More than 350 years of history separate the Casa de las Comedias from the current Teatre Principal, an emblematic space in Palma dedicated to the performing arts, which has seen thousands of international and Spanish artists perform. Situated in Calle de la Riera, a continuation of the beautiful tree lined Rambla, the Teatre Principal plays host to theatre shows, opera, dance or zarzuela, family shows, puppets, etc., in both the Great Hall and in the Small Hall. Companies from all over the world have performed in this iconic theatre, with its not uneventful history.
The origins of a respected cultural institution
The theatre opened its doors in 1667 with a capacity of 800 people and was called the Casa de las Comedias. It had a rectangular-shaped floor plan, contrary to the curved shape adopted in most of Europe at the time, and was the basis for the Teatre Principal as it is now. Prior to opening, a board of theologians had met beforehand to determine whether it was legal to stage comedies.
Almost a century later, at the end of the War of Succession, the theatre fell into decline. It was in 1854 when the Mallorcan architect Antoni Sureda led the work to create the new theatre with its semi-circular floor plan and two floors, which was inaugurated in 1857 under the name of Teatro de la Princesa. Queen Isabel II and the Princess of Asturias attended the occasion. The exquisite interior décor was created by the French set designer Fèlix Cagé, who also decorated the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.
The Teatro de la Princesa was completely destroyed by a fire just a year later after a performance, and the theatre had to be rebuilt. Upon reopening, it was now called the Teatro del Príncipe de Asturias. Due to the Revolution in 1868, it changed name again and became known as the Teatre Principal.
During the twentieth century, the Teatre Principal underwent several modifications and refurbishments to increase its capacity. In the latter half of the 1970s, the building returned to public ownership and in 2007 it received a considerable investment to equip the theatre with the latest technological advances.
A programme with something for everyone
The cultural programme at the Teatre Principal has increased over the years, and for the new season (January to July 2023), the theatre has committed to its own productions without neglecting international shows, which will ensure that the public can enjoy theatre, music, opera, dance, and circus acts. The season is complemented by an attractive opera programme, with various performances on offer: the ‘Easter Concert’ (30th of March), ‘La Traviata’ de Verdi (17th, 19th, and 21st of June) and ‘Loopera’, which closes the season on the 7th and 8th of July.