Are you on holiday in Genoa and want to visit the famous Carlo Felice theatre? Or are you a Genovese looking for information about the 2020 season, all the events and other useful information?
Either way, you’ve come to the right place.
If you don’t know me, I’ll introduce myself: I’m Andrea from DiscoverGenoa.com, and in this article I’ll tell you about one of the most famous theatres in Italy: the Carlo Felice in Genoa; you’ll discover all the events, the 2020 programme, how to get there, where to park, eat and sleep nearby.
Are you ready for this? Let’s get started!
Everything you need to know about the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa
If you intend to visit Genoa, I can advise you spend at least one evening of culture in the Carlo Felice Theatre, the best in the city and one of the best in Italy.
It is located near Piazza De Ferrari, a short distance from the fountain and the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi on horseback and hosts productions of the highest level.
It is the ideal place to spend a different and high-class evening, dedicated to symphonic music and opera.
The history of the Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa
The Carlo Felice Theatre was inaugurated on 7th April 1828, in the presence of the kings of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Carlo Felice and Queen Maria Cristina.
On that occasion, Vincenzo Bellini‘s opera ‘Bianca e Fernando‘ was performed.
The ambitious theatre project was intended to give the city an elegant artistic venue for melodrama (which was very fashionable at the time) that could compete with those of other important cities in Italy.
But why was it named Carlo Felice?
Legend has it that in Turin, the great Genoese musician Paganini refused to grant an encore to King Charles Felix of Sardinia and that, years later, the theatre was dedicated to the King, in the hope of appeasing his anger towards the city.
Truth or just legend? It’s not known.
The first version of the theatre was designed by Carlo Barabino.
During the Second World War, however, the original Carlo Felice was partially destroyed, so much so that the theatrical performances had to move to the nearby Cinema Teatro Margherita.
The new theatre, built on the area of the ancient theatre and reborn only in 1991, is characterized by a covered square of 400 square metres: an idea present in previous projects, which has been recovered.
In fact, the reason why the reconstruction of the theatre took place only in 1991, is that other competitions for the contract of the renovation works had not been successful: the first competition was already announced in 1946, won by Paolo Antonio Chessa, whose project, however, was eventually shelved.
In 1963 the great architect Carlo Scarpa was entrusted with the task, but he died in 1978 before even starting to implement the project.
And only later, in the ’80s, was a subsequent competition successful, and the theatre was rebuilt, but also drawing on some ideas of Chessa and Scarpa, including that of the square.
I mean, he wasted time, but not unnecessarily.
The columns, the Latin inscription and the terrace overlooking via XXV Aprile still remain of the old theatre.
The main hall of the Carlo Felice Theatre has 2,000 seats, a stage tower and four mobile stages.
It is a theatre with excellent acoustics and is technologically advanced.
Visit the Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa
A very interesting experience to get to know the theatre, not only from the point of view of the programme but also from the point of view of history, structure and architecture, can be taking part in a guided tour.
The theatre itself organises, on particular periods and days, guided tours also behind the scenes, sometimes aimed at a specific audience (such as students of architecture) and sometimes aimed at the general public.
During the year the Carlo Felice Theatre organizes real open days to freely visit the spaces of the theatre.
Great activities are also organised for children, who are often able to attend the rehearsals of the concerts of the Symphonic Season, interacting directly with the protagonists.
During some of these visits, the theatre allows you to attend the rehearsals of the concerts of the Symphonic Season or visit the scenes.
Sometimes there are even concert lessons and didactic workshops in equipment and tailoring and of course you can learn, thanks to a guide, the glorious history of the theatre that I summarized in this article in brief.
The 2020 Season of the Carlo Felice of Genoa
The 2020-2021 Season was presented on July 15th and includs eight operas, a ballet, a musical and fourteen concerts of symphonic music.
Let’s see them in detail.
The season will begin with ‘Il trovatore‘ by Giuseppe Verdi, directed by Marina Bianchi and conducted by Andrea Battistoni.
