Royal Opera House -Suite article du 18.6.19

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Comme annoncé, voici un article plus détaillé sur le Royal Opera House (construit fin XIXème) et transformé aujourd’hui en théâtre à ciel ouvert.


Pourquoi un tel changement ?

Parce que la seconde guerre mondiale a fait rage à Malte, alors colonie britannique (depuis 1814).
Le 7 avril 1942, une bombe détruit Royal Opera House.

Photo autre que les autres articles

A savoir : La Valette et toute la région du Grand Port furent intensivement bombardées ; Great Harbour abrite en effet la flotte britannique…
Entre xxx et xxx plus de bombes furent larguées xxx – Cf guide page (1)

(1) Renvoyer vers articles WWII

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Pour situer un peu dans la tumultueuse histoire de Malte

Après les Chevaliers (arrivés de Chypre à Malte en 1530), évincés par Bonaparte en 1798… Les Britanniques font de Malte une de leurs colonies (1814).

Dans La Valette, on procède à l’élargissement des rues et des portes. De nouveaux édifices voient le jour : la chambre de commerce, la cathédrale anglicane St-Paul et l’opéra royal (Royal Opera House).

On le dit construit sur l’ancienne AUberge de Chevaliers de Langue anglaise. Pas tout à fait vrai, XXX (Word)

Royal Opera House – 1866 à 1942

La construction débute en 1860-62 et se termine en 1866.

Design by English architect
Edward Middleton Barry
Inauguration of the Royal
Opera House 

Réalisé selon les plans d’Edward Middleton Barry, architecte qui avait conçu le Royal Opera House de Covent Garden et Le Parlement à Londres. (ndbpd)
Capacité : 1090 spectateurs assis et 200 debout.
Appelé aussi Royal Theatre, en malti : Teatru Rjal.

PHOTO et affiche – Trouver archives photos

Autres photos que celle-ci valletta-royal-opera




+++  liens à mettre en bas de page pour éviter dispersion


En 1873, un incendie ravage l’intérieur du théâtre.

PHOTOS Theatre on
L’extérieur est resté pratiquement intact.

Les travaux de reconstruction dureront jusqu’en 1877.
Inauguration le XXX octobre 1877, presque 10 ans après la première ouverture.


Electricity replaces the use of gas to illuminate the theatre

7 avril 1942, Royal Opera House détruit par une bombe : « Theatre destroyed in an aerial attack during the 2nd World War »


opera bombed2 Ajouter d’autres photos

Qu’est devenue cette ruine ? Verrue à l’entrée de La Valette, mais surtout vestige patrimonial…+ parking sauvage

Dans les années d’après-guerre

Pour raison de sécurité, une grande partie a été démolie et démantelée.
L’endroit resta en l’état… : comme un symbole des destructions de la guerre.
servi de parking… de xxx


Les projets de restauration, reconstruction… se succèdent.

Une quarantaine de projets de reconstruction se sont succédés, sans jamais pouvoir se concrétiser ; le coût de reconstruction étant trop élevé.
Et les Maltais et leur théa^tre… reprendre guide page XXX.

Au début des années 2000, nouveaux projets…

En 2009, la conception de l’actuelle entrée de La Valette est confiée à l’architect italien Renzo Piano. C’est le City Gate Project.
Le projet de R. Piano pour Royal Opera House l’emportera sur les précédents.

Malgré de nombreux et vifs débats (reconstruire à l’identique ? reconstruire un théâtre ? utiliser l’espace à d’autres usages? …), Royal Opera House est transformé en théâtre à ciel ouvert : les vestiges du théâtre sont conservés, combinés avec des apports nouveaux (parties métalliques).

Le nouveau Teatru Rjal est inauguré en août 2013.

Mettre autres photos que dans article précédent = R.PBW photo théâtre + PROGRAMMATION

Cf. page dédiée pour le projet R. Piano.



