Mercoledi Musicale

Though not quite as famous as its counter-part in Vienna, the Concerto Capodanno at La Fenice in Venezia is a popular New Year’s Day celebration in Italy. And its presented in one of the loveliest opera houses in the world (second in my humble opinion only to San Carlo in Napoli). I’ve posted several times about  the senseless torching of La Fenice in1996 and its subsequent rise from the burnt out shell I recall seeing that same year.  Though there was much discussion – to the point of fisticuffs – about rebuilding to slavishly replicate the destroyed house the traditionalists won and the theatre was rebuilt in 19th-century style on the basis of a design by architect Aldo Rossi and using still photographs from the opening scenes of Luchino Visconti‘s 1954 film Senso, which was filmed in the house, in order to obtain details of its design.  I must admit that on my one visit there I tended to lean towards the side of the critics who complained that the colours were too bright – but perhaps with the passing of time and the neglect that is known in maintaining Italian opera houses it will acquire a dulling patina.  But even with its slightly faux air it is a lovely venue to celebrate the New Year.

This year’s concert left no doubt who’s bicentennial birth was being celebrated in 2013 – there was a bit of Rossini, a Tchaikovsky symphony but the main works were all Verdi – all the time.  This year the conductor was Sir John Eliot Gardner and the featured soloists Desiree Rancatore and Saimir Pirgu.  And during the Brindisi from La Traviata which traditionally brings every Concerto Capodanno to a close Italy’s premier danseur and poster boy that we all love Roberto Bolle strutted his stuff.

I’m not sure where the dance sequence was staged it – Laurent seems to think it is one of the grand hotels along the Lido. This year’s concert was peppered with dance numbers staged at various locales; though they gave us an opportunity to see some stunning interiors and an opening that showed our Roberto is as fit as a fiddle and ready for whatever they did seem a bit extraneous.

At last year’s concert under Diego Matheuz with Jessica Pratt and Walter Fraccaro toasting the New Year the dance sequences were filmed within La Fenice itself. There are some great shots of the main staircase and assembly rooms and that final shot on the Grand Canal gets me every time!

 A belated “Auguri” to my darling friends in Italy – I still miss you all very much.  Bacissimi e dopo!

02 January – 1976: The Gale of January 1976 begins, which results in coastal flooding around the southern North Sea coasts,

Give Google a Go

Most of you may have noticed that Google is currently testing a system for setting a time and date to have a post published. I’ve used it for a few things in the past week and it seems to work out just fine. But for the rest of the week I’m going to give it a real try-out.

Laurent and I are heading out to Venice tomorrow – or at least I hope we are as he seems to be coming down with the flu. We’re finally getting to attend a performance at the restored La Fenice Opera House – the last time we were in Venice, back in 2000, it was still under construction after the devestating fire. And I’m hoping we’ll be able to attend the Patriarchal High Mass in honour of San Marco on the 25th before we head off to Vincenza for the rest of the weekend. Plus we’ve made dinner reservations at Osteria Oliva Nera – our friend Mark recommended it and when I checked the website I realized we had eaten there ten years ago. I had forgotten the name and strangely had asked Laurent a few days before if he remembered it – and eccola two days later Mark mentions it.

I’ve set publishing dates and times on a few things – including this post which is scheduled to go up at 2300 Rome time. We’ll see how it works.

22 aprile – Santa Leonida

Parlo del Piu e del Meno

  • The people over at Hasbro-Parker Brothers are running a contest to choose city names for the new Global Monopoly. They’ve choosen 68 cities but the field has to be narrowed down to 20 by February 29, 2008. And you can add your favorite city for a wild card vote to be held the first week of March. At the moment Istanbul is leading the pack with Montreal a close second.
  • Laurent and I wanted to go up to Venice at the end of April to see Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Teatro La Fenice. As I have mentioned in previous posts we haven’t seen the rebuilt opera house and it would have been a nice break in one of our favorite cities in the world.

    I checked their website and seats where available. I followed the very specific instruction about ordering tickets by fax to the letter. When I hadn’t heard back from them by yesterday I thought I had best give a call to find out what was going on.

    Me: Could you tell me what is happening to my fax order?
    Them: We don’t know. We don’t process orders by Fax.

    Me: So why do you say you do on your website and even have a procedure set out?
    Them: We don’t know. We don’t process orders by fax

    Me: So the fax number on your website for tickets – who would have received my fax?
    Them: We don’t know. We don’t process orders by fax.

    Me: So someone there has a fax with all my credit card and personal information on it and could use it illegally.
    Them: We don’t know. We don’t process orders by fax.

    Real quick, someone tell me again about the romance of living in Italy!

  • Bev in KabulMy friend Bev works as a Security Officer with one of the NGOs in Kabul and she and I chat several times a week on Skype. A normal conversation with her can be punctated with comments like – “brb just got a text message about a bombing near one of our offices in the North”or “oh shit someone has been arrested I have to head off to the jail ttyl”. So I was not surprised when she told me she would have to visit the local brothels as research for a security report. What did surprise me is that the brothels in Kabul that cater to foreign “needs” are all located in Chinese restaurants????

    Yes I’ll have a General Tao Chicken, Shrimp Fried Rice and a side order of …..

  • The following quick calculation on the cost of a top price ticket may just explain why La Fencie is not taking Fax orders:

    At the Box Office: E150.00 (CAD 224.00)
    By Fax: E150.00
    By Telephone (10% Surcharge): E165.00 (CAD 246.00)
    On the Internet (27% Surcharge): E177.00 (CAD 264.00)

    As they say: Do the Math!

20 febbraio – San Eleuterio

Rising From the Flames – Part 3

The Reopening of La Fenice - 2003 Until I read the last chapter of The City of Falling Angels I had not realized that Enrico Carella had fled Italy after he lost his appeal. He was one of the two men charged with setting the La Fenice fire. His cousin is currently serving out his seven year sentence but until yesterday Carella had avoid his eight year term. Now according to an article in the New York Times he has been caught in Mexico.

Being Venice (actually being Italy) there are all sorts of conspiracy theories – Mafia, City Officials, corrupt Companies – some of which sound entirely plausible. But Berendt points out something he was told the first day he arrived in Venice:

Everyone in Venice is acting…. Venetians never tell the truth. We mean precisely the opposite of what we say.

Rising from the Flames – Part 2

I searched the Internet for a video of the La Fenice fire – I remember some very dramatic footage on a video at their temporary bookshop in Campo San Fantin – but was unable to come up with anything. However Venice Online has some dramatic pictures of the fire and the morning after – the English translation is a little odd but it is obviously written by someone who cared very much about the destruction of a part of their city’s history.

Having said that in the first two chapters of his book Berendt does capture the full impact of that January evening on the neighbors and the on-lookers – Venetians, ex-pats and visitors.