This is interesting because the same work, now in a new production, opened the first season of the new Carlo Felice Theatre in 1991.
From November 7th to 10th will be staged the musical ‘Aggiungi un posto a tavola‘ by Garinei and Giovannini, with music by Armando Trovajoli, while from December 13th to 29th will be the turn of the masterpiece ‘La bohème‘ by Giacomo Puccini.
From 19th to 22nd December, spectators will be delighted by ‘Cinderella‘ of the St. Petersburg ice ballet.
To open the season of the year 2020, there will be then ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’ by Gioachino Rossini.
In February, ‘Adriana Lecouvreur‘, an opera by Francesco Cilea and in March, ‘Un ballo in maschera‘ by Verdi will take place.
From 15th to 19th April, ‘Anna Bolena‘ by Gaetano Donizetti.
‘Turandot‘ di Puccini, in Giuliano Montaldo’s historic setting, will be back from 2nd to 10th May.
Finally, there will be ‘Manon Lescaut‘ (June 3rd to 10th), again by Puccini, directed by Davide Livermore and the soprano Maria Josè Siri.
Symphonic Season Concerts
The Symphonic Season will consist of 14 concerts, starting with the October 11th concert of Sergej Krylov, a great violinist and conductor who will interpret the violin concerto of Mendelssohn and will conduct the Theatre Orchestra in the symphony ‘From the New World‘ by Dvořák.
Then, the concerts of Niccolò Paganini, as part of the Paganini Genova Festival: on October 25th the violinist Mengla Huang will perform and on October 27th the conductor Alpesh Chauhan, with Francesca Dego will play the Cannone, the violin that belonged to Paganini.
On November 19th, instead, an intriguing combination of Andrea Battistoni, the Carlo Felice Theatre Orchestra and the Pat Metheny Trio
In the New Year’s concert, it will be the turn of the Janoska Ensemble, at 16:00 on January 1st.
On January 10th, Mariella Devia will play Britten’s ‘Les Illuminations‘, directed by Jonathan Webb.
The concert on January 31st will be dedicated to Tchaikovsky and will be conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev; the piano will be played by Ivan Bessonov.
On February 28th Andrea Battistoni will join the solo cellist Mischa Maisky in the famous concert of Dvořák.
On March 27th Hartmut Haenchen will conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
On April 3rd, in the Easter concert, spectators will be able to enjoy Fauré’s Requiem and Massenet’s Suite No. 4, with Andriy Yurkevych.
On May 8th, Daniel Oren will return to Genoa, with Gabriele Carcano at the piano soloist for the concert ‘Emperor‘ by Beethoven
Mahler’s ‘Das Lied von der Erde‘ can be enjoyed on May 15th, conducted by Hartmut Haenchen, and with Eve-Maud Hubeaux (mezzo-soprano) and Gregory Kunde (tenor) as soloists.
The last event of the Symphonic Season will be on June 5th with Andrea Battistoni.
The soloist will be the first flute of the Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice, Francesco Loi.
The exhibition will include pieces by Mascagni and Kachaturian, but also the first performance of a work by Battistoni himself, commissioned by the Teatro Carlo Felice, ‘Serenata per Baron Corvo‘.
The Christmas concert
For Christmas, Carlo Felice presents Puccini’s masterpiece, La Boheme (December 13th-29th), directed by Andrea Battistoni and is set in 19th century.
At the same time, the Carlo Felice also offers the magical ice ballet Cinderella (from 19th to 22nd December).
Composed in 1945 by Prokof’ev, ‘Cinderella‘ is an energetic and passionate ballet on ice of St. Petersburg, danced entirely on skates.
An elegant and exciting show, which promises a magical experience, following a Christmas theme.
The theatre ticket office, located in Galleria Cardinale Siri 6 in Genoa, is open from 11:00 to 18:00 from Tuesday to Friday, while on Saturday, it is open from 11:00 to 16:00.
It also opens one hour before the evening shows, while on the occasion of the Sunday afternoon show it opens two hours before and remains open until 15 minutes after the start of the show.
