The Theatre

The “Victor de Sabata” – or “Ridotto” at Teatro Verdi

More than two centuries after its first inauguration and after more than ten years of closure, the restored Hall of the Ridotto of the Teatro Verdi in Trieste was officially inaugurated by the Mayor of Trieste Roberto Dipiazza on 10 September 2004 with a public ceremony followed by an extraordinary concert by Maestro Uto Ughi. In November of the same year, on the occasion of the visit of the President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Trieste’s return to Italy, the Hall was named after the Triestine musician and conductor Victor De Sabata.

The Ridotto was built at the same time as the theatre itself in 1800 on the initiative of Giovanni Matteo Tommasini based on designs by Giannantonio Selva. It was built as a double-height rectangular room with free columns along the four sides, placed to support a continuous gallery; it extended to the rear façade of the theatre, onto which some windows opened. In 1882 Eugenio Geiringer reduced its size by removing about six meters towards the rear and almost five on the opposite side, to make room for other rooms and new stairs, but keeping the Ionic columns supporting the balcony. The decorations were renewed several times and the current appearance is thanks to Giacomo Zammattio who – presumably in 1926 – provided for the decoration with stuccos.

A venue for memorable public balls which started on the 27 December 1801, the Ridotto also hosted the Trieste City Council from 1861 until the construction of the Town Hall, whose meetings, partly public by regulation, could easily be followed from the gallery. It later had various uses, hosting political and cultural meetings.

The 2004 restoration returned a 220-seat hall to the Theatre and to the city, rebuilt down to the smallest details on the original, with the wooden colonnade painted in imitation ivory-coloured marble that surrounds the hall, the oak parquet, on the balcony the emblem of the halberd and other decorations inspired by the art of music. On the ceiling there are masks from the Greek tragedy and decorations of plaster muses; in the centre an imposing Murano glass chandelier and around it still panels decorated with floral motifs and gold leaf, in a harmony of colours from cream to ivory, to powder blue.

The Ridotto hosts part of the artistic activity of the theatre and is a highly prestigious venue for institutional events, cultural events and art exhibitions.

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