Wagner, Verdi and Murano Bugs in Venice

February 4, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | TRAVEL, Ulalume, WAGNER | 0 Comments |

2013 Our train from Naples was not direttissima but it sure was a case of molto ritardo.   An unexpected change in Firenze, back a couple of stops on a local caboose, onward through Bologna and finally, we were emptied out on a water taxi through the Grand Canal to Locanda Vivaldi (Venice being his birthplace).   We dined there on a lovely high terrace overlooking Canal Grande, heroically overlooking the warning note: A volte alcuni prodotti potrebbero essere passati per la catena del freddo which we translated as ‘Sometimes some products might be passed by the cold chain’ which we parsed as ‘some ingredients may be frozen.’

In any case, there were no culinary problems, apart from later in the week, where L enjoyed (without selecting) ‘noddles with smocked salmon’ at Trattoria Casa Mia. Whilst L went on a Murano spree*, P  visited the State Conservatory Benedetto Marcello at Palazzo Pisani in Campo S. Stefano to see some Wagnerian relics, having first managed to slip past a very suspicious doorman.

Palazzo Pisani

Palazzo Pisani

By water taxi (better than the water bus and “those ******* gondolas”) to Palazzo Vendramin, where Wagner’s heart attacked him.  Now a casino(!) it bears very few marks of the great man – small plaque in front and memorial stone at rear, and an epitaph by Annunzio:                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

“In questo palagio                                                                                                                  

 l’ultimo spiro di Riccardo Wagner

 odono le anime perpetuarsi come la marea

che lambe i marmi”

“In this palace hear the souls, the last breath of Richard Wagner, in perpetuity, as the tide washes over the marbles” (a rather free translation, perhaps).

Later in the day, P taxied to S. Giovanni Evangelista, under its odd and slightly dodgy marble façade and upstairs to the loft for a chamber version of La Traviata, which premiered in Venice in 1853.  160 years later, Verdi’s prettiest opera is revived in the simplest fashion – a quartet, sparse sets, 3 leads among the best I’ve heard, good acoustics and a tremendous finale greeted by a restrained but appreciative crowd of 300 or so.  Nursing a glass of wine afterwards in the almost deserted lane-way, lit by a full moon, you could be pardoned for being a little giddy with joy.San_Georgio_from_Doges_Palace_by_moonlight_Venice_Italy 2

* L’s note.  I hardly call a few Murano bracelets a “spree”.  After all, I could have bought this whatever-it-is ……


….or these bugs ….

…or an entire glass orchestra…


…but I didn’t.




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