The Teatro Verdi was born with the name of Teatro Nuovo then in 1821 it was called Teatro Grande, in 1861, after its acquisition by the Municipality, it became the Municipal Theater and, on January 27, 1901, was consecrated to the name of Verdi a few hours after the death of the great composer, by resolution of the Municipal Deputation. It replaces the “San Pietro” Theater which for the whole eighteenth century had been the heart of the theatrical life of the city. On an area facing the sea, the fund behind the Old Dogana, between the Teresiano village, commercial and economic center and Piazza Unità, the political center of the city, Giovanni Matteo Tommasini, representative of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in Trieste, commissioned, between 1798 and in 1801, to the architects Giannantonio Selva (the same of the “Fenice” of Venice) and Matteo Pertsch, the construction of the theater. The structure is similar to that of the “Teatro della Scala” built by the architect Giuseppe Piermarini, including the portico leaning forward to attract the audience to the theater. On the façade the central portico has round arches and is surmounted by a band composed of Ionic semi-columns and windows.The statues inserted in niches in the main facade depict Pluto god of the underworld with the dog Cerberus on the left and Mars god of the war on the right. The sculptural group placed on the top of the building represents Apollo flanked by the Lyric Art (Talia, muse of comedy) and the Tragic Art (Melpomene, muse of tragedy). Between 1882-84 Eugenio Geiringer built the rear facade and the capacity of the hall was increased from the original 1400 to 2000 seats. In 1889 the gas lighting was replaced by the electric one.
The inauguration of the Theater, then owned by Count Cassis Faraone, a wealthy Cairo merchant, took place on 21 April 1801 with the performance of Simone Mayr’s Geneva of Scotland and Antonio Salieri’s Annibale in Capua. they achieved success on the Italian and European scenes and found a ready welcome in the Triestine theater crowded with an audience of enthusiasts and connoisseurs. In the autumn of 1813, the fleet of his British Majesty, at war against Napoleon Bonaparte, during the siege of the French troops barricaded in the castle of San Giusto, already under siege by the Austrians who arrived by land from the Karst, exchanged a large number with the castle. artillery fire during which others the church of San Giusto and various houses were hit, even the theater where 5 32-pound French cannonballs were stuck in its wall.
Rossini was given for the first time in Trieste with L’Italiana in Algeri (1816), Donizetti with L’Ajo nell’imbarazzo (1826) and Bellini with Il Pirata (1831). Verdi’s first opera was Nabucco (January 11, 1843), which was followed by all the others, almost always close to the premiere; two operas, indeed they were specially composed by Verdi for the Teatro Nuovo: Il Corsaro (25 October 1848) and Stiffelio. Great conductors have trodden the stage of the theater some glorious, such as Mahler, Strauss and Toscanini.
Most of the internal pictorial decorations attributed to Giuseppe Bernardino Bison, Alessandro Sanquirico, Placido Fabris, Giuseppe Gatteri and Tranquillo Orsi date back to the first half of the 19th century. The internal decorations still visible today were instead carried out by Austrian decorators in the 1880s.
It became a private law foundation in 1999 and is currently managed by the Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi Foundation in Trieste.