Opera in Italy

Apr 1st, 2007, 04:43 AM
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Opera in Italy

I'm just now getting over the fact that our London/Netherlands trip for December 2006 didn't happen (but was substituted with a great Sedona/LasVegas trip in January) and am planning on a trip to northern Italy in either spring or fall of 2008 (more time to save the $$$ so we actually go!).

A life dream of mine is to experience my first opera in Italy, La Scala or La Fenice; I think big. I am aware that it's quite the project for La Scala tickets and hopefully planning a year out will be to my benefit.

Because I'm an opera novice I don't know how the season goes. Do both houses present operas in the fall and spring?

What comments/tips do you have for me? I have printed out Viaggio Sempre's post re: La Scala.

Thank you,
Linda
sorriso is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 05:15 AM
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http://www.teatroallascala.org/publi.../EN/index.html

It not only shows how many tickets are left for each night but also exactly where those seats are on a color-coded chart.

Order tickets as soon as you know your itinerary-- some performances sell out quickly. Go to La Scala if you can; the rebuilt La Venice was a little disappointing (at least when the decor was seen up-close from the cheapest seats-- maybe it still looks grand fron the orchestra level).
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 05:17 AM
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I meant "La Fenice" of course.
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Apr 1st, 2007, 05:56 AM
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I happen to think that La Fenice is the most beautiful opera house in Italy-I was just there three weeks ago for the opening of "Francesca da Rimini"-loved it-I always love going to La Fenice, I feel very Venetian when I do. The ceiling frescos are stunning, and if you've not seen it, you must.

But it's not really difficult to get a ticket to a performance, either at La Scala or La Fenice unless it's a big opening of a Mozart or Verdi opera, say. If it's a lesser known opera, you can almost always get tickets the day of the opera.

For La Fenice-go over to the ticket office the hour before the performance, and you can get 22 Euro tickets-although they are up high, if you get in the loggia area, with the stage in front of you, you've got a good view.

I've gotten tickets for La Scala the same day as well. Both houses, La Fenice and La Scala, present their seasons in the fall and spring. Generally speaking, La Fenice's opera season starts in the spring, while their fall opening tends to be concerts and ballets.

Vivaticket is the site to book tickets for opera and other classical events in Italy. Verdi's La Traviata is opening at La Fenice next month-it was first performed at La Fenice back in the 1800's:

www.vivaticket.it/evento.php?id_evento=82460


Girlspytravel is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 07:35 AM
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MademoiselleFifi, are you saying at Le Fenice the "decor" was disappointing meaning the scenery on stage? Or the refurbishing of the theatre itself? Having studied the list of artisans who did the long labored reconstruction and closely inspecting some of the craftsmanship I find it hard to imagine you meant the latter. I found it exquisite and perfectly executed to the smallest detail -- particularly within the theatre itself. (Although I suspect they may have cut a few corners on some of the other public areas).

And sorriso, you are lucky to go in the fall and spring when operas will be available both places. Those of us who go in the summer are left out in the cold (or should I see heat?). But I'd follow the websites and book as soon as you know your actual schedule and the tickets are released. Why wait and take chances getting whatever's available at the last minute since you have the luxury to plan and get great seats?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 1st, 2007, 10:13 AM
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Does anyone know anything about the venue of "Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista" in Venice? La Traviata will be there in May and we hope to attend. Have any of you been there for opera?
plafield is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 10:22 AM
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I haven't but I'm pretty sure that this is more a concert version rather than a fully staged opera. Perhaps someone has better information. I tried to google, but it still isn't very clear.
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Apr 1st, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Thank you so much for your responses.

MademoiselleFifi, Girlspytravel, and NeoPatrick are you familiar with Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo? My husband has family in Bergamo and we will be spending time there, that could be a possible venue as well.

Linda
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Apr 1st, 2007, 03:33 PM
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NeoPatrick,

I meant the auditorium itself, near the ceiling. Have you sat in the highest (cheapest) seats? Those were the only tickets available when I went, and up there you get lanoleum floors, cheap wallpaper, and some of the golden ornaments looked plastic. Only when the lights dimmed did the place take on the grand atmosphere that the original must have had.

Maybe the lower levels were done in the exquisite craftsmanship you saw, but they had to cut corners on the upper half in order to finish on time? I didn't get to check out the other sections or the lobby because those with the cheap tickets had to go through a separate back-door entrance and walk up many flighs of the dreary back stairwell, without passing through any other parts of the theater.

