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The Coccia Theatre

The De Agostini Group is one of the supporters of Novara's Coccia Theatre, whose numerous initiatives - opera, operetta, ballet, musicals, plays, jazz, cabaret, special events - make it one of the most active in Italy.

Inaugurated on 22 December 1888, the Coccia was built on the foundations of the theatre erected in the second half of the 18th century and designed by the papal architect Cosimo Morelli, with interior frescoes, scenery and a curtain portraying Hercules (Novara's mythical founder) by the Galliari brothers. This theatre, however, soon proved insufficient for the performances required. Its reconstruction was entrusted to Luigi Canonica, who had previously designed Milan's Carcano Theatre and restored the Teatro alla Scala by Piermarini. Antonio Agnelli, a local engineer, completed Canonica's neoclassical designs. The new theatre was inaugurated in 1832 with a performance of Bellini's "La Straniera". A second theatre, called "Il Sociale", was then erected between 1853 and 1855. The two buildings were quite different, even physically: one the symbol of the aristocracy, the other a recognition of the important role now played by the bourgeoisie in the city's affairs. Their activities, too, were a source of rivalry. In 1889, the Municipality bought both the Sociale and the Morelli (known as the Coccia since 1873) with a view to replacing them both with a new theatre. The first project, submitted by Andrea Scala, envisaged the re-use of both theatres for other purposes and the erection of a new one.This, however, was regarded as too costly and Scala asked the Milanese architect Giuseppe Oliverio to draw up a new project. This was re-elaborated on several occasions before the work finally got under way. The new Coccia soon replaced the old one in the minds of the people of Novara.

The Coccia Theatre today is the symbol of a distant past. It is also the most significant illustration of the growth of a city that has at the same time proved capable of preserving its passion for art.

Teatro Coccia
Via F.lli Rosselli, 47
28100 Novara
tel. 0321 233200