Fenice Opera House Venice

The Gran Teatro La Fenice is a world-famous opera house in Venice. It owes its name to the fact that it repeatedly needed to be rebuilt after having burned down. Famous operas such as “La Traviata” and “Rigoletto” saw their premieres in La Fenice.

La Fenice Opera House Venice

History and description

Fenice Opera House Venice (1837 painting)
The interior of La Fenice in 1837.

The very first version of the opera house was called Teatro San Benedetto. After it burned down, work began on the new opera house in 1790. The construction took two years. It was decided to name the new building after the mythological bird known to rise from its own ashes.

The first opera to be performed there was “I Giochi di Agrigento” by Giovanni Paisiello. At that time, a visit to the opera was still quite normal among all sections of the population. La Fenice itself was one of the most popular opera houses to show new works to the public. Many famous composers therefore had the premieres of their works held in Venice.

In 1836 the theater burned down again, but the architects Tommaso and Giambattista Meduna managed to rebuild it in about a year.

During the World War I there were no performances at La Fenice, but after the war the opera house continued to show the works of new composers.

In 1996 the theater was set on fire by two electricians. In 2001, rebuilding began. The architect Aldo Rossi tried to imitate as closely as possible the 19th century theater designed by the Medunas. Two years later, the first operas were performed.

La Fenice Opera House Venice

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