Venice used to have plenty of theaters, with its highest number during the 18th century, a period in which the city’s magnificence was already masking its decline. The art of theatre, forbidden in Venice by the law like elsewhere in Europe during the early modern era, but tolerated in everyday life, is intrinsically bound to the soul of the place whose architecture itself is connected to the common practice of masking. Each courtyard of the city can be arranged in such a way as to constitute an independent and autonomous space, an environment that is both home and theater. When visiting La Fenice Theatre Venice Italy can be experienced as living history.
As far as bel canto is concerned, four of the most renowned opera houses in the world are in Italy: La Scala in Milan, San Carlo in Naples, the Regio in Parma and, of course, the Venetian La Fenice. The house was completed in 1792, a few years before the Republic lost its independence and fell to Napoleon Bonaparte and Habsburg Austria. The theatre is named after the phoenix, and celebrates the mythological bird that repeatedly died in a show of flames and was born again. The choice of the name came from the rebuilding of the leading theatre of the city after a fire, but it would also prove an omen because the building was destroyed by fires twice: in 1836 (rebuilt and reopened the following year) and on 29 January 1996 (rebuilt and reopened on 14 December 2003).
La Fenice boasts superlative acoustics, which were improved even more after the latest reconstruction, and has seats for about 1000 spectators. The season goes from November to June with a program dedicated both to the Italian and the international operatic repertoire. In fact, Venice has had long-standing relationships with foreigner composers among which Wagner and Britten.
Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi will open the 2018/19 season on 23 November and will be conducted by Maestro Myung-Whun Chung and directed by Damiano Michieletto. It will be one of the many new productions of the season: others are Il Sogno di Scipione and Il Re Pastore, two rarely performed operas by Mozart (February), L’Italiana in Algeri by Rossini (February-March), La Statira and Pimpinone by T. Albinoni (March), Dorilla in Tempe by Vivaldi (April-May) and Puccini’s Turandot (May). The latter is a special project for the 2019 Art Biennale.
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For those keen on more popular operas, the program always includes a string of celebrated works like Verdi’s La Traviata or Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Tickets for all budgets are available online (registration is needed), at the ticket office of the theatre or at the main ticket offices of Venezia Unica. The top-rated seats are the stalls and the central boxes but, if you are on a shoestring or don’t fancy showing off, I suggest you buy seat that are next to the central seats of the two top galleries where you will enjoy the best of the theater. Attending a performance at La Fenice can be one of the most romantic things to do in Venice!
Grazie to author Giacomo for this post. Giacomo is a Prontopia Local who enjoys sharing his passion for the city and helping visitors to get where they need to go easily. Download the Prontopia app today for a stress-free and fun experience getting around, whether that is to the theater on time, from the train station to your lodging, or to a special restaurant reservation or tour meeting point. We hope to welcome you in Venice the local way soon!