Built between 1846 and 1852, the theatre was dedicated to Queen Maria II of Portugal, who reigned from 1834 until her death in 1853. The theatre has been an integral part of Portuguese culture ever since its opening, hosting some of the country’s most renowned theatrical performances.
Located on Rossio Square, the building was designed by Italian architect Fortunato Lodi with a neoclassical style reminiscent of Italian Renaissance palaces. It features two main facades: one facing Rossio Square and another facing Terreiro do Paço square. Both are decorated with allegorical sculptures representing drama, music, poetry, and dance; alluding to the performing arts that take place within its walls. Inside it has three levels surrounded by four Corinthian columns as well as a grand staircase leading up to them – both elements adding to its majestic look.
The auditorium itself can accommodate 1 080 people and is adorned with frescoes depicting scenes from Greek mythology such as Apollo playing his lyre for Muses or Jupiter punishing Mars for his crimes against humanity – making it quite unique compared to other European theatres at that time which usually had simpler decorations inside their halls (such as plain curtains). Furthermore, there is also a royal box located above stage level where members of royalty used to sit during shows – although this space is no longer available due to safety reasons, nowadays, visitors can still admire it from afar while they attend any performance taking place at this iconic venue.
Throughout history many famous actors have graced this stage such as Sarah Bernhardt or Eleonora Duse; but perhaps one of the most memorable moments happened when Amália Rodrigues performed here for first time back on April 17th 1953 – becoming an instant success among audiences who were mesmerized by her voice. Today, Queen Maria II National Theatre continues offering cultural experiences like plays operas ballets concerts etc., keeping alive traditions that have been passed down through generations over centuries past.