Staff scenographers were called upon to apply their art to the interior

Staff scenographers were called upon to apply their

This preview shows page 144 - 148 out of 280 pages.

century. Staff scenographers were called upon to apply their art to the interior decorations of the auditoriums, which were usually refreshed every twenty years. On the night of 13 December 1836, a fire gutted La Fenice. Before the cinders were cool, engineer Tommaso Meduna had prepared the cost estimates for its reconstruction. Because questions of acoustics and sight lines had been resolved in Selva’s original 144 the architecture of modern italy
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design, the idea of rebuilding the essential horseshoe-shaped hall went unquestioned. Niccolini had proceeded similarly after the last San Carlo fire.Tommaso brought in his brother, Giambattista Meduna, a trained architect who improved the access stairwells and corridors, lowered the box partitions, and introduced new ventilation systems. Eventually the stage’s oil lamps were substituted with gas, improving safety but altering the quality of the light on the scenes and in the auditorium. In 1853, not two decades after reconstruction, another competition was held to redecorate La Fenice’s interior once again. The style, according to the program, was not as important as its effect, which was to be a splendidezza di ornamenti . Giambattista Meduna’s winning project covered Selva’s neoclassical framework—which Meduna himself had rebuilt sixteen years earlier—with a lacy veil of frivolity. Like all the period’s theater interiors, it was unabashedly modish, wearing its neo-rococo pinks and blues with the aplomb of a guest at a costume ball. No one imagined that this delightful cream puff might last long until another confection would be whipped up to take its place, but it survived to the end of the twentieth century.The essential features of Romanticism were thoroughly explored on the lyric opera stage, and the crossover of scenographers into the field of architecture fostered a remarkable evolution of architecture in the nineteenth century toward patently scenographic methods and effects. Scenographers created illusions that explored the sublimity of natural phenomena, emotive energies, and evocative moods.The content of the dramas to which the scenographer’s art gave form were by and large romances: historical dramas not of mythic gods and allegories but tales of heroism, love, adventure, and tragedy based on Italian medieval legends. Crusaders and figures from Dante made many appearances.The genre of Romantic drama gave voice to a bourgeois society just now gaining its self-consciousness by drawing on allusions to national origins and local heroism.The power of music helped overcome political and regional barriers. Most regions of the divided peninsula were represented on the opera stage, from I Lombardi to I Vespri Siciliani . Specific historical events and places were seen: the Venetian arsenal, Milan’s Romanesque churches, medieval 145 the challenge of tradition, 1750–1900
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the architecture of modern italy 3.8 Giambattista Meduna,Teatro La Fenice,Venice, interior redecorations, 1853–54
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castles, Renaissance palaces.Verdi was the most frequently performed
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  • Spring '17
  • Archt. De Veyra

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