Built under Duchess Maria Luigia of Habsburg-Lorraine, wife of Napoleon and Governor of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, and originally called Nuovo Teatro Ducale, the Teatro Regio di Parma inaugurated on May 16, 1829 with the opera Zaira, composed for the occasion by Vincenzo Bellini.
Designed in neoclassical style on a project by architect Nicolò Bettoli, in the typical “giallo Parma” colour, its imposing facade is marked by an ionic granite colonnade surmounted by five gabled windows, above which a large semi circular thermal window is surrounded by the profiles of two Fame, handing laurel wreaths in flight. Higher up, in the centre of the tympanum, Apollo’s Lyre is surrounded by the masks of Comedy and Tragedy. The elegance of the inside stuccos, its perfect acoustics and prestigious history, together with the charm of the city in which it is located, so closely linked to Giuseppe Verdi, Arturo Toscanini and Niccolò Paganini, explain the world renown of the Teatro Regio di Parma; a heritage of absolute value amongst the world most famous opera houses.
The very heart of the Theatre, the Sala, with its typical horseshoe shape, enchants with its perfect proportions and decorations.
The original neoclassical décor, in the ducal shades of blue, was renewed in 1853 by the will of Charles III of Bourbon, succeeded by Maria Luigia, who dressed the interiors according to the typical taste of the time, with burgundy velvets and upholstery, entrusting the decoration to Girolamo Magnani, Giuseppe Verdi's favourite scenographer, who conceived gilded decorations and stuccos, thus giving the Theatre - from 1848 called Regio - a neo-Renaissance style.
Dominated by the Ducal crown, the Ducal Box, now called Royal Box, was accessible to Maria Luigia only, directly from the Ducal Palace, through a special and invisible passage.
The Retropalchi, half of which still belong to the boxes owners who contributed to the construction of the Theatre, perpetuate the tradition of tasting the food and wine delicacies that constitute the excellence of the city of Parma, UNESCO creative city for gastronomy.
The Teatro Regio di Parma promotes the art and culture of live performance, the professional training of artistic and technical managers and musical education, in order to preserve and enhance the priceless historical-cultural heritage of Opera, in particular, but also dance and music in general. It produces an Opera Season, which takes place from January to May, offering works from the great repertoire as well as less known titles; the Concert Season, hosting soloists and chamber ensembles of international renown; ParmaDanza, which hosts étoiles and international stars, coming from a diversity of dance traditions; RegioYoung, a theatre, educational and entertainment season designed specifically for children, teenagers, students and teachers, with workshops and lessons in preparation for shows and a new opera production, commissioned each year to a composer and staged by an internationally renowned creative team.
Around October 10, the birth date of Giuseppe Verdi, every year since 2001, the Teatro Regio di Parma produces the Festival Verdi, which represents the biggest productive effort of the Theatre, awarded as Best Festival at the International Opera Awards, which brings to Parma and Busseto, Giuseppe Verdi’s hometown, the greatest interpreters of Verdi's repertoire. Operas, concerts, meetings, new site-specific installations, in different theatres and on different stages, first-rate commissions, innovative, new scene and original productions, shows for the younger and for new audiences, where the music of Verdi meets contemporary languages and research: the Festival Verdi in recent years has achieved great results in terms of attendance and revealed a strong international vocation.
The Festival rich program was expanded in 2016 by Verdi Off, a free admission series of over a hundred events aimed at stimulating and sharing the passion for Verdi’s music, in a festive atmosphere that embraces Parma’s and its surroundings, addressing citizens and visitors, families, young people and children, hospices and hospital patients, prisoners.
Scenes, costumes and stage devices of over forty opera productions, created in the last thirty years by the workers of the Teatro Regio di Parma, and designed by the most famous directors, costume and set designers, take shape in the over 7200 square meters of the set design and tailoring ateliers of the theatre, from which they also fly off to the world most renowned theatres on the occasion of the staging of the historical productions for rent.
Officially recognized as a Training Institution of the entertainment industry by the Emilia-Romagna Region, the Regio has launched an articulated education project, culminating in 2020 with the foundation of the Academy of the Teatro Regio di Parma, inaugurated by the Tailoring Program, which aims at the training of highly skilled professionals for the entire show business industry, including music, theatre, cinema, fashion, advertising. The Theatre has founded and houses the Accademia Verdiana, dedicated to Verdi's vocal repertoire, which students face at the highest levels thanks to the tutoring of artists and vocal coaches that are considered the experts in such repertoire. In collaboration with the City of Busseto, it also organizes the Concorso Internazionale Voci Verdiane Città di Busseto.