In the mid-19th century, as opera became more popular in the  Maltese Islands, it was felt that the Manoel Theatre, opened in  1732, was becoming too small for increasing audiences. In    1860, the Governor of Malta – Sir John Gaspard Le Marchand –  formally approved the construction of a new theatre, to be built  on a site at the entrance to Valletta. The new “Royal Opera  House” was designed in the following year by the English  architect Edward Middleton Barry, who had designed several  prominent buildings in London including Covent Garden and the National Gallery. The building in the Neo-Classical style was  constructe​d on a 63 m by 34 m site previously occupied by the Casa della Giornata, the onetime residence of the Turcopilier of the Auberge d’Angleterre during the time of the Knights. It was completed after five years with a seating capacity of 1095 and 200 standing; more than double the capacity of the teatru Manoel. It was inaugurated on October 9, 1866 with Vincenzo Bellini’s opera I Puritani. The total cost amounted to £60,000 which, at that time, was a considerable sum.
On Sunday evening of May 25, 1873 during the rehearsals of Giuseppe Privitera’s opera La Vergine del Castello, the theatre accidentally caught fire and its interior was extensively damaged. Restoration works were taken up immediately under the supervision of Architect Webster Poulson, at a cost of £4,000. On October 11, 1877 – after nearly four and a half years from this accidental fire – the theatre reopened with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, followed by a further 18 performances of the same opera. During the 1877-78 opera season, twenty-three other opera productions were staged. In 1895, electricity replaced the use of gas to illuminate the theatre.
For many years, the Royal Opera House in Valletta served not only as an important launching pad for aspiring opera singers but also as the prime theatrical  venue  of Malta. This was the place where Military  Officers,  British Royalty and Maltese enthusiasts came to enjoy staged  entertainment of the highest quality, both in the field of music as well as that of drama.  Many foreign artistes, including​ the world renowned tenor Giovanni Zenatello (1876 – 1949),  the celebrated  Italian mezzo Giulietta Simionato (1910 – 2010) and the equally famous Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayão (1902 – 1999), who later became top notch stars of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, started their illustrious career in this theatre. Much to the delight of Maltese opera lovers, other distinguished opera singers engaged by the management of the Opera House included tenor Icilio Calleja (1882 – 1941) and baritone Giuseppe Satariano (1895 – 1992). Famous composers also invited to Malta by the Impresa of the theatre were Ottorino Respighi, Mons. Licinio Refice, Giuseppe Mule’ and Riccardo Zandonai.
The Royal Opera House was held to be one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring Opera Houses in Europe. This was therefore by default the theatre where Maltese singers and musicians aspired to commence their career.
On the evening of Tuesday  April 7,  1942 the theatre suffered  its second  tragedy when it was devastated in an aerial attack by Stuka dive-bombers.  Its  pristine interior and most of its side walls came  crashing  down  and one of Malta’s cultural and architectural landmarks ended up in miserable ruins. Only the numerous Corinthian columns and peripheral hard stone base survived.
In 1953, six  renowned  architects  submitted  their  designs  to  have the theatre built anew. The Committee chose Zavellani-Rossi’s project and recommended its acceptance by  Government, subject to certain alterations. The project was  however shelved after a lot of bickering. Eventually, the ruins fell into disuse and the interior floor of the glorious theatre came to serve as a parking lot for the vehicles of the many commuters who entered Valletta. However, from time to time, some metaphorical cinder did throw some sparks into the air, and occasionally, the site was cleared of these vehicles to hold a theatrical event of one kind or another.
In the 1980s, contact was made with renowned architect Renzo Piano to design a building to be constructed on site of the ruins as well as to embark on the rehabilitation of the entrance of the City. Piano submitted the plans which were approved by the Government in 1990. Again this project never came to fruition, mainly due to the heavy opposition it found from various quarters of the conservative Maltese intelligentsia.
In 2006, the government announced a proposal to redevelop the site to provide a new location for the House of Parliament. In 2008, the Renzo Piano project was revived with a proposed budget of €80 million. Piano, however, dissuaded the Government from building a Parliament on site of the Opera House. Instead he chose to construct the Parliament building on Freedom Square and to convert and use the ruins of the Opera House as an open-air theatre. Thus the Pjazza Teatru Rjal came to be. It was officially inaugurated on August 8, 2013.
Today Pjazza Teatru Rjal has been integrated into the old theatre’s ruins. It is regarded as a monument that stands for the heroism, tenacity and dignity of the Maltese who stood against enemy action in the Second World War. At the same time the newly built theatre shows an aspiration to preserve past culture with a promise to create and nurture new artistic ideas.
Martin Morana​​​


A transférer sur page. Mettre sous forme de question le fantôme de l’Opera…
Projet sous :

Lights and laser beams will project a three-dimensional, lifesize image of the Opera House that will become visible as a ghostly mist is blown over the area. To add to the magic of this night the event will be taking place on February 29 – a day that only leaps into calendars every four years.

Article TOM 3 février 2008 | Claudia Calleja

Phantom of the opera house

projections from Nexos.

The Opera House will come to life thanks to projections from Nexos.
Source photo : TOM… rechercher ref. directe NEXOS

Vous trouverez des images d’archives sur Royal Opera House dans cette réalisation d’Edgar Vella (env. 10 minutes), avec : architecture extérieure et intérieure, billets, affiches, annonces spectacles…
Edgar Vella « The Temple of the Arts » – A story of grandeur, success, destruction and eventual abandon ».


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