“When I seek another word for ‘music,’ I never find any other word than ‘Venice.’ ”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, Nietzsche visited Venice in 1880 for seven weeks)
FINDING MUSIC IN VENICE A banner outside Palazzo Pisani announced a free jazz concert performed by students of the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello Venezia. Such serendipitous fun this was! My favorite bit was the rendition of Fly Me to the Moon, sung with just the right Italian accent.
The conservatory is named for Benedetto Giacomo Marcello (1686-1739). Marcello, an Italian composer, writer, magistrate, and music teacher, was born in Venice to a noble family. Although he studied with Venetian composers Antonio Lotti and Francesco Gasparini, his father wanted Benedetto to pursue a career in law. Benedetto combined law, public service and music in one lifetime. In 1711 he was appointed a member of Venice’s central government, the Council of Forty.
Marcello composed a wide range of music, including a wealth of church music, oratorios, many solo cantatas, duets, sonatas, concertos and sinfonias. Although younger than Antonio Vivaldi, their careers did overlap in Venice; it is said that his instrumental music has a Vivaldian flavor.
“Do not ask me to tell you much about Venice today. I am dreadfully overwrought as a result of the journey and, especially, of looking for an apartment.”
— from a letter, dated 1.September.1858, written by Richard Wagner to his wife, Minna
Wagner visited Venice often; he died here.
The Benedetto Marcello Conservatory of Music is housed in Palazzo Pisani off of Campo Santo Stefano in the sestiere of San Marco. Founded as the Liceo Civico e Società Musicale in 1867, the institute was legally turned into a conservatory by Gian Francesco Malipiero in 1940.
Palazzo Pisani’s Sala Concerti is decorated with late-19th century frescoes; they had a faded grandeur about them.
With a collection of over 50,000 volumes, including monographs, sheet music and scores, and an impressive collection of Italian and international periodicals, Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello Venezia houses one of the richest and most important Italian music libraries. Among the artifacts kept in the library are the podium and the baton used by Richard Wagner at a historic performance given here.
Why not come to see a wildly funny comedy in English by Venice’s favourite playwright Carlo Goldoni?
‘The Servant To Two Masters’ is being performed in the courtyard garden of the beautiful Ca’Rezzonico on the Grand Canal, by the Questors Theatre from England. The play has been translated by Lee Hall who wrote ‘Billy Elliot’. Performances are from 6pm to 8pm from June 22nd to June 27th 2009.
‘A sparkling, wonder-filled new version by rising dramatist Lee Hall’ Daily Mail
‘A brilliantly pacey and intelligent pantomime for adults’
We bought tickets (35E per person; tickets start at 20E) to the opera concert. It was definitely worth it. We sat front row (first come first serve) and enjoyed a small scale opera concert. The setting is intimate, the sound great, and the location convenient. The event included works from Tosca, Rigoletto, Don Pasquale, etc. There was a Soprano, Tenore and Baritone all decked out in 18th century costumes as were the orchestra. You can also buy tickets to the Vivaldi "Four Seasons" concert. You can buy tickets for either event at the Vivaldi store or online.
Just like its mythical name (Phoenix), Venice's most famous theatre, Teatro La Fenice, was destroyed twice by fire and resurrected. The original theatre was built in 1792, but it burnt down in 1836. Only a year later, a new theatre, designed by the brothers Tommaso and Giambattista Meduna, was inaugurated with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Ernani. In the ensuing years, la Fenice became one of Europe's most renowned theatres, which saw the premieres of numerous famous opere, such as Verdi's la Traviata. Unfortunately, in 1996, yet another disastrous fire completely destroyed the opera house, except its façade. La Fenice was subsequently rebuilt identically to its 19th century predecessor, and was inaugurated in 2004, suitably with a production of Verdi's la Traviata.
La fenice, a work in Neoclasic style by Antonio Selva between 1790 and 1792. Is one of the most famous opera house of Europe. The 29th of January of 1996 a fire caused by two electrician destroyed the theater. The reconstruction works began in 2001 and finished with its reopening the 14 of december of 2003
Obra de estilo neoclásico realizada por Antonio Selva entre 1790 y 1792. Es uno de los teatros de opera mas famoso de europa. El 29 de enero de 1996 un fuego provocado por dos electricistas destruyó el teatro. Los trabajos de reconstrucción empezaron en 2001 y acabaron con su reapertura el 14 de diciembre de 2003
I went in Venice and I have seen the best concert of my life. The baroque chamber orchestra "I Musici della Concordia" played in the "Santa Maria di Nazareth" Church (known also as "degli Scalzi"). The musicians performed music by Vivaldi, Marcello and Albinoni with the original praxis and on original instruments. I enjoyed very much and the Church is wonderful. If you can go and see this orchestra, I found it very good!
