Learning English - Words in the News
12 November, 2004 - Published 12:42 GMT
Venice opera house opens again
La Fenice, Venice's historic opera house which was destroyed by fire eight years ago, has reopened with a gala performance of Giuseppe Verdi's opera La Traviata. The first performance of Traviata took place in the same theatre one hundred and fifty one years ago. This report from David Willey:
It's taken eight years to rebuild Venice's opera house, the interior of which was completely destroyed while La Fenice was closed for repairs in a blaze which raged all night at end of January 1996. A court later sentenced two electricians to prison on charges of arson. A glittering gathering of celebrities and politicians attended the first opera performance in the reconstructed theatre.
The opera house was handed over by the builders nearly a year ago, but it's taken many months to install new stage machinery and to adjust the acoustics. Every detail of the original eighteenth-century building has been faithfully reproduced and state-of-the-art sprinkler fire protection and an underground freshwater reservoir have been installed to stave off any future disaster.
A seat in the stalls or in one of the elaborate boxes surrounding the horseshoe-shaped auditorium now costs nearly £700. But relatively few members of the first night VIP audience had paid for their tickets. Hundreds of tourists are now visiting the theatre each day, paying just over ten pounds to see the empty opera house.
David Willey, BBC News, Rome
a blaze which raged all night
to stave off