Teatro del Carmine

The Teatro del Carmine, inaugurated on 20 July 1929, is part of the Sardinian theatrical tradition dating back to the first half of the 1800s.

In the early nineteenth century, in fact, the first attempts at operatic composition flourished in Sardinia, which was necessarily accompanied by the creation of structures designed to accommodate theatrical performances.

On 2 October 1836, the city of Cagliari inaugurated the new Civic Theatre. In Alghero in 1862, the Theatre was opened to the public. In Sassari in 1844 the new Politeama was inaugurated with the performance of “Riccardo III”, by the Sassari native Luigi Canepa.

Even the city of Tempio, although only equipped with temporary structures, promoted theatrical productions. However, it would be necessary to reach the first decades of the 1900s for the problem of building a permanent theatre to be definitively addressed and solved.

On 30 September 1910, in the Chiesa del Carmelo, the great tenor Bernardo De Muro played, in the presence of a crowd “varied, elegant, new, with numerous foreigners, literally crammed into the vast hall”.

On that occasion, the press emphasized the need to create a place of entertainment by favouring the use of the Chiesa del Carmine and suggesting to “open the high door of the Chiesa del Carmine without delay!” (from the “Giornale d’Italia” Of 3/12/1913).

Part of the Tempiese population disagreed on the profane use of the church, which was also the exclusive property of the Municipality, so much so that some confraternities asked that the place of worship be exclusively intended for religious rites.

During the City Council of 1 December 1913, chaired by Mayor Cabella, it was decided however to take into consideration “the various proposals, evaluating the guarantees and the goodness of the projects of the proposers to accept the one that best meets the public interest”. Despite the discussions and diatribes, the shows continued to be represented in the now former Chiesa del Carmelo.

In those years, the shows were more and more numerous thanks to the presence of the likes of Bernardo De Muro, Giovanni Manurrita and Giovanni Corda, whose national fame rendered the need for a place worthy of welcoming such famous artists more acute than ever.

It was thanks to the artistic sensibility of Celestino Manca, the Commissioner of the Municipality of Tempio, that the sale of the former Chiesa del Carmine was proposed.

A committee was immediately established which contacted Aldo Faconti, who carried out a project that was exhibited in the window of Stefano Corda’s shop in Piazza Gallura, so that the citizens could see it.

After the first doubts had been assuaged, it was established that the cost for the construction of the work would be £300,000, and the committee opened partial ownership to the citizens at a price of £250 per share.

The joint ownership plan, however, was unsuccessful, so a group of Tempiesi (Stefano Corda, Pasqualino Pintus, Domenico Cabella, Tommaso Azara, Paolo Nicolai and Mario Cossu) met to cover the costs of purchasing and building the theatre.

Following a resolution on 11 December 1927, the Municipality ceded the former Chiesa del Carmelo and allowed them to build the theatre with a large hall for public performances. In return, they demanded an income in perpetuity and the use of the Theatre for philanthropic purposes.

The dealers also undertook to organize a bi-monthly evening for local charitable institutions.

Thus the “Society of Ten” was thus born. Salvatore Murino, Giovanni Cossu, Gerolamo Corda and Domenico Caputo joined the six pre-existing members who, on 21 January 1928, entered into a public deed of assignment with the City Commissioner registered in Tempio on the 15 February 1928.

The works started on 20 February 1928 under the direction of Aldo Faconti and proceeded expeditiously over the following months, so much so that the theatre was inaugurated on 20 July 1929 by the singing company directed by the tenor Giocomo Eliseo, with a performance of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

The first opera season was particularly grandiose and exciting, including “The Barber of Seville”, “La Sonnambula”, “L’elisir d’amore” among its performances.

On 19 July 1930 the Carmine, which had hosted the tenor Giovanni Manurrita in April, triumphantly welcomed the famous tenor tempo Bernardo De Muro.

In the years following, the operatic performances were alternated with less and less popular works.

In the 1950s the opening of new cinemas and the advent of television put the theatre in crisis and the process of decay culminated when the Carmine was transformed, on the occasion of the Carnival, into a ballroom.

In 1991 the Civic Theatre, now closed for some years, was purchased by the Municipality of Tempio which, after careful restoration, on October 18, 2001it returned in all its splendour, to the Gallura public.