From when it opened in 1742 through the mid-19th century, the theater that is now known as Teatro Bellini, was the most important hall in Palermo. Originally, the small venue was called Santa Lucia. It was named for one of Sicily’s most famous sons, Vincenzo Bellini, in 1848.
Bellini was born in Catania in 1801 and died in France in 1835 after a short, yet prolific life as composer. Bellini’s music is loved for its long, highly embellished and intensely emotional melodies.
Teatro Bellini was built of wood, and as a result, it has suffered from various destructive fires throughout its history, the last of which occurred in 1964 during a performance that was being enjoyed by a full audience. After 50 years, Teatro Bellini has yet to be fully restored. Sadly, it is primarily used as a rehearsal space; however the owners are seeking finances to restore the theater so that intimate performances can once again resonate in Palermo’s ancient center.