Theatre takes a special place in the life of Sicily. Theatre as the oldest kind of art remains there in full conformity with the canons of the first theatres of the past.
The most famous theatre or the amphitheatre, to be exact, is situated in Syracuse. In the past it belonged to the ancient Greeks. Great Greek dramatists showed their plays to the spectators there in the fifth century B.C. Nowadays the theatre in Syracuse pays tribute to the historical heritage. For its decorations the ruins of the buildings of one of the most beautiful ancient Greek colonies are used. Its repertoire consists of the plays of ancient Greek play writers. Nevertheless the theatre in Syracuse has broken some traditions. Firstly, in ancient Greece all the roles in a play were performed by men only. Nowadays women play ladies’ parts. Secondly, in ancient times one play could be performed for some days. It is different nowadays.
The performances of this theatre are very popular. It is not only because of the entourage but because the actors and actresses are real professionals there. The theatre of Syracuse has not got a permanent company of actors but it is able to invite actors from any theatres of Italy.
The other famous theatre on Sicily is named after the great composer Bellini and is situated in Catania. The theatre was built in the second half of the 19th century in the best traditions of the classical Italian architecture. The theatre is decorated with taste and luxury both inside and outside. Today the theatre in Catania is one of the best opera theatres in Italy. Catania is known as the theatrical capital of Sicily. Besides Bellini Theatre there are old buildings of Classical Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre and Odeon. Odeon, by the way, was opened for tourists not long ago.
Puppet Theatres bring special charm to the Sicilian culture. In many of such theatres you may find puppets which were made a hundred or two of years ago. And even nowadays the puppet makers manufacture their “actors” and “actresses” using the moulds which were used by their grand-grand-grandfathers.
The Puppet Theatre of Sicily was founded in the Middle Ages. That time the performances were called “The Puppet Operas” and were very popular. They were organized on the city squares. Modern serials are analogous to those performances: only a part of the plot was shown and it was stopped at the most interesting place to make spectators come the next day to watch it again. Nowadays the performances like those ones are revived by the enthusiasts in different cities like Palermo, Messina and Caltanissetta.
The most respectable theatre of Sicily is considered to be “The Theatre of Massimo” in Palermo. It is the third greatest Opera Theatre in Europe. To have an opportunity to see the premiere in “Massimo” means to enjoy meeting the real classical art.