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La Fenice

Giannantonio Selva

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Important events

(detail)1789 | architectural competition

architectural competition

Since access to the theatre was primarily by water, the announcement recommended that the designers should design an entrance from Rio Menuo at least twenty feet wide, since the gondola, the main form of transport, measured thirty-two. Participants were Pietro Checchia, Pietro Bianchi, Andrea Bon, Cosimo Morelli, Giuseppe Pistocchi, Daniele Danieletti, Sante Baseggio.

(detail)16.5.1792 | opening
The first theatre was opened with an opera by Giovanni Paisiello entitled I giuochi d'Agrigento (libretto by Alessandro Pepoli).
(detail)26.12.1837 | opening of the second theatre
In December 1836, the theatre was destroyed by fire. Rebuilt to a design by the Tommaso and Giovanni Battista Meduna.
(detail)29.1.1996 | conflagration

(detail)14.12.2003 | opening of the third theatre
The theatre was rebuilt in the 19th-century style on the basis of a design by architect Aldo Rossi. Opened with an inaugural concert of Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky.


Daniele Luigi Danieletti |architect - participant of the competition
(detail)Cosimo Morelli |architect - participant of the competition

Cosimo Morelli, Italian architect, was born and died in Imola in 1732-1812. He was a representative of neo-Renaissance current in architecture, and executed works as: Theatre (1779-1780) and Duomo (1781) in Imola, and some other works in Fermo and Macerata. His most famous creation is Palazzo Braschi in Rome (1790-1804), with a facade inspired by Renaissance tradition.


IN: http://rometour.org/morelli-cosimo-1732-1812.html

More theatres

Andrea Bon |architect - participant of the competition
Pietro Bianchi |architect - participant of the competition
Giuseppe Pistocchi |architect - participant of the competition
Pietro Checchia |architect - participant of the competition


The opera house of Venice, the Fenice, was one of the last buildings to be erected by the old republic before it lost its independence for ever. Commissioned in 1788, it was completed by 1792. Its architect, Antonio Selva, was faced with a cramped, irregular site which precluded monumental planning. His solution was to separate the stage-auditorium section almost entirely from the ceremonial rooms, and to scale down the facade until it seems to promise little more than a rather lavish private house (there is also a canal entrance for those arriving by gondola). Within these limitations he was strikingly successful, and in fact they proved a blessing in 1836 when the fire which destroyed the main building was effectively prevented from spreading to the vestibules. Selva's auditor¬ium had been soberly Neoclassical. The reconstruction by the Meduna brothers retained its basic form but substituted an exuberant neo-Baroque style of decoration.


In: Tidworth, Simon : Theatres: An Illustrated History. London 1973 p. 145- 147



Author: Simon Tidworth

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