Scoop! Italian opera house moves into sports stadium

Scoop! Italian opera house moves into sports stadium


norman lebrecht

July 16, 2020

The Teatro Comunale of Bologna today moved its operations into an acoustically customized basketball superdome, where is can acommodate an audience of about one thousand.

This may be the most important experiment for opera and concerts since Covid started.

And it has global implications. Why shouldn’t the Met take over Madison Square Garden?

Bologna’s head of culture Matteo Lepore says: ‘We brought the great acoustic chamber of the Teatro Comunale Bologna to the Palazzo dello Sport. The orchestra rehearsal has started.

‘If the results go well we plan to move the next season of the Municipal Theatre to our Madison in Piazza Azzarita. We can reach more than a thousand places safely. This is how we save culture and invent the future in #Bologna.’



  • Bologna is famous in Italy as the city of Basket and of course for the Teatro. We can trust the musicians of the Teatro if they think it’s a clever idea. But it would be strange for the great Respighi to know that in his city there’s this kind of things.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    This is a very good solution to attain ‘social distancing’ in the public. However, the performance can be deeply disturbed in case of rain noise on the roof.

    • In the 80’s Abbado played in a big sport arena in Milan when he was at La Scala. Barenboim did the same thing in Paris. It must be something transient but those small and narrow Italian theaters are not adpated to the situation. And the musicians need to work!

  • Karl says:

    That’s not going to sound good. I wish I could get frozen and thawed in a year or two when this pandemic ends.

  • operacentric says:

    When I went to Bayreuth in 2013, the orchestra, under Thielemann played a concert in a local basketball hall. Acoustic baffling was installed on the ceiling and back of the hall. While it was obviously still not an opera house acoustic, I found the sound perfectly acceptable and, if this means we can have a full concert under appropriate distancing conditions (compared to an audience of 200-300 as is currently being accommodated in some recent concerts in France and Germany), it can’t be a bad thing!

    Meanwhile, in the UK…