Saturday 1 June: Il Teatro Malibran
We visited the Gallerie dell'Accademia early in the morning and then went our separate ways. In the afternoon, we had tickets to Richard Strauss's Capriccio, at the Teatro Malibran. For lunch, we stopped into Ristorante al Teatro, next to La Fenice, where we had had dinner ten years earlier. We sat outside in the muggy heat, me wearing a heavy sport coat, and had another mediocre meal at too high a price. Then I discovered I had gotten the time of the opera wrong and we now had an extra two hours to kill before curtain time. The hotel was close, so we walked back to get out of the heat for a while.
Teatro Malibran is thought to be built on the site of Marco Polo's house. Who knows? The theater was built in 1677 and was the city's most lavish until the construction of La Fenice 120 years later. Its repertoire has included both drama and opera, and since 1996 it has served as one of La Fenice's main replacements. Once known as Teatro di San Giovanni Crisostomo, the name was changed to honor Maria Malibran, a famous soprano of the early 19th century. She was in Venice to sing at La Fenice when she heard that a small theater was going bankrupt. She offered to sing there for free, and also donated her fee from La Fenice. The theater was saved and gratefully changed its name to Teatro Malibran.
We saw a very good production of Capriccio. It is a talky Strauss opera, the kind which benefits from the use of supertitles. Unfortunately, this German opera had Italian supertitles, which was no help to me. But I knew the gist of the story and could still enjoy the music. Since Al knew more German and Italian than I did, his enjoyment was greater.
Another twilight dinner at La Piscina, watching the boats on the canal and the lights of the Giudecca.