The "de Banfield-Tripcovich" Theatre
One of the buildings that host the activity of the Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste was the de Banfield-Tripcovich Theatre, until December 31st 2018, when it was returned to the Municipality of Trieste. It has been built in 1992, when the local disused Bus Station, located in Largo Santos, has been turned into a theatre venue. It’s very close to the railway station, the Old Port entrance, the city centre and the Verdi Theatre itself.
At the beginning of the 90’s the Verdi Theatre needed to be urgently restructured and so, to continue the opera activity and thus avoiding the closure, an alternative venue had to be find as soon as possible. The provisional venue was identified right in the Bus Station, disused and provided with a wide parking. The restoration started in June 1992. Dino Tamburini followed the procedures; Andrea Viotti realized the artistic project; Franco Malgrande headed the construction and Giorgio Sforzina the structural analysis.
The original structure of the Bus Station, built in 1936 by the engineers Baldi and Nordio, has been fully respected. It consisted of two parts: a rectangular one, for the stop and transit of the buses; a semi-circular one, for the passengers’ facilities (ticket office, luggage storage, bar, etc.). It is one of the first building in Trieste made with reinforced concrete.
The renovation turned the building into a Hall appropriate to the needs of a theatre, with a stage area provided with upper structures (grid) and lower structures (pit, instruments storage); a parterre area with 934 seats, furnishing and decorations; areas for stage and audience services (foyer, toilets, box office, bar, dressing rooms, etc.).
Besides, the Hall was equipped with modern technological systems and its very good acoustics have favoured its new function, both for concert and stage performances. The perfect visibility from each seat, then, has been very important for ballet shows.
The Hall, now called de Banfield-Tripcovich Theatre, was built in only six months, with an effort that involved all the Verdi’s workers and opened on December 16th 1992. Being almost a miracle of timing and professionalism, it earned the Verdi Theatre the prestigious “Premio Abbiati”.
During the period of restoration of the historical building, up to May 1997, it’s been a solid refuge and a “certainty” for the existence and the continuity, both work and artistic, of the Verdi institution.
On June 2008, testimonial the great Uto Ughi, the Theatre has been dedicated to Raffaello de Banfied: composer, musician, artistic director at the Verdi Theatre for more than 26 years, a symbol of the cultural life “in and of” Trieste and, moreover, a great patron. In fact, in the moment of need, he didn’t hesitate a moment in supporting the project of restoration of the Bus Station, granting, through the historic shipping company Tripcovich (born from his family’s strain), the major contribution to the financial cover of the operation, alongside the contributions by Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Municipality of Trieste.
On the stage of the de Banfield-Tripcovich Theatre there were debuts and confirmations of great artistic value. We can remind the last concerts conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck conducted by Peter Maag, the première of Signorina Julie by Antonio Bibalo, Mass in B minor by Bach; the debut of Chinese conductor Lü Jia (now worldwide known, conducting at Arena di Verona as well as Beijing, he started very young in Trieste as rookie conductor), the debut of José Cura and Juan Diego Florez; the voices of Marcelo Alvarez, the Korean Sumi Jo and Giovanni Furlanetto; the productions of Tristan und Isolde and La damnation de Faust; the ballets of Victor Ullate, Roland Petit and Carla Fracci; the recitals by Ute Lemper, Giuliette Greco and Zizi Jeanmarie; the Italian première of Cabaret, West Side Story, the shows of the International Operetta Festival, directed by Gino Landi and played by famous artists as Daniela Mazzucato; the debuts of the musicals produced by Compagnia della Rancia, from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers to Grease, from Singing in the rain to Hello Dolly!, etc.
And, even after 1997, until 2018, every year in the de Banfield-Tripcovich Theatre there were many other shows, concerts, ballets, operas, plays and shows for students.