We are delighted to announce that after much historic, archival and comparative research, we have been able to produce what we believe is the world’s first historically-informed reimagination of the Teatro San Cassiano in 1637 (credit Secchi Smith, our CGI partners).
The stage scene is from our co-production with The Castle Theatre, Český Krumlov of Antonio Gianettini’s L’ingresso alla gioventù di Claudio Nerone (Modena, 1692), adapted to fit the considerably smaller stage of the Teatro San Cassiano. Note the extra to the right and rear. He is too far back for the Teatro San Cassiano and thus appears slightly out of perspective. This serves to show how much of the action would have been concentrated in the proscenium area, not the deeper stage as we might see in modern productions.
Moreover, note just how close to the action the audience is. The Teatro San Cassiano of 1637 is arguably the most significant theatre in the history of opera, but it was tiny when compared to today. Until now it has been lost in time, but its reconstruction will deliver the only seventeenth-century theatre in the world complete with its own fully operational Baroque stage machinery, moving scene-sets, dei ex machina, special effects, and unique acoustic environment. It will have a capacity of 405 people over 153 boxes and five tiers, and a platea just six rows deep; performances will be intense, immediate, intimate; it will be an undeniable artistic, cultural and commercial force that cannot be experienced today. This will be opera rediscovered in its original context. This will be Venice celebrated as the birthplace of public opera.
The complete image is in fact a montage of images taken from historical sources, which we could identify at the time of completion as being similar to those we might apply when it comes to reconstructing the Teatro San Cassiano. For example, the wall-paper in the boxes is from a seventeenth-century Venetian fabric and so on. It is important to remember that this is a reimagining, not a statement of fact, even though every effort has been put into ensuring the sources of these images are historically correct.
The technology is very new and each item requires an original digital image to be copied and applied, not so easy when we have no original photographic sources. Indeed, in this respect the theatre itself will be easier to construct than this CGI. The picture is the work of Secchi Smith, our brilliant CGI partners. They have worked from architectural drawings prepared by our own Reconstructon Architect, Jon Greenfield (Director, Hamson Barron Smith), which are based on our earlier research, and then our team has sourced images which represent the theatre. The team was led by Paul Atkin and Stefano Patuzzi (Teatro San Cassiano) with historical accuracy overseen by Roberta Pellegriti (historic architect and consigliere of the Teatro San Cassiano) and archive research by Silvia Noca (researcher). Roberta and Jon will be keen to point out the columns should be Composite, not Corinthian. This will be rectified going forward. All data provided comes from historic and archival sources to help reimagine for the first time in history how the Teatro San Cassiano might have looked.
This historically-informed reimagining has a tremendous historic importance given that there are no drawings, no plans and no description of the original theatre. Other than the libretto for L’Andromeda, which describes the action on stage, there is no extant reference dating back to its first production. The joy of our research has been the extent to which we have been able to get this far and even more the knowledge of how much more we can achieve.