La Fenice, Chandelier, Frescoes and Sculpture
La Fenice, Chandelier, Frescoes and Sculpture, 2003
On 29 January 1996 the opera house was devastated by fire and funds poured in from around the world to assist with its reconstruction.
Venice in Peril launched a special appeal on 31 January 1996 and, at the request of the authorities, its money was mostly used to finance an exact reproduction of the massive 12-branch chandelier made in Liverpool, designed by Giovanni Battista Meduna, architect for the reconstruction of the theatre after a previous fire in 1836. The chandelier, of gilded bronze with flowers and decorative elements in porcelain, with 166 lights, was faithfully copied by the specialist lighting firm, Beby, in Piombino Dese, between Venice and Castelfranco. In addition, Venice in Peril financed the restoration of some of the few artistic pieces that escaped destruction: seven frescoes in the lunettes above the water entrance at the rear of the opera house and a stone carving of the phoenix nearby. The heat had caused the plaster surface of the monochrome frescoes, painted by Sebastiano Santi in 1837, to sag away from the brick support.