With the arrival of autumn, culture lovers are gearing up for Venice’s numerous theater seasons and, as usual, there’s something for everyone: opera, prose, music and dance will light up your Venetian nights. The city’s historic Teatro La Fenice—a newly restored architectural gem—is hosting an ambitious Mozart-inspired project featuring a complete rendition of the Da Ponte trilogy, performed by a team of up-and-coming talents. The trilogy opened with Don Giovanni on Tuesday, September 20 and will be followed by eleven repeats, running until October 2. This playful drama, directed by Antonello Manacorda, was the result of a collaborative project undertaken by Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte. At the same time, Teatro Malibran will host the return of another cornerstone of nineteenth-century Italian opera: The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini, a humorous melodrama in two acts. On show in September, it will be directed by 24-year-old Veronese director Andrea Battistoni; from October 6 to 10, the same show will be led by Giovanni Battista Rigon, a noteworthy director from Vicenza.
The second leg of the Mozart project is scheduled for October 14 at La Fenice, with The Marriage of Figaro by Pierre-Augustin Caron; its set-up was entrusted to director Damiano Micheletto and set designer Paolo Fantin. The show will continue for eight performances, from October 15 to 23. Mozart himself proposed this work to the Italian libretto writer, as he considered it so thrillingly full of dramatic rhythms and events that he composed the score ‘four steps at a time.’
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La Fenice’s theater season will be further enhanced as a result of several side events proposed by the Ex Novo Ensemble, a group established in Venice in 1979, thanks to the collaborative efforts of a group of musicians and composer Claudio Ambrosini. It has become a reference point on the international music scene, as the ensemble played a key role in promoting Italian historical twentieth-century chamber music. It will be performing in the theater’s Sale Apollinee, presenting a series of concerts during October and November (at 8pm). The program begins on Saturday, October 8 with L’istatane musicale, featuring music by Hector Berlioz, Nino Rota, Claude Debussy, followed by Genesi e fortuna del Proteiforme musicale on October 22 and Mi struggo al suon delle parole on Wednesday, October 26. On Friday, November 4, the ensemble will also be dedicating an evening to Mozart and Schumann with Curva spaziotemporale chiusa. For the complete program calendar on show until late December, visit www.exnovoensemble.it.
La Fenice’s 2011 season will be concluding its annual program with an entirely Italian masterpiece. Expect Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore, which will be performed for seven days from Friday, December 2 to Sunday, December 11. The Teatro Goldoni is raising its curtain on its second season directed by Alessandro Gassman, a fascinating talent who has achieved a noteworthy balance between cinema and the theater. The season is opening up with contemporary dramaturgy in Sala in.off, which will showcase the works of two contemporary authors from the Veneto; Vitaliano Trevisan’s Wordsatrs will take center stage from October 20 to 23, followed by Tiziano Scarpa’s L’infinito (November 3 to 6), directed and interpreted by the great Arturo Cirillo.
From November 9 to 13, culture lovers will enjoy the return of classic prose with La Sirena, starring Luca Zingaretti who will be interpreting and directing this reading inspired by Tomasi di Lampedusa’s Lighea, set in Turin in 1938. This dialogue presents contrasting elements of loneliness and how they are connected by an un-confessable secret. Antonio Calenda’s imposing show, L’affarista, spotlights a numerous rep company that will take on the characters of Balzac, led by Geppy Glijeses in the role of Auguste Mercadet. The play includes many of his between-the-lines overtones, including continuous ambiguities and refractions, which spotlight many of Balzac’s figures, inspired by society in the XIX century. Still—many also recall some of the sly characters that populate the present day.
An extraordinary actress like Elisabetta Pozzi, could not help but take on the role of Elektra rewritten according to the poetry of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, which has been translated and prepared for the stage by Carmelo Rifici. This decadent masterpiece designed for contemporary audiences will take center stage from November 30 to December 4. The year will come to a close at the Goldoni, from December 14 to 18, with an interesting rendition of Strindberg’s La Signorina Giulia which features a performance that’s borderline orgiastic and infernal, which pushed editor Bonnier to turn down the work because it was considered too scandalous. Giulia is the boss and Giovanni is the servant; the pair goes beyond the limitations imposed by high society, turning roles and rules upside-down.
For those who live just a stone’s throw from Venice, Mestre’s Teatro Tonolo offers an interesting theater season featuring prose and dance. Performances begin on November 2 with ART, directed by Giampiero Solari. It focuses on a strong friendship between old buddies that’s on the rocks because of a painting. Art has never been more at the center of social relationships and friendship has never been so dismantled on stage. Inspired by a desire to discover Čhecov, a genius of personal relationships, Daniele Finzi Pasca created Donka which combines the world of this Russian author with the clowning around that’s inherent in the art of an international company; echoes of the artist’s private life is depicted by characters suspended in acrobatics, on show from November 16 to 20.
After Russian flair, it’s time to enjoy a noteworthy Italian author: Pirandello’s Il berretto a sonagli is a comedy that spotlights the multi-faceted issues surrounding betrayal and jealously. In fact, the protagonist accepts the idea of sharing his wife with her lover, rather than losing her forever. From November 30 to December 4, Lo Monaco will be bringing to life a show that Pirandello defined ‘a living story’.
The year will end with a bang on December 11 with the most romantic of Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliette, presented by a young actors’ repertory company, created in collaboration with Rome’s Accademia Silvio d’Amico and Padova’s Accademia ‘Palcoscenico’. The program’s grand finale is scheduled for December 14 and 15 with Favola, written and interpreted by Filippo Timi. This show spotlights vicissitudes linked to a tranquil 1950s household and how it’s turned upside-down precisely on Christmas Eve.
by Camilla Toso