How does one do justice to a building that is far more than its constituent materials, a building that is a vessel of myth, an embodiment of the dreams and legends of a city and a culture? The living reputation of the Gran Teatro La Fenice was assured from its opening in 1792. It was destined to be exceptional. Unbelievably ornate, an artwork in its own right, it has played host to the widest possible range of creative activity. From the operas of Verdi and Rossini to the postmodern dance theatre of Pina Bausch, with two centuries of music along the way, it has seen it all and made it great. And the huge fire of 1996 that levelled the building once again is just another step on the journey. The Phoenix will rise again, as before. And this volume, magnificent itself, explains how and why. It offers a full history of the Gran Teatro in words and pictures, with stills from the great productions, set designs, elevations, stories of the celebrities, singers and composers, alongside stunningly reproduced old engravings and up to the minute reportage on the recent blaze. A book world that will endure.