Skip to main content
ph Fabrizio Sansoni

The Orchestra of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

The Orchestra of the Teatro dell’Opera, which today we are used to seeing and listening to, has very little to do with the orchestra that inaugurated the Teatro Costanzi on November 27, 1880 with the opera Semiramide by Gioachino Rossini. The various and innumerable management that led the theater until 1926, for reasons related to the chronic economic problems and to the conception of a work in which the constant was the precariousness and the lack of stability, could not form a stable orchestral complex that could be identified structurally and artistically with the theater itself. An important and temporary breakthrough was imprinted in 1905, due to the interest and sensitivity of the municipal councilor Count Enrico di Sanmartino, which led the City Council of Rome to establish the Municipal Orchestra composed of a hundred elements, many of which came from the Municipal Band. This orchestra became in fact the Orchestra of the Costanzi Theater until 1926.

Costanzi's transformation into the Teatro Reale dell'Opera, led the theater's executives and in particular the municipal administration to choose the way to build a stable orchestral complex, even if with seasonal contracts, to avoid resorting to professional insertions and reinforcements, as happened on the occasion of the inauguration of the Teatro Reale, on February 27, 1928, with Nerone by Arrigo Boito, for whose musical execution, it was necessary to cast the Quartetto di Trieste. The definitive transformation took place in 1935. The City Council of Rome, through the Vice Governor of Marchese Dentice d'Accadia, as Artistic Director, resolved the overall staff of the Theater's workers, fixing the Orchestra in 143 elements including the teachers of the Band. Among the latter also Professor Pietro Sordi (bass tuba), father of Alberto.

It will however be necessary to wait until the end of the forties, so that the Orchestra becomes a real and stable complex and in full availability of the Opera House. Over the course of half a century, the changed situation has led to a well-deserved prestige internationally allowing for very important collaborations with the most important and famous directors, such as Victor De Sabata, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Herbert Von Karajan, Carlo Maria Giulini, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Thomas Schippers, Peter Maag, Mstislav Rostropovich, Michel Plasson, Jeffrey Tate, Riccardo Muti, and Daniele Gatti. Since 2022 the music director is Michele Mariotti.