Royal Opera House, Valletta

Royal Opera House, Valletta

Royal Opera House, Valletta

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The Valletta Royal Opera House was an opera house and performing arts venue in Valletta, Malta. It was designed by English architect Edward Middleton Barry and was erected in 1866. In 1873 its interior was extensively damaged by fire but was eventually restored by 1877. The theatre was bombed to the ground during World War II in 1942.


The design of the building was entrusted to Edward Middleton Barry, the architect of Covent Garden Theatre. The original plans had to be altered because the sloping streets on the sides of the theatre hadn’t been taken into consideration. This resulted in a terrace being added on the side of Strada Reale (Republic Street).

The building of the by site started in 1862, after what was the Casa della Giornata was demolished. After four years, the Opera House, with a seating capacity of 1095 and 200 standing, was ready for the official opening on October 9, 1866.

The theatre was not to last long; on May 25, 1873, a mere six years after its opening, it was brought to a premature end by a fire. The exterior of the theatre was undamaged but the interior stonework was calcified by the intense heat.

It was decided to rebuild the theatre, and after the issuing of tenders for the work and a lot of arguing whether the front had to be changed or not, the theatre was ready. On October 11, 1877, after nearly four and a half years from the fire, the theatre reopened with a performance of Verdi's Aida.

Some 65 years later, tragedy struck the Royal...
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