The Teatro Regio (Royal Theatre) in Turin: an avant-garde Savoy treasure
12 September 2022
A prestigious orchestra
An icon of Turin and one of the most famous theatres in Europe, the Teatro Regio hosts an outstanding opera and ballet season every year.
The Orchestra Teatro Regio di Torino is the jewel in the crown of the Turin institution, founded at the end of the 19th century by Arturo Toscanini, who conducted a long series of concerts and historic operas here, including the Italian premiere of Wagner's Götterdämmerung and Puccini's La bohème.
The Orchestra honours this legacy with tours around the world, from Japan to the United States, and by producing a plethora of records and video productions.
From its origins to the present day
Of the original building, commissioned by King Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy and created by architect Benedetto Alfieri, only the façade remains: imposing and stark like the city, in red brick and surmounted by semi-circular and triangular tympanums.
Inside, however, nothing remains of the 18th-century structure. It originally boasted an auditorium and five tiers of boxes, reaching an extraordinary capacity of 2,500 seats, but everything was destroyed by a fire.
Reconstruction started decades later in 1967 under the leadership of Carlo Mollino, who redesigned the theatre, giving it a brand-new identity.
Re-established and inaugurated in 1973, today the Teatro Regio of Torino flaunts a modern aesthetic, grand yet functional, fascinating not only for opera lovers but also for architecture enthusiasts.
You will be welcomed by a series of 12 crystal doors, the layout of which recalls a cello case. As you enter the large and bright foyer, you walk along suspended walkways.
The stalls resemble a half-open oyster and the imposing chandelier is not an antique, but rather a composition of 1,762 thin aluminium tubes and 1,900 reflective Perspex stems.
Once inside, you will feel as though you are inside a very modern sound cave with stalactites. Between acts, you can enjoy a drink at one of the two bars in the curved, perfectly symmetrical building.
If you don’t manage to buy tickets or are only passing through Turin, we recommend at least booking a guided tour inside the Teatro Regio, which includes a walk through the workshops, the tailor's, the dome and the stage.
With a stroke of luck, you will find yourself there in the middle of rehearsals.
Piazza Castello, a concentration of historical monuments
The Regio Theatre overlooks Piazza Castello, the heart of Turin's historic centre and part of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, from which the city's four main streets branch off.
An immense, square “agora”, bordered by porticoes, where you can enjoy a pleasant stroll surrounded by historical buildings: Madama Palace, the Royal Armoury, the stately palaces, one of which is the seat of the Piedmont Region, the Royal Church of Saint Lawrence, the Subalpine Gallery mall and the Torre Littoria high-rise building. In a few steps, you can visit the Piazzetta Reale and Royal Palace, followed by the Piazza San Giovanni with the Baptistery of St John.