Massimo Bellini Theater in Catania
The Massimo Vincenzo Bellini Theater in Catania, which overlooks the square of the same name, was inaugurated on May 31, 1890 with the representation of Vincenzo Bellini's Norma.
The current building is the work of Carlo Sada. The style of the Catania theater is inspired by the French eclecticism of the second empire imposed on Paris by Charles Garnier with the Paris Opera. The façade of the Bellini Theater is full of ornaments and allegories; the entrance porch for the carriages is very elegant, closed by iron gates. The interior is characterized by a large hall, with excellent acoustics, with four tiers of boxes and the gallery. All around the spaces have been used to create elegant corridors, lounges and the foyer, inside which is a beautiful monument to Vincenzo Bellini. The ceiling frescoes are by Ernesto Bellandi; in 1883 the painter Giuseppe Sciuti painted an antependium that tells of a legendary victory of the Catania people over the Libyans. One of the major concerns of the Sada was to connect the theater building with the surrounding urban environment by creating two overpasses that weld the building to the two neighboring buildings.
Sada also thought of the monumental arrangement of the square, proportionate to the solemnity of the theater facade. At the center of the square he would have liked to place a large monument to Vicenzo Bellini, the same one that the Municipality had commissioned from the sculptor Monteverde, a monument which is today located in piazza Stesicoro.
The major opera artists sang at the Bellini, including Toti Dal Monte, Maria Caniglia, Magda Olivero, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Beniamino Gigli, Tito Schipa, Ebe Stignani, the divine Maria Callas, Mario Del Monaco, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballé.