Though not quite as famous as its counter-part in Vienna, the Concerto Capodanno at La Fenice in Venezia is a popular New Year's Day celebration in Italy. And its presented in one of the loveliest opera houses in the world (second in my humble opinion only to San Carlo in Napoli). I've posted several times about the senseless torching of La Fenice in1996 and its subsequent rise from the burnt out shell I recall seeing that same year. Though there was much discussion - to the point of fisticuffs - about rebuilding to slavishly replicate the destroyed house the traditionalists won and the theatre was rebuilt in 19th-century style on the basis of a design by architect Aldo Rossi and using still photographs from the opening scenes of Luchino Visconti's 1954 film Senso, which was filmed in the house, in order to obtain details of its design. I must admit that on my one visit there I tended to lean towards the side of the critics who complained that the colours were too bright - but perhaps with the passing of time and the neglect that is known in maintaining Italian opera houses it will acquire a dulling patina. But even with its slightly faux air it is a lovely venue to celebrate the New Year.
This year's concert left no doubt who's bicentennial birth was being celebrated in 2013 - there was a bit of Rossini, a Tchaikovsky symphony but the main works were all Verdi - all the time. This year the conductor was Sir John Eliot Gardner and the featured soloists Desiree Rancatore and Saimir Pirgu. And during the Brindisi from La Traviata which traditionally brings every Concerto Capodanno to a close Italy's premier danseur and poster boy that we all love Roberto Bolle strutted his stuff.
I'm not sure where the dance sequence was staged it - Laurent seems to think it is one of the grand hotels along the Lido. This year's concert was peppered with dance numbers staged at various locales; though they gave us an opportunity to see some stunning interiors and an opening that showed our Roberto is as fit as a fiddle and ready for whatever they did seem a bit extraneous.
At last year's concert under Diego Matheuz with Jessica Pratt and Walter Fraccaro toasting the New Year the dance sequences were filmed within La Fenice itself. There are some great shots of the main staircase and assembly rooms and that final shot on the Grand Canal gets me every time!
A belated "Auguri" to my darling friends in Italy - I still miss you all very much. Bacissimi e dopo!
02 January - 1976: The Gale of January 1976 begins, which results in coastal flooding around the southern North Sea coasts,