The "Victor de Sabata" Hall
After more than two centuries since the first inauguration and after over ten years of closure, the restored “Ridotto” Hall of the Verdi Theatre was officially opened by the Mayor of Trieste Roberto Dipiazza in a public ceremony on September 10th 2004. After the ceremony, an extraordinary concert took place, held by M° Uto Ughi, called to inaugurate the new life cycle of one of the most prestigious architectural and artistic masterpieces of our Town. Then, on November in the same year, another solemn ceremony took place at the presence of the Italian Republic President, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, on the occasion of the 50° anniversary of the return of Trieste to Italy. On that day, the Hall was named after the triestine musician and conductor Victor de Sabata.
The Ridotto was built together with the theatre in 1800 on the initiative of Giovanni Matteo Tommasini and on Giannantonio Selva’s drawings; it was built as a two-storey rectangular room with free-standing columns along the four sides, placed to support a balcony.
The decorations were renewed several times until Giacomo Zammattio created the actual stucco decorations – about 1926.
Structure and size are not original. The room, in fact, took up all the space to the rear façade of the theatre, on which opened a few windows. In 1882 Eugenio Geiringer reduced the size of about six metres on the back side and almost five on the opposite side, giving space to new rooms and stairs, but keeping the ionic columns supporting the gallery.
Since December 27th 1801, the Ridotto was seat of memorable public and noble balls; and since 1861 until the building of the City Hall, it hosted also the City Council, whose sittings, in part public by Regulation, could be easily followed by the gallery.
Later it had various uses, hosting political and cultural meetings.
With Dino Tamburini’s project and Andrea Benedetti’s related changes, the restoration of the Ridotto gave back to the Theatre and to the Town a 225-seat Hall, rebuilt, in the smallest details, on the original one, with the wooden colonnade that surrounds the fake ivory-coloured marble, the oak parquet floor, with the columns, the capitals and the halberd coat of arms.
Upstairs, the balcony is surrounded by a balustrade; on the ceiling, masks of the Greek tragedy and plaster decorations of muses. In the middle, an impressive Murano glass chandelier and, all around, hand-decorated panels with gold leaf, in a harmony of colours from cream to ivory, to blue powder.
The Ridotto Victor de Sabata, which returns to be part of the Town artistic heritage, is a place of great prestige for public, institutional and cultural events, art exhibitions and a part of the Theatre artistic activity beside the opera and symphonic one hosted in the main Hall.