Nine Years After Fire, Opera Returns to La Fenice

Classic Arts News   Nine Years After Fire, Opera Returns to La Fenice
 
Teatro La Fenice hosts a performance of Verdi's La traviata tonight, in the first operatic performance at the famed Venice opera house since it burned to the ground in January 1996.

Tonight's sold-out performance is conducted by Lorin Maazel, with Patrizia Ciofi as Violetta, Roberto Sacc_ as Alfredo, and the star baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Germont. Robert Carsen is the director.

The performance caps an odyssey of nearly a decade since the 1792 opera house burned down, when two electricians set a fire to to hide the fact that a renovation was behind schedule (the two workers, as well as officials from the city of Venice and La Fenice, were eventually given prison terms).

The reconstruction‹complete with the original inlaid floors and frescoed ceilings‹was originally scheduled to be finished in 1999. But in March 2001, with barely any work completed, the mayor of Venice fired contractors Holzmann-Romangnoli. A new contractor was eventually hired‹after some legal wrangling‹and work began again in late 2001, though further delay was caused by the unexpected discovery of historically significant artifacts on the site.

La Fenice officially reopened on December 14, 2003, with a gala concert conducted by Riccardo Muti, but after two weeks of celebratory concerts, the opera house closed again so that final work could be completed.


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