Monday, November 21, 2011

Venice: Palazzo Fortuny - Fortuny Mission Project

VENICE: Palazzo Fortuny - Fortuny Mission Project. The restoration of Mariano Fortuny’s theatres carries on….
A cocktail party was held at Palazzo Fortuny for the completion of the restoration of Mariano Fortuny’s Teatro delle Feste and Dipinti Dell’Atelier and the cry for help for the restoration of the Bayreuth Theatre and the Theatre Drawings Album. “THANK YOU” said Franca Coin president of the Venice Foundation “When you do something for Venice it bounces back at an international level.”  The thanks was directed to all the micro patrons who bought virtual seats to help restore the Teatro delle Feste to its full splendor.
The story:  In 1912, Mariano Fortuny, Gabriele D’Annunzio and Lucien Hesse designed the Teatro delle Feste, which was to be constructed at Esplanade des Invalides in Paris. Mariano himself built the model, based on their design, with his prodigious hands, inside the studio of the present-day Fortuny Museum where it is now exhibited in all its former glory.

The virtual seats: The restoration of the model of the Teatro delle Feste was financed through the booking of virtual seats.


The restoration team. In less than one year, Stefano Provinciali directed his team of restorers, Laura Folin, Gea Storace together with Francesco Rado who restored the electrical parts.  They will now be restoring the Bayreuth Theatre, which has to be ready for Wagner’s bicentennial in 2013 to commemorate the great German composer’s connections to Venice and the city of his death.

The Bayreuth Theatre # 1.  Since 1891 Mariano Fortuny was completely captivated by the allure of the staging of Wagner’s theatre, however many years passed before he concretely measured himself against the theatre experimenting at length with both lighting and technology and the preparation of scenographic sketches.  It was in fact starting with the realization of scenographies linked to the works of Wagner that this model was born in 1903.  Made of wood and metal and now kept in the atelier, it is a reconstruction of the layout and the risers of the setting of the German Bayreuth Theatre.  In addition, certain reduced scale lighting applications like the cupola or dome and indirect and diffused lighting techniques are visible.  This maquette is an intricate and complex system made up of small cables, electrical power transformers and light bulbs; of wings and scenes depicted on cardboard; of the cupola, an important stagecraft element of Fortuny’s reformist project.  These are all elements, which are in very poor state of preservation and must absolutely be restored.  The objective is that of being able to once again admire the captivating luminous effects projected onto the setting of this impressive theatre model, which was meticulously created by Mariano Fortuny’s skilled hands.  The dimensions of the model are: height 240cm, width 210cm and depth 170cm.

The Bayreuth Theatre # 2.  In a rare autobiographical recollection, Fortuny affirms: “All that I saw and heard kindled in me a desire to achieve new forms and new aspects that would enhance the general effects of the theatre:  I still remember certain details of The Rhine Gold scene that were dissatisfying to my youthful imagination.   The effect of the river in the distance was lacking in the effectiveness because of a bad light trick.”
Note: The scene above is for The Rhine Gold production.

HELP!!! – The Bayreuth Theatre # 3.  You can see for yourself the sorry state of the Bayreuth Theatre, which stands in one of the rooms of the piano nobile of Palazzo Fortuny crying for help.  It desperately needs restoring. Donations for the restoration of the model are inspired by certain Wagnerian works that Mariano Fortuny depicted in paintings and etchings: the Flower Maidens (E 200 $ 280) running after each other and playing in Parsifal: Wotan (E 100 $140), the King of the Gods found in the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung; Sieglinde (E 50 $ 70), Sigmund’s sister in The Valkyrie and finally Mime (E 25 $ 35), a character present both in The Rhine Gold and Siegfried. The names of the contributors, in the manner, which they themselves indicate, shall be included in the list of supporters of the restoration of the Bayreuth Theatre model. For more information contact The Venice Foundation.


Greetings.  The mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, the director of the Fortuny Museum, architetto Daniela Ferretti, the chairman of The Venice International Foundation, Franca Coin and the president of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Walter Hartsarich greeted guests at the cocktail party held at Palazzo Fortuny.  “Dear Friends,” Franca Coin writes in the Venice Foundation newsletter “ in 2013 we shall celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Richard Wagner.  There are many connections between the great German composer and Venice, a city that he visited six times.  During his first visit, in 1858, he worked on the composition of Tristan and Isolde, while he spent his final one, in 1882, at Palazzo Vendramin Calegi.  It was here that he spent the last six months of his life.  Yet there is another link which for us is very significant: even Mariano Fortuny - a man to whom the Venice Foundation has been dedicating the Fortuny Mission Project since 2010 for the restoration of great works - had since his youth been so fond of Wagner’s works that he created a model of the Bayreuth Theatre, so dear to Wagner, upon which to apply his brilliant technological innovations.   This model, which is kept at the atelier of Fortuny Palace Museum, was created by Mariano and now needs your generous contribution in order to be restored.  We must start right away because the restoration will be long, difficult and meticulous.  We would like to finish in time to contemporaneously celebrate the skill of Wagner and the genius of Fortuny.”

Theatre Drawings Album. Fortuny expert Claudio Franzini explains the Theatre Drawings Album and points out the sorry state it is in.

HELP!!! Also on the Fortuny Mission Project agenda is the restoring of the Theatre Drawings Album, an extraordinary and unique collection of drawings relating to studies and the scenic and lighting applications, which Fortuny designed in support of his complex and structured theatrical reform at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Worthy of note in this album are various drawings and sketches dating back to 1898 of scenographies of Wagnerian operas along with several architectural reliefs of the Bayreuth Theatre, but above all it is the first drawings of 1902, done in Paris, of the structure of the scenographic device commonly known as the “Fortuny Dome” and the system for the lighting of scenes with indirect and reflected light that are the most striking. This thick and bulky album gathers together an undefined but very consistent number of drawings, which are attached directly onto pieces of cloth. Given the poor preservative condition of the album, upon the completion of the restoration the individual insertion of each drawing into a double page with the inventory number on the outside is foreseen.

The restorer. Margherita Errera will be restoring the Fortuny Theatre Drawings Album.  She was also responsible for restoring Palladio’s drawings from the collection of the Musei Civici di Vicenza.

 Daniela Giussani, Giulia Venturini and Marialiusa Frisa

Fashionista, Cecilia Matteucci

The Fortuny Dinner. A dinner party for the Fortuny Mission Project was held after the cocktail party in a palazzo on the Gran Canal.

Adele Re Rebaudengo, Manfredi Bellati and Franca Coin

 Cesare de Michelis, Emanuela Bassetti and Tonci Foscari

Journalist Manuela Pivato who wrote one of twenty short stories in the book I Nuovi Veneziani (The new Venetians) curated by Caterina Falomo and published by Studio LT2.

Not on the menu. Hand blown Murano fruits sit in mid nineteenth century ceramic bowls.

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