So, sorriso, if you're going to La Fenice, buy your tickets early, before the nice seats sell out.
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Apr 1st, 2007, 03:49 PM
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Hello Sorriso: If you proclaim to be an opera novice, I can safely say that I am 10 seconds ahead of you. I visited Verona in July, two years ago, for express purpose of attending outdoor opera at the Arena d'Verona. That experience has caused my interest in opera to accelerate to far higher levels. The performances begin at 9:15, just at dusk, and are unbelievably grand. Give it a shot. Gradyghost
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Apr 1st, 2007, 03:53 PM
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plafield,

We attended an "opera/ballet" performance at the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista. Very touristy, but still very fun and enjoyable. The musicians and singers were very professional, the dancer and costumes laughably amateurish. The venue is absolutely gorgeous-- all marble and original old-master paintings (unlike the plastic-and-lanoleum on the upper parts of the rebuilt La Fenice!)
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Apr 1st, 2007, 05:18 PM
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Actually, we toured the highest level of seats -- the cheap ones, and I took pictures from up there. I guess I was too busy taking pictures of the beauty I saw including the spectacular ceiling to notice linoleum or plastic. I didn't see what you saw.

Regarding the stairways and hallways, the path to the royal box or whatever it is called were the same. That's what I was talking about -- the public areas. There are no grand hallways and stairways that I saw, other than the first grand staircase from the lobby. I thought that rather odd, but then it's not all that unusual. I've seen that in other major opera houses as well. They were all drab and "gray".
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 12:09 PM
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madamoisellefifi,

Thank you. I'm glad to hear it was fun and that the setting is gorgeous at the Scoula. We bought the tickets before doing thorough research , which is very unlike me, but it sounds like we'll enjoy it, even if it is touristy.

The truth is, we're not huge opera fans and so selections from La Traviata in a gorgeous setting for 30 euro pp as opposed to the whole performance in the nosebleed/linoleum floor section or spending a lot more for the better seats at La Fenice, is probably the right choice for us. We're going in May and I'll post back when we return.
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 12:28 PM
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hi, sorriso,

I second the advice to watch the opening date of booking carefully.

I logged on at about midday on the day that booking opened for the performance we wanted in Madrid, and found that it was almost full for all three nights we were there!

we ended up with "partial view" seats, and in fact the only way we could see the other half of the stage was by watching the big screen they helpfully provided.

Don't forget the time-lag - if you are really keen you may need to set your alarm or stay up very late.

regards, ann
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 01:10 PM
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Sorriso, Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo is beautiful but very small (both in size and economy ) so they have a very short opera season in autumn-winter and the rest of the year there are a variety of shows and plays, musical or not.
This is their english website :
http://teatro.gaetano-donizetti.com/...p?languageID=2
kenderina is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 03:30 PM
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We didn't get to an opera in Italy ...but went to several wondrful opera recitals in various churches...keep your eyes open for those posters you see all around.


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Apr 2nd, 2007, 03:52 PM
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Did I read that right? Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista as "touristy?" I think not. It is one of the most important of the ancient "scuole" in Venice, and just last week, the President of Italy, as part of an official visit to Venice/Mestre, took in a short concert in his honor at La Fenice, held in the beautiful Sala Apollinee, as well as a cultural presentatation at the aforementioned Scuola. The salon where the concerts are held is stunning, with works by Tiepolo, Tintoretto, and Bellini, and sculptural work by Mauro Codussi, one of the leading architects of Renaissance Venice, as well as Lombardo. If you can't do La Fenice, then this is second on the list for a cultural evening out that is NOT touristy. I do consider some of those Vivaldi concerts held in various parts of the city to be somewhat touristy, and held especially for tourists, but they are well presented nonetheless. I don't put the Scuola Grande in that category, however-it is an important venue for Venetian classical/cultural events. Here is the website to check out the grand salon and purchase tickets for events:

www.classictic.com/venues/52.html

Sorry, Sorriso, I have been to the lovely citta alta in Bergamo, but am unfortunately not familiar with the Teatro Donizetti-maybe one day!

Girlspytravel is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:32 PM
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no, Girlspytravel, you misunderstood my post-- of course the Scuola itself is not the least bit touristy; as I said, it's absolutely gorgeous. I meant the PERFORMANCE we saw was very tourist-oriented. I think every single person in the audience was a tourist, many with large tour groups. Flash cameras going off everywhere the whole time they were singing.

Still, the music was good and we had a great time. We were sitting against the wall near the front, and during the finale song, the tenor and soprano walked over and pulled my friend and me up to waltz with them (to La Traviata!). A very nice ending to my friend's birthday.
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:47 PM
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Although at any given time, the operatic performances at the Scuola may have an audience solely of tourists, that's not always the case, nor for all events held there, at all. I actually think the operatic performances are great, because they bring opera up close and personal to tourists many or most who have never experienced it before, and may thence come away with a new appreciation of this art form that they may otherwise never have had. And of course, the setting is without peer.
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Gypsyspygirltravel,

Great to hear your opinion of the concerts at the Scoula Grande. I'm now very much looking forward to it. I agree it's a great chance to be exposed to opera, a musical form that I have not been drawn to, in a very special setting. Your comments have helped me to feel excited about our decision to buy these tickets as opposed to regretting that we got suckered into some cheesy touristy thing.

When I was in Paris last spring, I went to a concert in Notre Dame Cathedral that turned out to be one of the highlights of the whole trip. I'm sure that most of the people in the audience were tourists, but so what? The music and the setting was amazing! That's all that matters and it sounds like we'll find the same at this concert.
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