The history of the Teatro Petruzzelli of Bari begins when Onofrio and Antonio Petruzzelli, traders and ship builders of Trieste, presented the designs for the theatre drawn up by their brother-in-law, the engineer Angelo Bari Cicciomessere (then Messeni) to the city of Bari. The proposal for building the Petruzzelli was accepted and, on 29 January 1896, a contract was signed between the family and the city administration. Two years later, in October 1898, work began and it ended in 1903.
The interior of the theatre was painted by Raffaele Armenise. On completion the Teatro Petruzzelli overtook the Teatro Comunale of Corato as the largest theatre of Apulia. The theatre was inaugurated on Saturday, 14 February 1903 with Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots.
The Petruzzelli Theatre is one of the grandest opera houses in Italy after La Scala in Milan and the San Carlo Theatre in Naples. Host to many famous opera and ballet greats throughout the 20th century. During the night of 26 and 27 October 1991 the theatre was completely destroyed by fire, the result of arson. The last opera presented was Norma. On 6 December 2009, after 18 years, the first opera season in the re-built theatre began with Turandot by Giacomo Puccini, directed by Roberto De Simone, the orchestral under the direction of Maestro Renato Palumbo.
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