Built in 1792 in Neoclassical style following a competitive public exam won by one of Canova’s friend, Giannantonio Selva, the theatre was at the time one of the many private theatres for theatrical and opera performing.
In December 1836 a big fire destroyed the inside structure that was rebuilt one year later just like a mythical bird rebirthing from the ashes.
In the 19th century, the theatre staged world premieres of numerous operas including Rossini’s Tancredi, Sigismondo and Semiramide, Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) and Beatrice di Tenda, Donizetti’s Belisario (Belisarius), Pia de’ Tolomei, Maria de Rudenz, Verdi’s Ernani, Attila, Rigoletto, La traviata and Simon Boccanegra.
With a seating capacity for over 1,000 people, the Fenice boasts excellent acoustics (which were improved when the theatre was rebuilt after the devastating fire of 1996), a 98-member orchestra and 66-person opera chorus, a dedicated local audience and a large international following. The theatre is a leading creative venue, staging more than one hundred opera performances per year, a major symphonic season conducted by prominent conductors from across the globe, the full cycles of symphonies by Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Mahler, a contemporary repertoire focused especially on Venetian artists such as Nono and Maderna, ballets, and chamber music concerts.