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                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

© Jeff Matthews   Jan. 2011

he Trianon Theater

These two entries appeared separately in the original version of the Around Naples Encyclopedia on the dates indicated and have been consolidated here onto a single page. The update at the end was added in November 2014

entry Sept. 2003
              Trianon Theater

I am pleased to see that there is once again a theater devoted full-time to Neapolitan Music. The Trianon Theater takes its name from a village acquired in 1670 by Louis XIV and converted into a sort of pleasure garden annexed to the Palace of Versailles. The premises hosted an English Garden, a theater, fountains, and all those things necessary in the lives of Madame Pompadour and Marie Antoinette. 

The Trianon in Naples was less ambitious. It opened in 1911 for the express purpose of being a theater for local talent. Over the next few decades, it served Neapolitan playwrights, actors and musicians well. It thrived during the great age of vaudeville and then survived for a while as motion pictures swiftly took over show business. Like many theaters of its kind throughout the world, it finally closed and was converted into a cinema in 1947. 

The Trianon has now reopened over half a century later as a theater of Neapolitan Song. It has an impressive program of traditional Neapolitan plays and musicals, an art gallery, very good acoustics, and, soon, a permanent multimedia exhibit dedicated to Enrico Caruso. Much of the restructuring of the Trianon was supervised by musicologist, Roberto De Simone. The theater is located, appropriately, in a traditional part of town, Piazza Calenda, at the extreme eastern edge of the old historic center of Naples. That fact is attested to by the presence in the square of an excavated portion of the ancient Greek eastern wall of the city. In modern terms, it is only a block away from Piazza Garibaldi and the main train station.

Feb. 2010

The Trianon Theater (officially renamed some time ago the "Trianon Viviani" in honor of Raffaele Viviani, the Neapolitan playwright, has been attached by creditors. The theater is directed by Nino D’Angelo, noted actor and singer-songwriter and has 4,000 paid subscribers. It has been a few years since the theater reopened (see the above link) and from an artistic point of view it has been very successful in bringing a sense of social normalcy to a very difficult part of the city. It has been a light in that part of town—Forcella. If the theater closes, besides putting the actors in the company and the stage hands out of work, that light will go out, and that would be a shame.

update added: November 2014:

The Trianon theater closed recently and the situation is not good. This morning's paper (Nov. 29) carried an item about a letter sent to the office of the Naples Superintendent of Architectural Heritage by the mayor, Luigi de Magistris and head of the Naples Cultural Council, Nino Daniele, to request that the Superintendent  intervene and take over the stewardship of the theater to block any attempt to close the theater permanently in order to turn it all in a supermarket! That is, indeed, the rumor that is floating around. The letter is essentially a long reminder of the historical importance of the Trianon theater (see first item on this page). It is the most historic surviving theater for traditional Neapolitan music and drama and is within the boundaries of  the UNESCO World Heritage site dedicated to the Historic Center of the city. We shall see.

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