Raffaello de Banfield was born on the 2nd of June 1922, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
He studied in Switzerland and Italy; then studied music in Venice under the tuition of Gianna
Francesco Maliero, in Trieste under Vito Levi, and in Paris under Henri Bassera and Nadie
In 1949 he wrote ‘The Battle’, a choreographical poem, which was first staged in London,
and following that in Paris and New York. The expanded version of this ballet was called
‘The Duel’, and was choreographed by George Balanchin. The number of times both versions
have been staged has already reached two thousands in total.
In 1955 the premiere of Mr. De Banfield’s single-act opera ‘Lord Byron’s Love Letter’ took place
at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, and just 2 years later his ballet ‘Quartet’ was presented at the
Monte Carlo Opera Theatre, following which it was included in the repertoire of M. Bejarre’s
His ballet ‘Agostino’, based on the book by Albert Moravia, was performed for the first time in
1958 at the Festival of Ballet in Nervi (Genoa), and at the ‘Villa Olmo’ International Festival in
Como in 1961 he presented his opera ‘Colloquio col tango’.
1965 saw the premiere of his opera ‘Alissa’, in Geneva’s Grand Theatre.
In 1977 the unveiling of a new work took place in London’s Royal Concert Hall –‘For Ophelia’,
a dramatic stage concert with Shakespearean dialogue, and Kiri te Kanawa in the leading role.
The accompaniment was provided by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of
Sir John Pritchard.
In Brussels in 1986 he premiered a new spectacle, ‘Vier Rilke Lieder’, for soprano with orchestral
The productions of Raffaello de Banfield have also been performed in Canada, Italy, Spain,
Germany, Austria, and Greece.
Mr. De Banfield was Artistic Director at the Verdi Theatre in Trieste from 1972 to 1996, and also
at the Spoleto Festival between 1978 and 1986.
He is a ‘Grand Ufficiale’ of the Republic of Italy. In February 1994, François Mitterand bestowed
upon him the title ‘ Grand Cavalier of the Legion of Honour’.