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Notre-Dame incendio, hope from the Italian restorer: "It will be possible to reconstruct everything"

He returned seven years later "as it was and where it was" the La Fenice theater in Venice after the fire of the night of January 29, 1996, which today seemed to revive in the dramatic images of Notre Dame wrapped in flames. Given the due proportions, for the religious symbol, even that of the Theater of Venice was a shock that spread from Italy to the world. A pain increased by the fact that the fire of the Fenice was certainly intentional: during maintenance works, even in that case, but caused by two electricians (later condemned) who wanted to avoid paying a penalty for the delays of their business. There were numerous controversies over the reconstruction of the theater, including scandals and new tenders. But in the end, on December 14, 2003, the Phoenix was reborn from the ashes, with a concert conducted by maestro Riccardo Muti. It took exactly 630 days for the company that won the reconstruction to return the theater to the city.

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One of the protagonists of the project was the Venetian sculptor and mask maker Guerrino Lovato, who with his firm, and others of support, completely rebuilt the Fenea cavea, all the wood, stucco and papier-mâché. "The theater that is now seen – explains Lovato – is mostly made of papier-mâché, and 20% wood, even the stages. Yes, because it must be like a 'violin' playing ". The only parts in plaster are the Neridi, the highest statues, and the cherubs of the royal box. The enterprise was that of «rebuilding an ancient theater», without there being photos of the 18th century decorations, or a separate graphic “substitute”. Thus Lovato first realized the designs of those decorations and those stuccos, "180 square meters of drawings, to bring back to the plan what had to be recreated three-dimensionally". Then the casts, in clay or plaster, of the decorations to be redone were produced. "In just one year – he recalls – we rebuilt 300 meters of ornaments and 12 figures from scratch."

"Not a copy – emphasizes Lovato – nor a forgery: the task was to 'evoke the previous theater'. Also because the charm of the patina of time is an atmosphere that only time can give back. A comparison between Fenice and Notre Dame is difficult for Lovato. «Here there was above all wood and papier mache, in Paris there is a cathedral made of stone and marble, there is certainly a detailed photographic documentation, you can do it all again». "Also because – he concludes – the French do not have the taboo of us Italians. They are not afraid in these cases to redo the old things exactly in style ».

Last updated at 22:12



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