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded by the Bourbon Charles VII of Naples (Carlo VII in Italian) of the Spanish branch of the dynasty, the theatre was inaugurated on 4 November 1737 — the king’s name day — with a performance of Domenico Sarro’s Achille in Sciro, an opera based on the play by the famous poet and dramatist who went by the name of Metastasio. Sarro also conducted the orchestra in two ballets as intermezzi, created by Grossatesta. At the time, it was the largest opera house in the world, seating 3,300. The theatre was designed by the architects Giovanni Antonio Medrano and Angelo Carasale for the monarch since Charles wanted to endow Naples with a new and larger theatre to replace the old and dilapidated Teatro San Bartolomeo of 1621.The new theatre was much admired for its architecture, its gold decorations, and the sumptuous blue upholstery (blue and gold being the official colours of the Bourbons).
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