Segments in this Video

Venice Under Austrian Rule (03:32)


Because of the censorship of Austrian occupation of Venice, theater and opera became dull and insipid. Without central government, Venetian decadence rose while traditions began to fade. The music scene virtually collapsed.

Venice's Music World in Decay (02:30)

Though Venice appeared to have no music, two series of amateur concerts performed mostly the music of German composers in La Fenice Theatre. Most performances were notoriously poor. It was a sad time for Italian music.

Gioachino Rossini: Transformation of Venetian Musical Life (04:46)

With the arrival of Gioachino Rossini in Venice, the musical life of Venice took a turn for the better. His first opera composition, "La cambiale di matrimonio" was performed in 1810 to high acclaim. An excerpt is included in this segment.

Gioachino Rossini's Unique Music (03:35)

In 1812, Rossini produces a one-act farce called "La scala di seta," which has become a much-loved favorite. An excerpt from this work is included in this segment. Of special note is what 20th-century musicologists call the "Rossini crescendo."

Gioachino Rossini's Aria from "Tancredi" (03:32)

In 1813, Rossini's "Trancredi" greatly pleases the public, and the aria "Di tanti palpiti" was heard all over the city, sung by gondoliers, waiters, and the aristocracy. An excerpt from the aria is included.

Gioachino Rossini's opera "L'italiana in Algeri" (04:14)

In 1813, Rossini's opera "L'italiana in Algeri" proved to be the most successful opera in Italy for a generation. It set a new standard for Italian music. An orchestral and a stage performance excerpt are included in this segment.

Importance of Opera Houses in Venice (03:57)

In 1836, the La Fenice Theatre burned down and was immediately rebuilt. Opera served musical and social purposes in Italian life. The stage and proscenium areas were designed for the particular entertainment of the wealthy box holders.

Giuseppe Verdi: Venice's Greatest Operas (03:20)

By the mid-19th century, Giuseppe Verdi had presented two new operas. Venice's greatest opera, "Ernani" opened in 1844 in La Fenice Theatre. Given greater leeway by the authorities, Verdi chose bolder subjects for his operas. Excerpts included.

Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto" (03:13)

For the 1851 opera season, Verdi chose a story by Victor Hugo and wrote the opera "Rigoletto." The opera outraged the censors, but it was an operatic revolution. Excerpt from "La donna è mobile" is included.

Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata" (04:05)

Verdi's intermittent visits to Venice were important to his career and to the history of Italian opera. Verdi presents "La Traviata" in 1856, but it is one of the worst fiascos in operatic history. Excerpts are included.

Venice Becomes Non-Venetian (04:17)

In 1866, Venice shook off the Austrian yoke and became part of a united Italy. By then, all the principal figures on the musical scene were non-Venetians. Importation of music and all things became the Venetian specialty.

Richard Wagner's Final Venetian Performance (04:33)

In the last half of the 19th century, Richard Wagner visited Venice for the last time. The "Symphony in C Major" of 1832 was performed in 1882, even though Wagner had a heart attack during rehearsal. Excerpts included.

Death of Richard Wagner (04:05)

Richard Wager dies in 1883 with his wife at his side. His body is taken back to Bayreuth for interment. An excerpt from "Symphony in C Major" is included. The inner life of Venice was waning.

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Verdi and Venetian Theatre

Part of the Series : Five Centuries of Music in Venice
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This program is devoted to the 19th century, the Age of Grand Opera. It covers the rise of Rossini, the triumphant premieres at La Fenice Theatre, the overthrow of the Austrian occupation as Verdi became a folk hero, and the death of Wagner in Venice. Live performances in the Salon of La Fenice. (52 minutes)

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL4075

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5712-2

Copyright date: ©1990

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.