Laatste update op 8 May 2020

La Fenice is a well-known opera building in Venice. They could not have come up with a better name, as the theatre really rose from its ashes twice.

Gran Teatro La Fenice, Emblema della Fenice - Photo Giovanni Dall'Orto

Gran Teatro La Fenice, Emblema della Fenice – Photo Giovanni Dall’Orto

The building was officially opened at 16th May 1792. In both 1836 and 1996 it burned to the ground.

La Traviata

The premier of the famous opera ‘La Traviata’ of Giuseppe Verdi was held in 1853 in Gran Teatro La Fenice. Actually it wasn’t immediately that succesful. Verdi became unsure about the piece, however, the problem appeared to be mostly a casting problem. The audience could not appreciate the fat singer Fanny Salvini-Donatelli, who impersonated a courtesan with tuberculosis.

In 1854 the opera was successful in another theatre in Venice, with another singer. The perfomance with opera soprano Maria Spezia-Aldighieri (1828 – 1907) was very much appreciated. It was performed in Teatro San Benedetto in Venice. Spezia-Aldighieri impersonated Violetta Valery, de main character of the piece, brilliantly.

Poem

Fanny Salvini-Donatelli

Fanny Salvini-Donatelli, La Traviata

Although the verses of the poem De zangeres point to a succesful singer, someone who grabbed the attention of the audience, I link the poem to the less succesful performance of La Traviata. That is the one to take place in La Fenice, which is the best know opera house in Venice. And anyway, one can safely assume that Salvini-Donatelli had a marvellous voice.

De zangeres

De kleine gitten speld in haar coiffure,
Die zeer eenvoudig is en zeer correct,
Maakt dat haar witte hoofd sensatie wekt,
Veel meer dan kostbaar vonkende parures.

Haar spinragdunne shawl van zwarte kant
Schaduwt Chineesche bloemen langs de muren
Als ze in de pauze wandelt om het gluren
t’ Ontgaan der heeren naar haar rechterhand.

Een simple ring, een gladde gouden band
Maakt haar onschendbaar en moederlijk machtig:
Ze is een vorstin verpoozend in haar tuin.

Hoor, de muziek begint gedempt maar krachtig.
‘t Publiek vervaagt tot schaduw stil en bruin,
Maar zij is ‘t venster waar de zon in brandt.

From: Kaleidoscoop, written 29th October 1936.

Would you like to see and hear La Traviata in Teatro La Fenice? Be quick about it: from the 24th of April until 13th June juni 2015 this opera is on in this beautiful Venetian opera house. Where else should one listen to the opera which had its premiere at that very same spot?

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