BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Entertainment: Arts
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Friday, 23 March, 2001, 12:27 GMT
Venice opera house restoration halted
La Fenice
La Fenice was one the world's most-loved opera houses
The long-delayed rebuilding of Venice's La Fenice opera house has been halted by the city's mayor.

The historic opera house, burnt down in January 1996, was supposed to have been rebuilt by the German-Italian consortium Holzmann Romagnoli by February 1999.

Recently the consortium asked for a further 30bn Lira (10m) to finish the work and also asked for penalty payments for lateness to be waived.

So much local and national prestige depends on rebuilding this theatre

John Millerchip, Venice in Peril

On 20 March Venice's mayor Paolo Costa decided that the project had taken too long and is once more offering the work out for tender.

Renowned

One the night of the 1996 fire, the then mayor Massimo Cacciari promised that La Fenice would be rebuilt within two years.

The building, which housed the first performance of Verdi's La Traviata and Rigoletto, was renowned for having one of the finest acoustics in the world.

After the fire, stars including Luciano Pavarotti and Woody Allen offered their support and fund-raising efforts were held worldwide.

La Fenice
It is five years since the fire
The first rebuilding contract went to Italian construction company Impregilo but after work had begun there was a legal challenge to the tender decision.

Circus tent

In February 1998 a court decision gave Holzmann Romagnoli the job, though another bidder's legal challenge further delayed the work.

The La Fenice company is still performing in a huge circus tent on the Venice docks.

The company's director Isaak Karabtchevsky said recently: "Each year that passes I am even less optimistic about the re-opening.

"I don't think it will happen in my lifetime."

But John Millerchip, a trustee of Venice in Peril told BBC News Online: "So much local and national prestige depends on rebuilding this theatre that sooner or later they will have to find the right road."

The London-based charity is one of the organisations that raised funds for the rebuilding, though to date the work has entirely been funded by the Italian government.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

09 Jan 01 | Europe
Venice overwhelmed by floods
02 Apr 99 | Europe
Venice opera inferno trial
24 Dec 97 | Despatches
Woody Allen marries secretly in Venice
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Arts stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Arts stories