Teatro Nacional S茫o Jo茫o



From 1798 to 1992, from Real Teatro de S茫o Jo茫o to Teatro Nacional S茫o Jo茫o, how many theatres have occupied this building/monument?

By initiative of Chief Magistrate Francisco de Almada e Mendon莽a and a group of private investors, who wanted the 鈥淩ealm鈥檚 second city鈥 to have a 鈥渇ine school of manners and civility鈥, the Real Teatro de S茫o Jo茫o, thus named as an homage to the Prince Regent (future King Dom Jo茫o VI), was built from a project by Italian scenographer and architect Vincenzo Mazzoneschi. Officially inaugurated on May 13, 1798, it was the first building in Porto to be specifically conceived for the presentation of stage shows. In spite of being alternately used, not always in the most peaceful of ways, by declamatory and lyrical theatre companies, the Real Teatro de S茫o Jo茫o鈥檚 activity would eventually turn to the universe of Italian opera, presenting all the performances of that genre in Porto until the end of the 19th century. On the night of April 11 to 12, 1908, a fire destroyed the building. In October of that same year, a public competition for its rebuilding was launched, which was won by a draft of Jos茅 Marques da Silva, once described as 鈥淧orto鈥檚 last classical and first modern architect鈥. The stylistic and methodological teachings absorbed at the 脡cole des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, had strengthened his fascination with the 鈥淔rench form鈥, quite clear in the rigorous and yet theatrical way in which reception, transition and performance areas are articulated. In spite of budgetary restraints, the architect was able to combine ostentation and efficiency, successfully integrating purely architectural aspects with constructive ones. He employed an innovative technique, using concrete for the basic structure and cement mortars for the decorations. At the time it was built, the Teatro de S茫o Jo茫o combined technical innovation with a stylistic prolongation of traditional taste.

In 1932, only twelve years after its opening (March 7, 1920), and in keeping with the general decadence of Porto鈥檚 theatrical activity, it changed its name to S茫o Jo茫o Cine, operating from then on basically as a cinema. Progressively, the building fell into disrepair. Finally, it was bought by the Portuguese State on October 8, 1992, and opened its doors to the public one month later, on November 28, now officially named Teatro Nacional S茫o Jo茫o. After a process of restoration, renovation and refurbishment, which took place from 1993 to 1995, under the guidance of architect Jo茫o Carreira, it resumed its regular artistic activity. Bibliography: Instituto Portugu锚s do Patrim贸nio Arquitect贸nico e Arqueol贸gico 鈥 Boletim IPPAR: Teatro Nacional S茫o Jo茫o. Porto: IPPAR, 1995.