Reflecting the cultural liveliness - varied - of the city, the Manzoni Theater, under the leadership of President Ernesto Mauri, celebrates its 150th anniversary in its usual role, that of “living room in Milan”

Elegant and welcoming at the same time. Comfortable and enveloping with its 800 red velvet armchairs, embellished with sumptuous chandeliers, marbles and caryatids, the 11 October 2022, the Teatro Manzoni of Milan celebrated its 150 years.

With the hall spaces refreshed by the calibrated contemporary interventions curated by architect Michele De Lucchi, it reflects the spirit of relaunching Milan. A renewal that also involves design. The position of the Manzoni Gallery is in fact strategic in the circuits that animate the Design Week and beyond.

The artificer of this new course, aimed at making Manzoni increasingly the protagonist of the Milanese cultural proposal, in the wake of the history - and of the soul - of the theater, is the current President Ernesto Mauri, CEO of the Mondadori Group until April 2021 and at the helm of major publishing houses and companies active in the multimedia field, both Italian and international, for fifty years, assisted by the general manager Alessandro Arnone.


An evening to celebrate the living room in Milan

The evening of 11 October thus celebrated a theater that has become an institution cultural and entertainment, which has seen alternating on its stage the great protagonists of acting and international music. A tribute to the living room in Milan.

An evening to celebrate the Milan lounge

The evening culminated in the concert of the Symphony Orchestra of Milan , conducted by Maestro Giuseppe Grazioli, who retraced the musical history hosted over time in the historic theater: from opera to jazz passing through the notes of Ennio Morricone.

The red carpet among the red armchairsA succession of well-known faces tread the red carpet: from

Paolo Berlusconi to Cristina Parodi, from Federica Panicucci to Martina Colombari. And then, many personalities from the world of Italian culture and entertainment: Carlo Buccirosso, Monica Guerritore, Alessandro Sallusti, Edoardo Sylos Labini, Luca Barbareschi, Gianfranco Jannuzzo, Debora Caprioglio, Elena Sofia Ricci, Corrado Tedeschi, Marco Columbro and many others.

The history of the Manzoni Theater

Since 1872 the Manzoni Theater, born in Piazza San Fedele with the name of Teatro della Commedia and entitled the following year to Alessandro Manzoni following his death, represents a fixed point in the cultural and social life of the city. Still but not immobile, thanks to the ability to renew its offer supporting, or rather anticipating, the taste and sensitivity of a city in constant movement and transformation.

Symbol of rebirth and renewal

Destroyed in the bombings allied to August of '43 , the Manzoni Theater was rebuilt to a design by the architect Alvizio Bergonzo with the intention to recover a certain idea of theater and to give it back a connotation and an adequate formal appearance: an architecture of twentieth century taste, with a timeless image and exuberant scenography to express the need to escape after dark periods.

A Milanese entertainment center

Inaugurated in 1950 in via Manzoni, part of a project aimed at creating a real Milanese entertainment center, hosting in the same building located in the Manzoni Gallery also a large cinema, a night and a shopping arcade. Today it is not surprising that the theatrical space, dedicated to the more traditional form of art, is the only space still active on site.

The different registers of acting

The great strength of Manzoni has always been that of being able to offer his audience the different registers of acting without ever distorting: from the prose of the great classical authors to brilliant comedy, from variety to cabaret, to musicals.

All the greatest protagonists of the stage have passed through Manzoni, from Eleonora Duse to Sarah Bernhardt , from Ruggero Ruggeri to Gramatica sisters from Eduardo Scarpetta to the brothers Eduardo and Peppino De Filippo. And then again Anna Proclemer, Monica Vitti, Giorgio Albertazzi, Gino Bramieri, Rossella Falk, Valentina Cortese, Mariangela Melato, Vittorio Gassman just to name a few.

The “living room of the Milanese”

In 1978 Silvio Berlusconi , through Fininvest , decided to take over its management, saving it from a certain and imminent transformation into a shopping center. The “living room of the Milanese” therefore experiences decades of great revival that see memorable productions on stage such as the Maria Stuarda directed by Maestro Zeffirelli.

Theater: the oldest and most wonderful form of entertainment

A long period that confirms the commitment to make the theater a real reference point for the city and the varied needs of its citizens, starting from the thirty-two years of the music of Aperitif in concertup to the investment in favor of children in a perspective, which sees the direction of Alessandro Arnone, general manager of the Manzoni Theater, of approaching children to the most ancient and wonderful form of entertainment.

Strategic place in the fashion and design circuit

Thanks to the targeted interventions made by Michele De Lucchi called by Ernesto Mauri to emphasize its charm, the Manzoni Theater continues its path of renewal - programmatic and planning, scenic and architectural - and constant rebirth integrating into the circuit of key events in the city, starting from fashion but above all from design.

In fact, it hosted the 100 + 1 anniversary dinner of Alessi with 140 people seated in the Gallery which inaugurated the events of the FuoriSalone 2022. And just the beginning, other special events are scheduled, such as exhibitions and installations.

The Manzoni Theater as a stage (also) for design

Among the most significant exhibitions of FuoriSalone 2022, Alessi 100-001 was staged at the Galleria Manzoni set up by the studio AMDL Circle by Michele De Lucchi .

To amaze the unusual setting: a series of installations forming a 'gallery of wonders' visible from the windows, which are back to come alive for the ' occasion.

The exhibition told the twelve founding values of the Italian Design Factory, represented by iconic limited edition products while a out-of-scale installation of Studio Temp presented a new project: the new cutlery designed by Virgil Abloh, the first project of the next 100 years.

An inclusive and participatory way to involve spectators and design actors

Specifically, the hall of the Manzoni Theater housed a selection of objects from the archive of Alessi, from the 1920s to the 1960s, along with a series of historical products from the British company Globe-Trotter.

Alessi 100-001 thus occupied, in a inclusive and participatory way, the entire Gallery designed by the architect Bergonzo in 1949. A new way to involve the spectators, because the theater is a stage for artists of all kinds, including design actors.

Read here about the Alessi 100-001


Other initiatives by Ernesto Mauri to celebrate and animate the city

I am honored and proud to be the president of the Manzoni Theater on the occasion of the celebration of its 150th anniversary, which it will celebrate not only with this concert but with other initiatives that will animate the cultural life of the citydeclared Ernesto Mauri.