Teatro Di San Giacomo
During Venetian rule, the Corfiotes developed a fervent appreciation of Italian opera, which was the real source of the extraordinary (given conditions in the mainland of Greece) musical development of the island during that era. The opera house of Corfu during 18th and 19th centuries was that of the Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo, named after the neighbouring catholic cathedral, but the theatre was later converted into the Town Hall. A long series of local composers, such as Antonio Liberali (a son of an Italian bandmaster of the British Army, who later translated his surname to 'Eleftheriadis'), Domenico Padovani (whose family has been in Corfu since 16th century) or Spyridon Xyndas contributed to the fame of the Teatro di San Giacomo.
The first opera to be performed in the San Giacomo Theatre had been as far back as 1733 ("Gerone, tiranno di Siracusa"), and for almost two hundred years between 1771 until 1943 nearly every major operatic composition from the Italian tradition, as well as many others of Greek and French composers, were performed at the stage of the San Giacomo theatre. This impressive tradition, invoking an exceptional musical past, continues to be reflected in the mythology supporting the opera theatre of Corfu, reputed to be fixture on famous opera singers' working travel itineraries. Operatic performers who found success at the theatre were distinguishd with the accolade applaudito in Corfu ("applauded in Corfu") as a tribute to the discriminating musical sensibility of the island's audience.
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