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Celebrating two hundred years of Verdi and Wagner




2013 marks the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of two composers who enjoyed a unique relationship with Venice, Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Richard Wagner (1813-1883). In honour of this singular occasion, Fondazione Teatro La Fenice is pleased to have staged two masterpieces, Verdi’s Otello and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. The two dramas represented a turning point in the artistic journeys of these composers and the history of nineteenth century opera. Both works are firmly tied to Venice: the former was set in Venetian Cyprus in the late fifteenth century, while the latter was inspired by evenings in the city, where parts of the opera were written. Consequently, the Fenice’s homage to these nineteenth-century opera greats, has a distinctively Venetian flair. 

For the first time ever, La Fenice Opera House kicked off its season with a double premiere, an unprecedented Verdi and Wagner “marathon” that thrilled operagoers and critics alike. For fifteen days, Otello and Tristan und Isolde shared the stage, as two companies and two directors traded off, all under the baton of one conductor, Myung-Whun Chung, who melded the two masterpieces into a single operatic duet. The 2012-2013 season began with an opening gala for the performance of Otello on 16 November, 2012, directed by Francesco Micheli, and continued with the premiere of Tristan on 18 November under the direction of Paul Curran.

In addition to Otello – with further performances in Japan (April) and Venice (July), where it will be performed in the courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale as part of Lo Spirito della musica Festival – the 2013 celebration of the bicentennial of Verdi’s birth also included performances of I masnadieri (The Bandits), which had not graced the Fenice’s stage in over 150 years; conducted by Daniele Rustioni and directed by Gabriele Lavia.

July 19: Verdi’s Requiem, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung in the Palazzo Ducale’s stunning courtyard.

Finally, Robert Carsen’s La traviata will again take the stage under the baton of Diego Matheuz from August 30 to September 28, 160 years after its world premiere at the Teatro La Fenice.

In a tribute to this special two hundredth anniversary, the Fenice will host recitals on the birthdays of Wagner and Verdi, May 22, 2013 and October 10, 2013.

In addition to Tristan und Isolde, the Wagner bicentennial will also feature a major lyric and symphonic concert memorializing Richard Wagner and composer Hans Werner Henze, who passed away recently.

On May 30, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, led by head conductor Christian Thielemann and featuring tenor Johan Botha, will perform at the Teatro La Fenice. The performance represents the only Italian stop on a Wagnerian tour which will visit Dresden, Paris, Vienna and Venice. The Programme will include five overtures and three major tenor scenes which premiered in Dresden or Weimar: the Overture to the Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), the Faust Overture, the Overture and Rienzi’s prayer from Rienzi, the Prelude and Grail Narration from Lohengrin, and the Overture and Rome Narrative from Tannhäuser. Furthermore, the concert will feature the Italian premiere (and second-ever international performance) of Hans Werner Henze’s Isoldes Tod (Isolde’s Death) and a version of Tristan und Isolde rearranged for orchestra. The 2012 work was commissioned by the Salzburg Easter Festival (where it received its world premiere on March 26, 2013) and the Dresden Staatskapelle in honour of the two hundredth anniversary of Wagner’s birth.

image: Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi on the one hundredth anniversary of their birth. Lithograph, 1913 

Download Otello poster

Download Tristan and Isolde poster

Download I masnadieri poster

Double season premiere

A lyric drama in four acts | Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung 
| Director: Francesco Micheli | Orchestra and Chorus: La Fenice Opera House

Teatro La Fenice
Friday 16 November 2012. 7pm 
| Tuesday 20 November 2012. 7pm
Thursday 22 November 2012. 5pm 
| Saturday 24 November 2012. 3.30pm
Tuesday 27 November 27 2012. 7pm 
| Thursday 29 November 2012. 7pm
Friday 30 November 2012. 7pm

Japanese tour
Osaka, Festival Hall 
| Thursday 11 April 2013. 6.30pm
Nagoya, Aichi Arts Center 
| Sunday 14 April 2013. 2.30pm
Tokyo, Orchard Hall 
| Wednesday 17 April 2013. 6.30pm
Tokyo, Orchard Hall 
| Friday 19 April 2013. 6.30pm

Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace)
Wednesday 10 July. 2013 9.30pm 
| Sunday 14 July 2013. 9.30pm
Wednesday 17 July 2013. 9.30pm

Tristan und Isolde
An opera in three acts, WWV 90 
| Composer: Richard Wagner
Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung 
| Director: Paul Curran |
Orchestra and Chorus: La Fenice Opera House

Teatro La Fenice
Sunday 18 November 2012. 3.30pm 
| Friday 13 November 2012. 5pm
Sunday 25 November 2012. 3.30pm 
| Wednesday 28 November 2012. 5pm
Saturday 1 December 2012. 5pm

Verdi programmes

New Year’s Concert
co-produced by Rai 1

Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner | Soprano: Desirée Rancatore | Tenor: Saimir Pirgu |
Orchestra and Chorus: La Fenice Opera House

