The theatre was designed by the architect Carlo Manfredi and was built on the same spot where, a century earlier in 1644, the first public theatre in Brescia was opened, founded by the Accademia degli Erranti. In 1789 the facade and the three great arches which are incorporated in the arcade along Corso Zanardelli were added and, at a later date,at the suggestion of the architect Gaspare Turbino, the imposing flight of steps leading up to the entrance to the theatre. The neo-classical auditorium (designed by the architect Luigi Canonica, 1806) is shaped like a horse-shoe and has five tiers of boxes with frescoed fronts ornamented with stucco work and gilded decorations. Giuseppe Teosa designed the decor, inspired by the Scala in Milan, however, in 1860 it was spoilt when gas-lighting was installed and had to be restored a few years later.
The Ridotto, a hall near to the main auditorium, is one of the best examples of Brescian Rococo. It was built between 1761 and 1769 under the supervision of the architect Antonio Marchetti, to a design by his father, Giovan Battista and is mainly used for chamber concerts. It has a rectangular auditorium with lofty pillars on the ground floor and the first tier of gallery. The upper gallery has pillars of the Attic order. This little theatre is richly decorated with frescos, gilded plaster-work and mirrors and has three tiers of little balconies so that people can look down over the auditorium. There is a fine ceiling with a trompe-l'oeil balustrade which looks out on a painted sky enlivened by a bevy of Olympian gods and goddesses,the work of Francesco Zugno (a pupil of Tiepolo's) , Pietro Scalvini and Francesco Battaglioli (architectural perspective).
THE TEATRO GRANDE AND THE RIDOTTO
Corso Zanardelli, 9/a