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Early Italian Opera Houses: Architecture, Acoustics, and Design

Natalie Draeger

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Thesis Description


Early Italian Opera Houses: Architecture, Acoustics, and Design


Natalie Draeger


Diana Gisolfi



  • Opera, Venice, Italy, Architecture, and Acoustics


    The examples of opera houses in the following chapters demonstrate developments and changes in opera house design that improved acoustics through their use of varied materials, interior decorations, and differing ground plans. This study begins with their transformation from Greco-Roman auditoriums circa 1600, to the specialized acoustic buildings created in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Due to Venice’s importance and prominence in this field, the focus is primarily on opera houses within the city, although a few examples from other Italian cities important to development are included. The study concludes with Venice’s Il Teatro La Fenice, of 1792, as the zenith of acoustic development for the period.While previous writings on this subject are limited in their scope to one field (either music and acoustics, architectural acoustics, or architecture and art), this thesis combines these areas into an interdisciplinary study of the relationship between architecture and acoustics in opera houses specifically.


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Natalie Draeger, “Early Italian Opera Houses: Architecture, Acoustics, and Design,” History of Art & Design Theses, accessed June 22, 2018,