Erected between 1843 and 1856 the Amintore Galli Theatre was inaugurated in 1857 with the first performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aroldo.
Originally it was called "Teatro Nuovo" (the New Theatre) and it changed its name in 1859 to Teatro Vittorio Emanuele II. Only later, in 1947, was it dedicated to the composer Amintore Galli (1845-1919).
The project (1841-43) was signed by Luigi Poletti, who was an architect and engineer of the Papal States. The six original tables of the project, which he submitted on 29th January 1842 in Rimini, were lost during the earthquake 1916. However, there are 6 photographs (by Luigi Perilli) dating back to 1900 and five watercolor drawings of the original design.
Luigi Poletti designed the Municipal Theatre of Rimini as a temple of music. He was inspired by the solemnity and magnificence of Roman temples and proposed an innovative style; a monumental building in classic architecture (Greek-Roman), which distinguished the theatre from other theatres in Europe in that period. The auditorium with the stage and the gallery contained more than a thousand seats.
On March 17th, 1843, the work was delivered to the Riminese contractor Pietro Bellini. The Amintore Galli Theater was constructed between 1843 and 1856 with the intention of completing and harmonizing the vision of the Piazza della Fontana (now Piazza Cavour) and to enhance the view for those out strolling as they arrived from Corso d’Augusto. Poletti employed the best workers for the creation of stuccos and decorations.
The historical curtain depicting Caesar crossing the Rubicon was commissioned to the painter Coghetti.
In the summer of 1857 the Theater - called Teatro Nuovo - was inaugurated with a memorable lyrical season from Aroldo, the new opera by Giuseppe Verdi.
In 1859 the Theater was dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II.
Between 1916 and 1923, the building was damaged by an earthquake and subsequently closed. On this occasion, in addition to the necessary restorations, the electrical system was installed, the chandelier replaced and the mystic gulf obtained, reducing the length of the stage. In 1923, after the restoration, the theater reopened with Francesca da Rimini by Zandonai. For the new inauguration, a second curtain was commissioned representing Paolo and Francesca in the act of kissing.
Between the years 1928 and 1931 the architect Gaspare Rastelli completed the Ridotto (later Sala Ressi) and the gallery on the upper floor without following the Poletti project, but using neoclassical stylistic elements.
During the years 1930 - 1943 the Theater experienced a flourishing lyrical season that ended in spring 1943 (Puccini’s Madame Butterfly).
The building was severely destroyed by the Second World War bombings. The apse and the roof collapsed and about 90 percent of the auditorium and the stage was destroyed. The only part that remained almost undamaged was the foyer.
A partial restoration was realized between 1997 and 2001 and, in 2010, the Municipality programmed a complete reconstruction of the theatre remaining as faithful as possible to the original design while respecting the new security rules. The restoration project, the philological and typological study and consequent construction of the theatre were carried out under the supervision of the Regional Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage and Cultural Activities of Emilia Romagna. The restoration works, started in 2014, reached their first important step on 17th September 2015 with the opening of the theatre foyer. On the occasion, after 158 years, the piano played by Giuseppe Verdi during the opening of the Galli Theater, in August 1857, came back to Rimini and once again it was played during the opening ceremony.
ph Andrea Scardova (IBC)
After 27,333 days, 898 months, 75 years of silence this very much awaited place of music was returned to Rimini and to the Riminese community. The curtain was re-opened with the extraordinary voice of Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano star of world opera. It was this famous singer who renewed the thread between Rimini and its theater, performing in 'Cinderella' in a semi-scenic form, accompanied by Musiciens du Prince. The wonderful tale of the girl who after a thousand adventures becomes a princess was a tribute to the renaissance of the Rimini Theater.
ph Riccardo Gallini