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Restoration and renovation work

The Teatro Grande underwent extensive restoration and rebuilding over the centuries, as is common for important monuments that require continuous intervention. The final aspect and layout of the Theater were achieved in the 1930s while the subsequent works were merely limited to preservation projects which did not alter the building structure. One of the main reasons for this fragility lies in how the rooms were designed: the choice of materials that are not very resistant to aging such as papier-mâché, painted wood, plaster, and canvas requires continuous care and careful precautions to prevent fires.

Notwithstanding the numerous completed projects, there is still a waitlist of to-dos. Preserving this wonderful city building is a goal to be committed to.

 

THE RESTORATION OF THE RIDOTTO

Started in 2013, the restoration of the historic Ridotto of the Teatro Grande was divided into three major lots, the last of which began in January 2017 and was completed at the end of August 2019. The subject of this final tranche was the completion of the restoration of the wall paintings and stucco.

In continuous discussion with the Brescia Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio, work continued on the recovery of the original 18th-century palette, stripping the surfaces of Tagliaferri’s layers of color with careful descialbo. In the loggia, painted wall and ceiling surfaces that were no longer visible after postwar painting and maintenance were brought back to light. All the frescoed surfaces, after the descialbo phase, were in an advanced state of deterioration, so the subsequent phases of consolidation, cleaning and plastering of the gaps proved to be very articulate and complex.

An important intervention, therefore, that the Teatro Grande Foundation shared step by step with the Accademia Santa Giulia, which was entrusted with the entire project thanks to a framework agreement signed with Gruppo Foppa. Conviction of both prestigious city realities was from the beginning the desire that the Ridotto could also be transformed into a training space for young restorers, and so it was: the students of the fourth and fifth years of the Restoration course worked in a real “worksite school”, guided in the practical-methodological phases by Prof. Elisa Pedretti and Prof. Alberto Fontanini, with tutors Maria Grazia Marchesini and Laura Cotelli.

The restoration of the Ridotto was completed with two other valuable minor interventions: the recovery of the balustrades of the first floor and the recovery of the doors of the Cafe del Teatro Grande.

At the end of the works, there are about 1000 square meters of surface recovered with an extraordinary result that finally returns to its ancient splendor one of the artistic wonders of the city, among the few Italian testimonies of Venetian Rococo painting applied to a theatrical structure.

 

THE RESTORATION OF THE SALA DELLE STATUE

One hundred and sixty years after its creation and in view of Bergamo Brescia Capitale Italiana della Cultura 2023, the Teatro Grande Foundation launched in June 2022 the site for the restoration of the Sala delle Statue, in collaboration with the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the provinces of Bergamo and Brescia.

The Sala delle Statue of the Teatro Grande architecturally and historically has always performed two fundamental functions: even today, in addition to being the entrance to the theater, it also serves as an antechamber for the Ridotto and the Sala Grande and, therefore, also constitutes a distribution area between the main rooms of the theater structure.

The conservative restoration work involved the antisala in its entirety, including also the surfaces of the two vestibules attached to the Sala and the large vault above. The work, which lasted until December 2022, made it possible to bring to light the ancient 18th-century coffered decoration covering the vault of this first room of the building, which has become visible again more than 150 years after it was covered.