The Teatro La Fenice, one of the largest in Italy, was created by Antonio Selva from 1790. Repeatedly destroyed and risen from its ashes like the mythological bird whose name it bears, it is today the main lyric theater of the lagoon city and the Venetian headquarters of Italian musical excellence.
Teatro La Fenice History
La Fenice Theater is the main opera house in Venice and one of the most elegant Italian theaters. It is located in the San Marco district in the San Fantin field. It was built in the years 1790-92 on behalf of the Noble Society of the Palchettisti by the neoclassical architect Giannantonio Selva who presented to the jury a pattern of decoration in its wooden model still preserved today. Numerous polemics accompanied the project because of its location and the rationalist and neoclassical structure and the leavening of expenses compared to the initial 400,000 ducats budgeted did nothing but increase the controversy. On May 16, Festa della Sensa, the theater was officially inaugurated with "I giuochi d'Agrigento" by Giovanni Paisiello with a libretto by Pepoli.
The theater suffered a traumatic destiny: twice it burned and twice, just like the mythical and immortal bird, it rose from its ashes: December 13, 1836 was almost completely destroyed by the flames, only a part of the entrance was saved and perimeter walls. It was immediately rebuilt on the model of the original by the engineers Tommaso and Giovanni Battista Meduna.
During the nineteenth century it was home to numerous first performances of operas by great Italian authors such as Gioachino Rossini (Tancredi in 1813 and Semiramide in 1823), Vincenzo Bellini (I Capuleti ei Montecchi in 1830 and Beatrice di Tenda in 1833) and Giuseppe Verdi (Ernani in 1843, Attila in 1846, Rigoletto in 1851, La Traviata in 1853 and Simon Boccanegra in 1857). Just La Traviata, at first, was soundly whistled by the public of the Phoenix, in spite of the enormous success gained in the following years.
In November 1859 the Emperor of Austria Francesco Giuseppe and his consort Sissi attended the La Fenice Theater, where years before, entire central boxes had been gutted to make room for a single, large royal box. Innovation copied from other theaters built by princes and monarchs, but absolutely not planned at the time of the Serenissima Republic, under whose dominion the theater had arisen.
The theater was also the place where Vittorio Emanuele III and Elena of Montenegro met for the first time.
On January 29, 1996, a second, devastating arson destroyed the theater, temporarily closed due to maintenance work. The fire engaged the firefighters all night. The whole world cried the loss of one of the most beautiful theaters in the world, from the extraordinary acoustics, but from the pain of loss was born the desire to rebuild it inspired by the motto "as it was, where it was", taken from the reconstruction of the bell tower of San Marco.
The interiors, which were richly decorated with stuccos and gildings of the finest quality performed in different eras and by different artists, have been restored thanks to the intervention of excellent craftsmen who have been able to reproduce almost completely the ancient decorations and furnishings lost. This is how the opening week of the theater took place between 14 and 21 December 2003, with the presence of the then President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at the first concert, directed by Maestro Riccardo Muti.
The theater, outside of its institutional activity, can be visited by the public by appointment, a truly unique experience, which allows you to know the multiple background of its halls and the many protagonists who have trod them.