Theatre Guide To Venice
Venice has a lively theatre scene with classical, opera and modern productions all over the city. So here is our handy guide to some of the best places to go and see thespians treading the boards.
Teatro La Fenice
This sumptuous birthday cake of a building is the leading Opera House and Theatre in Venice, and has been the site of many famous premières, worth a visit just for the history and glorious decor. At the moment there are several shows to choose from like Bizet’s Carmen, an explosive love story with a tragic ending or Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, another love story across social and cultural boundaries. Top fact the name La Fenice means phoenix which is ironic because the theatre has been burned down twice in its history and the present building was only opened in 2003!
Located in the heart of the city near the Rialto Bridge Teatro Goldoni is another stunning building with more than 300 years of history. Specialising in classical and opera works again the Goldoni has a more relaxed atmosphere and is smaller than La Fenice, giving you a more intimate experience. Interestingly the Goldoni was not the theatre’s original name. It was renamed from Teatro San Luca in 1875 following birthday celebrations of the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni, famous for “Servant of Two Masters” among other works.
Like many of the famous opera houses in Venice the Teatro Malibran was built in the 1600’s during a boom time in opera. The site of the building was once where Marco Polo’s family had their palazzo, an auspicious spot. At one time it was the most important opera house in Venice and was one of the few not closed during the French occupation in the 19th century. The interior is luxurious and you can imagine the ancient Venetian nobility enjoying the show from where you are sitting.
Teatro Fondamenta Nuove
Right up to date the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove is housed in an old joiner’s shop and is known for its avant-garde productions and contemporary dance. So if opera and the classics leave you cold then this is probably a better bet! Plus the location right on the water on the Northern edge of the city gives amazing views across the lagoon towards the island of Murano.
A brand new theatre to rival the beauty of the others on Venice the Teator Junghans was opened in 2005 and has gone from strength to strength. As well as plays, music, exhibitions and the usual theatrical genius that goes on there it also houses the Venetian Theatre Academy. The triangular building sits in a lovely square that opens out onto the southern lagoon on the island of Giudecca and with only 150 seats the atmosphere is very cosy!
Another relative newcomer to the arts scene in Venice is the Theatre Avogaria. The brain child of Giovanni Poli, native of Venice, he wanted to carry on the great tradition of theatre and bring the work of experimental authors to the stage here. The building is tucked away in a quiet corner of the city not far from the university.