Tragedy: the music stops at Teatro Bellini

Tragedy: the music stops at Teatro Bellini


norman lebrecht

October 20, 2019

We hear that the Teatro Massimo Vincenzo Bellini in Catania has turned out the lights.

Apparently, the Sicilian regional government has not paid the last instalment of subsidy and no-one is getting paid.

Local reports say the theatre will be allowed to go bankrupt.

The government in Rome says it’s a local matter.

For shame.

Protests are mounting.


  • Olassus says:

    A “local matter”? This is the most beautiful theater in Italy!

  • Very sad. Their opera house, The Teatro Massimo Bellini, is in itself a world treasure. Hopefully this will be yet another case where the government comes to its senses after the usual theatrics.

    There are so many hidden treasures in Italy unknown to most of the world like this house and company. If they were allowed to become a bit more cosmopolitan, it would connect them much more strongly in the international community and help protect them. To understand how this works, they need only look to the houses in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

    • It is interesting that the company has recently established a Code of Ethics. It says that this has been done in part to insure that the company remains aligned with new standards of professionalism that are evolving in the international community. The code states that any sort of sexual harassment or discrimination will be “severely punished.” (“Sono punite severamente le molestie sessuali di qualsiasi tipo…”)

      The Italian houses are doing their part to remain part of the modern world. The government needs to do its part and make sure they have stable funding. What could be more important and central to Italian culture and identity than opera? Here’s a url with a link to the PDF of the code:

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Orwellian, and typical of the Left. They would have adored the USSR where there were ‘codes’ for everything!! At the moment these types of ‘codes’ are the ‘latency period’ for soviet authoritarianism.

      • Salvatore Marotta says:

        I do agree with you it is a shame for Sicily and Italians to neglect this beautiful opera house ,that I attended several times and because of lack of care ,it is going to be closed.Shame for Italians.

  • Maria Giovanna says:

    They should turn it into a refugee shelter‍♀️

  • Martinu says:

    Visited it and heard a concert by the orchestra some years ago – a most beautiful opera house. It should be saved, for sure!

  • Vance Koven says:

    Indeed ‘it’s true. I’m in Catania today and a banner hanging outside the building reads “Ins città sex’s Teatro & Musica è Ins città senna cultura.”

    How right they are.

  • Vance Koven says:

    Sorry for the auto-correct travesty on the quote. What it said was “una città senza teatro & musica è una città senza cultura.”

  • Ms.Melody says:

    I heard a wonderful La Favorite there in February of this year. They advertised a great season with opera, ballet and recitals by famous soloists. Nothing to indicate this catastrophe. I fervently hope this glorious theater can be saved. However, there are many beautiful baroque and Renaissance churches in Palermo that are literally falling apart in spite of efforts of various volunteer groups to save them. The ceilings are leaking and priceless frescoes are being ruined. Truly, a day of shame and mourning.
    Is there a website where one can donate?

  • Robin Worth says:

    How long was Palermo’s house dark? I think it was something approaching 20 years

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Last time I was in Italy, there were many old churches and civic buildings closed because they were falling apart and unsafe for occupation.
    The government simply has no money to fix them up, so they just sit there and deteriorate.
    It is a shameful situation, and I hope it doesn’t happen to the Teatro Massimo Vincenzo Bellini, but as the movie mobsters always say, with a palms-up shrug: “Whaddaya gonna do?”

  • Linda Roark-Strummer says:

    I sang there some years ago. I am sad to hear that a beautiful theater with such a history will close. Somehow it feels like a betrayal of all those who performed there over the centuries. Indeed of Bellini himself.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    The future of many opera houses in Italy (a country with the lowest birth rates & greying population) appears to be grim. Many of those gorgeous theatres may turn into museums, sharing a common destiny with Churches of Europe. At least La Scala is going strong. If England has one major opera house, it is not the end of the world for Italy to possess one international and several smaller companies.

  • V.Lind says:

    And Italy pretends to be a G-7 country…

  • A video showing the beauty of this precious house;

    And an appeal by the horn section to keep the opera house alive:

    Instead of letting the house die away, the government should be reviving and renovating the house which could increase Cantania’s profile in the international community, something the city very much needs.

  • Jack Ewing says:

    Gorgeous theater, so sad to see the European culture being destroyed by the usual international criminals. I say divert every penny from refugee (human scum) programs towards the restoration of every theater, every church, every historical building in Italy. These jewels were created by the genius of real Europeans of centuries past and must be preserved. And return every single illegal savage in Italy to whatever shythole country in Africa or Asia they escaped from while you’re at it.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Where did YOU come from, Jack? Mar-a-Lago?

      • Jack Ewing says:

        Where I come from is irrelevant, what matters is that I’m a supporter of the arts and not a financial burden to my country, my government or my fellow legal citizens. “Refugees” are a scam by the usual international criminals to drain European and American societies of their resources and to blend their populations. Refugees must be turned back or imprisioned in camps, where they should work for their food and and their survival, like the rest of us. There’s no free lunch.

        • HugoPreuss says:

          Too bad that it won’t be possible to ban you from every opera house in the world. Your lack of culture and common decency is staggering.

          • Jack Ewing says:

            How many refugees are you hosting in your home? If the the answer is zero, stfu. The civilized world has no obligation towards savages, savages belong in the jungle.