One of the great theaters of old Venezia. The Byzantine influence on Venezia's architecture is evident here and throughout the city. A cast iron bell hangs over the entrance to remind patrons that a performance was ready to start. The winged lion symbol of San Marco ( St. Mark ) adorns the roof of the theater.
Many great musical and theatrical productions were staged at Teatro Italia over the past 500 years or so, and they continue to this day. Imagine the many legendary performers who lived in or visited old Venezia who have graced its stage throughout the centuries. As you tour its hallowed interior keep in mind that most of what you see in this great theater is original and not a modern day restoration. I cannot think of any theater in the world that has a more interesting legacy than Teatro Italia. Bravo !
Teatro La Fenice has at last been refurbished after the terrible fire that gutted it. If you are looking for some culture beyond the walking tours of Venice, check out the programmes and if you're lucky you could spend a night at the opera in the classis sense of the word.
Wonderful alternative to the Venice routine
Music is everywhere in Venice, from the singing gondoliers to random shows on side-streets. In the summer months you'll find musicians playing in little outside alcoves all along the piazza. Don't sit down at the outdoor cafes unless you want to spend a lot of money on drinks, but stand nearby or sit on the side of the fountains and just relax. Day or night, these guys play continuously and beautifully.
The Teatro la Fenice borned in 1774 with the name of San Benedetto Theatre, but it burned some years later. The construction of the modern theatre, began in June 1790, and by May 1792 the theatre was completed and it was inaugurated on May 16, 1792 with an opera by Giovanni Paisiello entitled I Giochi di Agrigento.
In December 1836 the theatre was destroyed by fire but it was immediately restored and it opened on the evening of December 26, 1837.
On 29 January 1996, it was completely destroyed by fire and reconstruction began in earnest in 2001. In 650 days, a team of two hundred plasterers, artists, woodworkers, and other craftsman succeeded in recreating the ambience of the old theatre.
La Fenice was rebuilt in its original style by architect Aldo Rossi. It reopened on 14 December 2003 with an inaugural concert of Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky. The first opera production was La Traviata in November, 2004.
Palazzo Pisani, located neat the Church of Santo Stefano, is now the headquarter of the Music Conservatory Benedetto Marcello. The palace was built in the first years of the 17th century and ended by Girolamo Frigimelica in 1728 and owned by the rich Pisani family. Inside the palace has got some rooms with paintings made in the 18th century.
If you are going to a concert just ask if the are performing live as we went to a concert by Interpreti Veneziani and they were miming at playing the instruments. We were told after that only 3 were playing by the offical at the venue! It was such a shame and I cannot understand why they did it I would rather have a few wrong notes than be conned out of 22 Euros each.
But please do go to a genuine concert and they are everywhere and hopefully the rest do play the instruments.
Considering this was my first taste of an actual opera, I loved it. The performers were in full costume and sang wonderfully. It was set in an old opera house and it really wasn't too crowded. It was a great way to end an evening in Venice.
We got our tickets off the street from one of their street performers near San Marco Square and they only cost around $20, not bad.
If staying in Venice for a few days, I thoroughly recommend that you go to an evening concert in one of the churches. There are usually several on offer, maybe more during the high season.
I was in Venice the second week of November and we had a choice of 3/4 concerts and we chose MUSICA IN MASCHERA. This concert took place at the Scuola Grande di S Giovanni Engangelista which is located in the S Polo area of Venice.
The Musicians and singers performed some of the classic opera arias and are dressed in eighteenth century costumes and wear venetian masks.
The concert is beautiful, enriched by a beautiful soprano and wonderful tenor. I do have a short video of Nessun Dorma, taken on my digital camera which, if you write to me, I would be happy to send to you.
The concert begins at 9.00pm and lasts for approximately 90 minutes. The cost is 25 or 30 euros (front or back of church).
Do go if you can.