The Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele is an opera house and opera company located on the Piazza Verdi in Palermo, Sicily. It was dedicated to King Victor Emanuel II. It is the biggest in Italy, and one of the largest of Europe (the third after the Opéra National de Paris and the K. K. Hof-Opernhaus in Vienna ), renowned for its perfect acoustics. An international competition for the creation of the opera house was announced by the Palermo Council in 1864, primarily at the instigation of the mayor, Antonio Starrabba di Rudinì. For many years there had been talk of building a big new theatre in Palermo, worthy of the second biggest city in southern Italy (after Naples) and designed to promote the image of the city following the recent national unity. The opera house was designed and overseen by the very genial Italian architec tGiovan Battista Filippo Basile and, following his death in 1891, construction was then overseen by his highly artistic son, Architect Ernesto Basile. G. B. Filippo Basile was well known in Sicily also for his previous cathedral restoration design in the city of Acireale, as well as garden and villa designs in the city of Palermo and Caltagirone. In recent years, “charges of corruption and political meddling…along with budget deficits and heavy debts” have plagued the house, but, under its part-English music director, Jan Latham Koenig, it is reported that it is once again on track.
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