The Sao Carlos National Theater of Lisbon is a historical building erected in 1793 by order of Queen Maria I, in the context of a notable scarcity of opera houses in the capital of Portugal, subsequently to the 1755 earthquake which damaged beyond repair the Tejo Opera House in Praca do Comercio.

Located in the Chiado district, the Sao Carlos National Theater is a neoclassical edifice which rococo decorations which blend in harmoniously in the overall structure of the building. Architecturally speaking, the theater was inspired, in particular in terms of its inner features, by the celebrated La Scala in Milan and by the San Carlo Theater in Naples. The architect in charge was Jose da Costa e Silva, and the result of his work, as well as of his colleagues commissioned to adorn the inside of the theater, is a splendidly and lavishly decorated building which provides the perfect set for theater and opera performances.

Indeed, while the facade is fairly plane in terms of decorative patrimony, inside the theater there’s a whole different story. Highlights refer to the royal box decorated by Giovanni Appianni and to the ceiling paintings by Manuel da Costa. The stage was designed by Cirilo Wolkmar Machado. Outer interesting architectural elements refer to the entrance portico, to a decorated clock on the main facade and to the coat of arms of Portugal.

Sao Carlos National Theater (Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos)
9, Rua Serpa Pinto, Lisbon, Portugal
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