COSTA E SILVA, José da
(b. 1747, Lisboa, d. 1819, Rio de Janeiro)
Teatro São Carlos, Lisbon
Lisbon's new opera house was erected in just six months in 1793 due to the generous donations from the city's merchants. The coherently Neoclassical structure replaced the famous opera house of Giovanni Carlo Bibbiena on the bank of Tejo, which had been destroyed in the earthquake of 1755.
Costa e Silva looked to Italian models. For the exterior he chose the austere but dignified forms of the Scala in Milan - a rusticated ground floor with dramatically projecting portico - while the interior recalls the opera house in Naples, which also bore the name of San Carlo.
The Teatro de São Carlos signaled the arrival of Neoclassicism as the legitimate architectural style for buildings representing the interests of the middle classes.