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In late October, I added another name to my list of Italian cities that are well worth visiting: Trieste!

Trieste is a small town that is very Viennese or rather very Austro-Hungarian, which combines the central European style with its Roman origins and the sea. A deep sea that embraces and gives it breath. A real little gem that deserves to be seen and appreciated.

What to do in Trieste? Going to the opera!

Trieste is relatively small and can be visited on foot: in the footsteps of the great writers who lived there, climbing the hill to discover the ancient Roman city that dominated the bay or walking along the seafront. Still, I will tell you about the Old Town another time.

Today, I want to tell you about what led me to Trieste, and I hope to lead you there: the Giuseppe Verdi Opera House.

The Giuseppe Verdi Theatre in Trieste

This amazing Italian theatre, a few steps from Piazza Unità d’Italia (the biggest square on a waterfront), was built in just over ten years in the late ‘700, according to a first draft by Giannantonio Selva, former designer of La Fenice in Venice, which dealt with the interiors before the takeover of Matthew Pertsch, inspired by his teacher Piermarini, the designer of the Teatro alla Scala. Like La Scala, it was inaugurated in 1801 with Salieri, Annibale in Capua.

The venue is absolutely sumptuous: gilding, red velvet, elegant boxes, a frescoed ceiling worth of the great international capitals, and a new treat for the audience, the Italian and English surtitles. What I call a real theatre!

In its first century, the theatre’s name changed several times: it opened as the New Theatre Royal and was later renamed Theater of Trieste, Teatro Grande, and Teatro Comunale. In 1901, right after the death of the Maestro of Busseto, the board named the opera house after him during the night.

During these two centuries, Teatro Verdi has witnessed important premieres and hosted the biggest names in opera, such as Antonino Votto, Maria Callas, Boris Christoff, Franco Corelli, Peter Maag, Marcelo Alvarez, and Juan Diego Florez. Unfortunately, it had lost a bit of its past lustre in recent years, like many other Italian theatres, but the new management has absolutely all the skills to bring the theatre up very high.

Another theatre pearl is the Ridotto (i.e., foyer) on the top floor. It is a beautiful rectangular venue with a wooden side colonnade, a stunning upper gallery, elegant oak flooring, a huge chandelier in Murano glass, and a ceiling decorated with masks of Greek tragedy and muses.

The Verdi Theatre’s opera season

On October 30th, I attended Don Giovanni’s opening night, opening the Verdi Theatre’s lyrical season and a new season for the theatre: new superintendent, new artistic project, and new life to this beautiful Italian theatre.

I couldn’t have missed it because the new superintendent, Stefano Pace, is a close friend I have worked with for many years. I am sure who will give new life to Trieste because of the direction of Allex Aguilera, another dear friend and colleague I admire, because of the scenes entrusted to Philippine Ordinaire, again a good friend and inspired artist and of course because of Don Giovanni! I’ve never had enough of Don Giovanni! 

The opera season of the Verdi Theatre in Trieste continued with a new production of Massenet’s Werther, which is always modern and intimate drama, much more affordable than the one romanticized by Goethe but equally engaging.

Next productions:

If you’re wondering why you should spend a night at the opera, I have given you these 8 excellent reasons! There could be many more, but these are just undeniable 😉

Don Giovanni

I did not attend the previous openings of the Verdi Theatre, but I can say that this one was very successful! I loved the sober lines of the set design that plunged the story into a De Chico-style space out of time. Still, I was emotionally charged with the costumes signed by William Orlandi and the exquisite choices of stage direction, enhancing the strength of the characters and the dominating emotions in complete harmony with Mozart’s score and Da Ponte’s libretto.

I also liked Gelmetti’s confident conduction and the valuable young cast! Particularly perfect the energetic Nicola Ulivieri in Don Giovanni, the expert Leporello by Carlo Lepore; the vocally agile and passionate Raffaella Lupinacci in the role of Donna Elvira ( which I’ll never get to understand!) and the remarkable voice of Raquel Lojendio singing Donna Anna.

A great opening night!

If you’d like to listen to Don Giovanni, I recommend this version with an exceptional cast conducted by von Karajan or this latest one with an amazing male cast conducted by Abbado.

Meanwhile, I leave you with “Finch’ han del vino” sung by Peter Mattei and directed by Haneke, one of my toughest, yet very satisfying professional souvenir …

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.