Teatri storici del Polesine

When Gigli, Callas and Pavarotti…



ph Giovanni Hänninen

Magnificent buildings with infinite history


Public and private, enjoyed from the stalls or closed in the boxes. Every theatre and opera house has its own history made up of many individual stories.

And those in the Polesine area have many, many stories to tell.

We have chosen seven of them. And we are ready to recount these stories, made up of extraordinary moments and tragedies, great débuts and prestigious firsts, decadence and resurrection, at Palazzo Roncale.


Magnificent buildings with infinite history

ph Giovanni Hänninen
Opening times

The event runs until the 4th of July, 2021.

Open every day:
Monday - Friday, 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.

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The Magnificent Seven

There are seven historic theatres in the Polesine area which have stood the test of time and are still operational today. They are magnificent buildings with infinite history, which we recount with images, sound and testimony at Palazzo Roncale.

The seven theatres are the Comunale and Ferrini in Adria, the Cotogni in Castelmassa, the Zago in Loreo, the Ballarin in Lendinara, the Sociale in Rovigo, and the Balzan in Badia Polesine.

“The world has performed here!”

Great opera, and more. From Modugno, Morandi, Lucio Dalla and Pooh, to Gerry Mulligan and Genesis. The list of protagonists who have tread the stage of the Teatro Comunale di Adria is prestigious.

Two great Adria locals: Ferrante Mecenati and Rosita Lusardi (husband and wife) have made Adria an Italian point of reference for great opera thanks to their artistic relationships.

But alongside opera, the Teatro Comunale has also hosted operetta, revues, plays, concerts, ballet and pop music of all kinds, with artists from all over the world.
ph Giovanni Hänninen

A Theatre for the Nation

It was 1915 when the Teatro Ferrini in Adria was ready to begin its activities, but then Italy entered the First World War and the building was requisitioned by the army.

More than important stage design, premières or great leads, the importance of Teatro Ferrini is due to the role it played during the Great War.

The small opera house was, indeed, used to house soldiers straight from the front, for storing provisions for troops on the Eastern front, and also for refugees from the Asiago Plateau.

A theatre for the nation, they would have said at the time.
ph Giovanni Hänninen

Saved by the Cinema

The story of the Teatro Cotogni in Castelmassa is similar to that of many other small theatres in the Polesine area.

Built on the back of the enthusiasm for opera, it was forced to expand to other genres such as concerts, operettas and theatre for economic reasons. Then, when film became the most popular form of entertainment, Teatro Cotogni adapted by becoming a cinema.

This was probably its salvation. Teatro San Martino, also in Castelmassa, would leave the theatre circuit for good, becoming a discotheque.
ph Giovanni Hänninen

From Opera to Theatre

The Teatro di Loreo, built in the area of the deconsecrated church of Saints Peter and Monica, was inaugurated in 1891, but it is not known with which performance.

What we do know for sure is that, in addition to some operas, plays were also put on in the theatre. Important companies such as that of Zago, Micheluzzi, Borisi and Novelli indeed performed here, with a repertoire including comedies and dramas by Carlo Goldoni, Giacinto Gallina, Sem Benelli, Renato Simoni, Gabriele D’annunzio, Dario Nicodemi, Giuseppe Giacosa, Henrik Ibsen, Victorien Sardou and Bertolt Brecht.
ph Giovanni Hänninen

Two Centuries of Light and Shadow

The artistic history of the Teatro Ballarin in Lendinara has featured highs and lows.

Auspicious beginnings, an important boost following the annexation of the Veneto region to the Kingdom of Italy, a relaunch in the years following the Great War, and its conversion and use as a cinema. Moments of glory, always followed by difficult times for the theatre.

Now, its conversion back to a multi-functional space opens its doors to any kind of show, with a particular focus on theatrical seasons and with the desire to change its history.
ph Giovanni Hänninen

The Stars of the Teatro Sociale

Here are some of the singers and conductors who have made Rovigo's Teatro Sociale great: Pietro Mascagni, Tullio Serafin, Beniamino Gigli, Giovanni Malipiero, Rosetta Pampanini, Maria Gentile, Mara Zamboni, Mafalda Favero, Toti Dal Monte, Margherita Carosio, Maria Caniglia, Aureliano Pertile, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Tancredi Pasero, Renata Tebaldi, Iris Adami Corradetti, Mario Del Monaco, Maria Callas, Franco Corelli, Giulietta Simionato, Magda Olivero, Alfredo Kraus, Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Raina Kabaivanska, Rosanna Carteri, Fiorenza Cossotto, Mara Zampieri, Cecilia Gasdia and Mariella Devia.

Alongside them the great Rovigo natives Elena Rizzieri, Rina Malatrasi, Katia Ricciarelli, Serena Lazzarini, Nello Romanato, Dino Mantovani, Marina De Liso, Riccardo Zanellato and Paola Gardina.

With a list like that, we need add nothing more!
ph Giovanni Hänninen

The August Holidays

Its doors open each year for the August holiday celebrations. It is precisely during this period that the Teatro Sociale Balzan in Lendinara puts on its most important shows.

In 1900, the legendary production of Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut cost more than 15,000 lire, a crazy price for the time, which risked putting the organisers into crisis.

The schedule includes comedies, farces, dramas and operettas. But the stage also has space for amateur dramatics, gymnastics and schoolchildren. Because, over time, the Teatro Sociale has lived up to its “social” billing.
ph Giovanni Hänninen