Tickets can also be purchased by phone, from Tuesday to Friday, from 14.00 to 17.00, by calling 010 5701650.
For online purchases, please contact the Vivaticket and Happyticket portals.
How to get to the Carlo Felice Theatre
Now that you know all about the Carlo Felice Theatre, you just have to understand one thing: how to get there.
Imagine starting from the central station of Genoa, located in Piazza Principe; from here there are several options.
If you leave from the central station of Piazza Principe you can also reach the theatre on foot, but only take this option if you enjoying walking: it will take about 23 minutes.
From Piazza Acquaverde, you have to walk along the beautiful Via Balbi, once you reach Piazza dell’Annunziata take Via Cairoli (which then becomes Via Garibaldi), then turn right and enter Via XXV Aprile.
Go along it for 180 metres, and you’ll have arrived at your destination.
Then we’d better walk with a navigator, or go there by other means.
For those who have the car it will take 12 minutes, starting from the station: take Via Andrea Doria in the direction of Via Alpini D’Italia, then take Via Antonio Gramsci, which continues in the Sottopasso di Caricamento and Galleria Giuseppe Garibaldi and take the road in the direction of Piazza del Portello.
Finally, take Piazza delle Fontane Marose in the direction of Via XXV Aprile, until you reach the theatre.
Here too, of course, the navigator can make a difference.
As for the parking lot, don’t worry, I’ll talk about this shortly.
Where to park near the Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa
Fortunately, the Carlo Felice Theatre also has two parking options very close to the theatre:
- Park Piccapietra, in Piazza Piccapietra, 58/A,
- Citypark, in Via Gabriele D’Annunzio 104.
These are two car parks (for a fee) designed specifically for theatre customers!
Go by public transport
Finally, the metro and tram are convenient options to reach the theatre from the station in just 10 minutes.
Just take the subway and get off at De Ferrari, then walk just a minute and reach the theatre.
Otherwise, you can take bus 606, get off at XX Settembre 1/DE Ferrari stop, and walk to the theatre (18 minutes in total, 2 of which are on foot).
Where to sleep near the Carlo Felice Genova Theatre
Fine, but where to stay?
If you are looking for a comfortable, elegant and modern accommodation near the theatre, I recommend the B&B Al Centro di Genova, a structure (with free parking) located about 200 metres from the theatre.
If you want to save money, OStellin Genova Hostel is located very close to the theatre, is very well-reviewed and has a modest price.
A very popular and interesting alternative in the area, is the Old Town Guest House, with a slightly higher price.
It looks more original and intriguing but always falls within budget options.
If you want to do things in style, the Hotel Bristol Palace is the right place for you: beautiful and elegant rooms, a refined restaurant and two bars, perfect to experience elegance not only in the theatre, but also in the accommodation. It is also very close to the theatre.
Do you want nice, elegant rooms, but want to spend a little less?
No problem: in this case, there is the Best Western Hotel Metropoli in Piazza Fontane Marose, about 200 metres from the theatre.
Where to eat near the Carlo Felice
Well, now that you have a roof over your head, you have to think about filling your stomach.
If you want to taste the local food, combining tradition, quality and simplicity, the ideal is the Trattoria Rosmarino, in the theatre area: a restaurant (one of my favorites) with an excellent quality/price ratio where you can drink some excellent wine and taste some excellent Ligurian food.
Very interesting also is Zupp Genova, an elegant place that, as the name suggests, offers excellent soups and is very well-reviewed.
Even more chic is the PEsciolino restaurant, with refined and good dishes, elegant cuisine and excellent service.
And now that you’ve satisfied your hunger, you just have to enjoy the rest of Genoa.
After all, after lunch, there is nothing better than a walk!
Well, we’ve come to the end of this long article on the Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa.
You’ve found out what the programme for the 2020/2021 season is, what the best shows and events are, how to get there, where to eat, sleep and park nearby.
If you need more information, leave a comment below, or read my article about what to visit in Genoa in one day.