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Report 1968: A Month in Venice

By BJinNM from New Mexico, Fall 2011

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Page 12 of 28: October 15, 2011 A Day at the Opera

photo by BJ Firestone

Main theater at La Fenice

Today is a day we have been waiting for since June when I was able to get opera tickets at La Fenice. We left early this morning and did the self-directed tour through La Fenice. The place is amazing. It is hard to believe they rebuilt all of it after the fire in 1996. It reopened in 2003 and it is exactly as it was when it was first built. All gilt, frescoes, and murals. Breathtaking!

We had time after we finished the tour and before our lunch reservations so we went looking for the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo which Noelle had never seen. We found it a lot easier than in 2008 and it had no scaffolding at all. What a pleasure to see it naked. We then had lunch at Antico Martini. It was a splurge but, after all, so was the opera! Excellent food and service. We started off by splitting sauteed scallops with cocoa butter served with zucchini flowers and purée of peas, then I had “Tonnarelli” pasta with a sauce made of red shrimps and toasted hazelnuts and basil emulsion which I thought was outstanding and Alan and Noelle each got tagliatelli with a duck ragu, and we finished up with sharing an apple torte with a vanilla cream, vanilla ice cream and nougat chips. I don't even want to mention what the bill came to but it was a great lunch.

The experience of an opera at La Fenice starts with the building. The auditorium where the opera is presented has four tiers of boxes, velvet seats, parquet floors, decorations everywhere and amazing acoustics. We really enjoyed the opera. It was "Marriage of Figaro" which was familiar to us and is a great comedy. A great way to pass an afternoon, no matter where you see it but here it was especially fun. The orchestra was excellent and the singers very good with voices that were well balanced. The staging was not as weird as some I have seen.

Then home again, stopping to pick up sandwiches (Alan's and my dinner) and gelato (Noelle's dinner) and now we are just relaxing. Another terrific day.

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