To have an idea of the cultural life in Valletta, one should go to a performance at the Manoel Theatre – the oldest operating theatre in Europe.
It was built for the “the enjoyment of the Knights” by the wealthy Portuguese Grand Master Antonio Manuel de Vilhena, who paid for the construction of the theatre from his own pocket.
The Manoel Theatre was commissioned in 1731, built in nine months and opened with its first performance on 9th January 1732. It is still very active today.
Entering the theatre, you can see a snow-white staircase made of Carrara marble, Viennese chandeliers, an oval-shaped auditorium with 623 seats, three tiers of boxes constructed entirely of wood, decorated with magnificent Baroque gold leaf carvings, and a pale blue trompe-l’œil ceiling that resembles a round cupola.
The Manoel Theatre has amazing acoustics, every rustle is perfectly audible. The locals claim that this is thanks to two tanks filled with water located under the theatre.
Theatre and opera performances are held with great success on the stage of the Manoel Theatre, with the participation of the most famous artists and musicians.