Founder investors will fund the theatre using the original 17th century business model

The bid to rebuild Teatro San Cassiano, the world’s first public opera house, based in Venice, which opened its doors in 1637, launches this evening at Banqueting House, London. The project is calling on investors to form a very special members’ club:the Accademia dei fondatori (1637) to fund the venture. The premise? Write Your Name into Opera History.

Spearheaded and funded until now by English businessman and musicologist, Dr Paul Atkin, the mission will not seek government funding and will instead be entirely privately funded. It will use a historically-informed model to fund the reconstruction of the Teatro San Cassiano, which has its origins in the seventeenth century when opera theatres were financed by box holders who purchased the rights to their chosen box ‘off plan’ – so, in advance of construction.

By utilising this seventeenth century business model the Accademia dei fondatori (1637) will honour both the history of Teatro San Cassiano and the great Italian tradition of supporting freethinking intellectuals of the era.

The entry level is a £1m investment per box allocation and there will be no limit on the number of boxes that can be held. The project gives founder investors the opportunity to be part of a unique and historic legacy - where they will get the chance to play a decisive role in the restoration of the world’s first public opera house and bring historically-informed Baroque opera to Venice.

Each founder investor will have the option to become a shareholder and, amongst other benefits: receive legacy and founder status, have their name displayed in perpetuity on a specially commissioned founder’s wall, box holder naming rights, access to the historic first night and free tickets as well as private and privileged ticket and special event access.

Paul Atkin, CEO and Founder said: “Today, Italy and Venice – which gave the world opera, find themselves without a single commercially active Baroque opera theatre with working period stage machinery and scene sets. Venice does not have the ability to stage ‘Historically Informed Performance’ (HIP) Baroque operas; in fact, there are no professionally active Baroque opera houses anywhere in the world. This reconstructed 1637 theatre will go to the heart of addressing the need for precisely the type of small intimate theatre that shaped the development of opera in Venice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There is and will only be one Teatro San Cassiano and this is a truly unique opportunity to be an integral part of a living legacy.”

The project has a number of clear objectives in mind, namely to:

- Reconstruct the original Teatro San Cassiano of 1637 by marrying together the latest research with traditional craftsmanship to deliver a fully functioning and historically-informed Baroque opera house

- Restore HIP Baroque opera to Venice establishing Teatro San Cassiano as a world renowned centre for the exploration and staging of HIP

- Realise the Teatro San Cassiano’s unique historical value to deliver a commercially viable, independent company with significant long-term growth opportunities which will serve as a much needed sustainable alternative for Venice.

As the only fully active Baroque opera theatre in the world, the appeal will be significant. Its emblematic status, location and operating model will create a perfect union between artistic and commercial success which will not only benefit the art form itself but also Venice as a destination - its cultural legacy and a future tourism model which has higher yields alongside a lower impact.

Atkin continued, “Teatro San Cassiano will be the embodiment of history in action. It will do for Venice and Baroque Opera what Shakespeare’s Globe has done for London and Shakespeare. The reconstructed theatre’s innate historical, cultural and musical significance in the heart of one of the world’s most popular destinations will make it an incomparably iconic and prestigious home for Baroque opera, attracting the world’s greatest conductors, singers and musicians. Quite simply – it will, at once be a living legacy to the glorious heritage of Venice as well as looking to the future to re-establish the city as the world’s leading centre for Baroque music.”


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