“Red velvet, ornate gilding and many-faceted chandeliers.” La Fenice (the Phoenix) is “one of the most famous theatres in Europe,” says Trip Savvy. First opened in 1792, it was twice badly damaged by fire and has recently been renovated and reopened. This historic opera house is “still a marvellously atmospheric place to take in some Verdi or Donizetti,” writes Anne Hanley in The Telegraph -- it’s a “jewel box of red velvet, ornate gilding and many-faceted chandeliers” where “periwigged flunkeys” used to usher ladies from “gondola to theatre steps on opening nights.” This was where Verdi's Rigoletto and La Traviata premiered -- “the latter flopped on its first night, but the Venetian public later redeemed itself by applauding a second staging at the Teatro San Benedetto.”
The Venice opera season gets into full swing from January to July and September to October, notes Lonely Planet. “If you can't attend a performance, it's possible to explore the theatre with an audioguide. “These days, operas from the golden age of Italian opera lirica (for which you'll need to book months in advance) alternate with classical concerts, ballet, and the occasional more contemporary musical soirée,” explains Anne Hanley. And some events are also staged at La Fenice's “scarcely less sumptuous sister theatre and youth academy, the Teatro Malibran.” What’s more, La Fenice even has its own radio channel.
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