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The auditorium has the shape of a partially opened shell, its lines visibly converging on the stage. The descending stalls and the single tier of boxes allow a total capacity of 1592 seats.
The stalls, restored in 1996 to improve the acoustics, are composed of 29 descending rows and have a capacity of 1398 seats. The seats in the stalls, also involved in the restoration, are almost completely covered in red velvet, with the exception of the backs, which, like the walls and floor of the auditorium, are in beech wood.
The chandelier looks like an enchanting golden cascade laid out in a seemingly random way on a vast area of the vault. Composed of 1,762 stems equipped with light spots and 1,900 reflective stems in Perspex of various lengths, it has a total power of 70.5 KW, while each single light bulb is 40 W.
The auditorium is covered by a wooden dome in the shape of a shell. It has an original chromatic gradation that goes from ivory streaked with pale indigo to dark indigo. The ceiling, being the principal element responsible for the acoustics of the auditorium, was studied in every minimum structural detail by engineers specialised in acoustical physics. It is supported by a system of metal cables connected to the external structure in concrete.
Along the circumference of the auditorium there is a tier of 31 descending boxes. The largest, with a capacity of 18 chairs, is in the middle, situated at the highest point. The side boxes have room for 6 or 4 chairs, for a total of 194 seats.
The entrance to the boxes is mediated by the presence of a back area furnished with a mirror and coat rack. The descending line of boxes towards the stage allows complete visibility, facilitated by the slight displacement of the parapets, which turn progressively more towards the stage.
Between the ceiling of the auditorium and the concrete roof is an air space: a surreal ambient composed of cables and metallic cat walks. An entangled net of steel suspensions holds up the wooden dome and an amazing intersecting of cat walks reaches every corner of the airspace, making it possible to carry out any necessary maintenance work to the electrical, air and fire protection systems, avoiding direct contact with the delicate structure underneath.
From certain openings in the dome pass beams of light from large spotlights, called “occhi di bue”, from which strong cones of light are emitted which, crossing the length of the auditorium, hit specific points of the stage to throw objects or characters into relief.
Lighting control booth
The oblong window of the lighting control booth is placed in the area under the central box. From here, using a computerised system, the lighting circuits of the stage are regulated.
The booth is equipped with a mixer for special effects and two light mixers of 512 channels.
During performances, the lighting technician is in contact via audio with a musical collaborator who is backstage: in fact, even if the lighting effects are memorised during special rehearsals, the succession of lighting changes cannot be completely automated because musical tempos can change from performance to performance.
The orchestra pit is the space reserved for the orchestra and the conductor, and is composed of a section which is stationary – situated at a depth of 3 metres – and of a mobile floor which can be regulated to different heights, depending on the requirements of the stage. For concert performances the floor of the orchestra pit is raised to stage level.
Proscenium and curtains
The proscenium, also involved in the acoustical restoration of 1996, forms the structure that connects the auditorium to the stage. It is a square constituted by mobile elements that make it possible to frame the stage in different ways. The present proscenium, superimposed on Mollino’s original structure, is made up of two lateral mobile towers and the architrave above (arlecchino). There are three types of curtains: the Grand Curtain (red, opening horizontally), the Imperial or tableau curtain (green, opening towards the upper corners) and the safety curtain (white).