The restoration by Miozzi and Barbantini
Evoking an imaginary eighteenth century, the Theatre newly restored by Meduna harked back to the myth of a happy and forever departed age, when Venice was still a great city of art and culture. Thus the rich auditorium of the Theatre could give the spectator the momentary illusion of reliving that glorious past, allowing him to escape from the reality of the profound crisis and decline that the city was in fact dramatically experiencing. The Theatre that was inaugurated in December 1854 was practically the same as the one that was destroyed in the recent fire.
All that remains to record are a few significant changes made by Lodovico Cadorin between 1854 and 1859 to the rooms on the piano nobile and the stucco-work on the staircase leading up to the Sale Apollinee, whose traces were in any case destroyed in the 1937 restoration.
Further work was done shortly after Venice joined the Kingdom of Italy, when, although a little belatedly, it was decided, in Risorgimento spirit, to celebrate the sixth centenary of Dante’s birth by frescoing the walls of a room in the Fenice with six episodes from the Divine Comedy and painting an allegorical composition on the ceiling with a bust of the poet being crowned by Italy. This work was attributed to Giacomo Casa and in 1976 was covered by paintings by Virgilio Guidi.
When the Autonomous Board was constituted in 1937, a general renovation was decided, accepting Engineer Eugenio Miozzi’s project for the architecture, and Nino Barbantini’s for the decoration.
The land-foyer was extended, reproposing Selva’s architectural structure. The frescoes were eliminated in some of the upper rooms, which were decorated with stucco fasciae in neo-classical style and furnished with Imperial-style furniture.
In the 1937 restoration, the only changes made to the auditorium concerned the entrances to the stalls, which were replaced by a grand doorway under the Royal Box, then adorned with a large Savoy coat-of-arms.
When the Republic was proclaimed, the royal coat-of-arms made way for the Lion of St. Mark.
adjusted on basis of the book of
Manlio Brusatin, Giuseppe Pavanello, Il Teatro La Fenice, Venezia, Albrizzi 1987, p. 125-135