Giuseppe Verdi | Aida: Symphony (1872 version)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 
| Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 Little Russian
Gioachino Rossini 
| Le siège de Corinthe (The Siege of Corinth): Galop 
Giuseppe Verdi 
| La traviata: Di Madride noi siam mattadori | I vespri siciliani (The Sicilian Vespers): Mercé, dilette amiche | Rigoletto: Questa o quella per me pari sono | Attila: Prelude | I lombardi alla prima crociata (The Lombardians on the First Crusade): O Signore, dal tetto natio | La traviata: Prelude to Act I | La traviata: Sempre libera degg’io | I lombardi alla prima crociata (The Lombardians on the First Crusade): La mia letizia infondere | Nabucco: Va’pensiero sull’ali dorate | La traviata: Libiam ne’ lieti calici

Teatro La Fenice
Saturday 29 December 2012. 5pm 
| Sunday 30 December 2012. 5pm
Monday 31 December 2012. 4pm 
| Tuesday 1 January 2013. 1115am broadcast live on Rai 1

I masnadieri (The Bandits)

A tragic melodrama in four acts | Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Daniele Rustioni
 | Director: Gabriele Lavia | Orchestra and Chorus: La Fenice Opera House

Teatro La Fenice
Friday 18 January 2013. 7pm 
Sunday 20 January 2013. 3.30pm
Tuesday 22 January 2013. 7pm 
| Thursday 24 January 2013. 7pm
Saturday 26 January 2013. 3.30pm

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung 
| Orchestra and Chorus: La Fenice Opera House

Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace)

Friday 19 July 2013. 9.30pm

La traviata
A melodrama in three acts 
| Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Diego Matheuz 
| Director: Robert Carsen | Orchestra and Chorus: La Fenice Opera House

Teatro La Fenice
Friday 30 August 2013. 7pm 
| Saturday 31 August 2013. 7pm
Sunday 1 September 2013. 7pm 
| Tuesday 3 September 2013. 7pm
Sunday 8 September 2013. 7pm 
| Tuesday 10 September 2013. 7pm
Saturday 14 September 2013. 7pm 
| Tuesday 7 September 2013. 7pm
Thursday 19 September 2013. 7pm 
| Saturday 21 September 2013. 3.30pm
Tuesday 24 September 2013. 7pm 
| Wednesday 25 September 2013. 7pm
Friday 27 September 2013. 7pm 
| Saturday 28 September 2013. 3.30pm

Wagner programmes (in italian only)

Exhibition and lectures on Tristan und Isolde

organized by the historical archives of the Teatro La Fenice

Exhibition of posters and documents from La Fenice’s archive: A hundred years of Tristan and Isolde at La Fenice Opera House

Conference on the exhibition, with video and commentary by Alessandra Althoff Pugliese.

Conference and debate: Tristan and Isolde: From the Middle Ages to Romanticism with Ulrike Kindl

Conference and debate: Tristan and Isolde: From text to performance with Gianni Ruffin

Teatro La Fenice 
| Sale Apollinee
Sunday 18 November 2012 - Sunday 13 January 2013 
| exhibition 
Tuesday 27 November 2012. 4.30pm 
| Alessandra Althoff Pugliese
Tuesday 4 December 2012. 5pm 
| Ulrike Kindl 
Monday 10 December 2012 5pm 
| Gianni Ruffin

Special concert: Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden
Conductor: Christian Thielemann 
| Tenor: Johan Botha | Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden

Richard Wagner Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman): Overture | Faust Overture, WWV 59 | Rienzi: Allmächtiger Vater Rienzi: Overture Lohengrin: Prelude | Lohengrin: In fernem Land Hans Werner Henze | Fraternité. Air pour l’orchestre | Italian premiere | Richard Wagner | Tannhäuser: “Inbrunst im Herzen” | Tannhäuser: Overture 

Teatro La Fenice
Thursday 30 May 2013. 8pm

download poster

Concert for Cosima
Richard Wagner 
| Symphony in C major, WWV 29

Teatro La Fenice | Sale Apollinee
Monday 23 December 2013

Birthday celebrations
Our tribute to the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of both Wagner and Verdi also features two joyous days of music and readings occuring on the birthdays of each composer, May 22 and October 10.

Buon compleanno, Riccardo (also in english)
A tribute to Richard Wagner in honour of the two hundredth anniversary of his birth 
(Leipzig, May 22, 1813 – Venice, February 13, 1883)

Voi là nell’acqua… The Venetian Side of Richard Wagner with Sandro Cappelletto

12.30pm | When music and woman die | The death of Isolde, from Tristan and Isolde | Brünnhilde’s Farewell, from Die Walküre (The Valkyrie) | The Death of Brünnhilde, from Götterdämmerung  (Twilight of the Gods) with Elena Bucci

3pm | A Ring around Wagner inspired by Anna Russell with Rosemary Forbes-Butler

4pm | A piano for Richard | Wagner motifs performed by Antonino Fiumara

Teatro La Fenice | Sale Apollinee

Wednesday 22 May 2013. 11am – 4pm

Wagner’s birthday - poster

Bon anniversaire, Joseph!
A tribute to Giuseppe Verdi in honour of the two hundredth anniversary of his birth
 (Roncole, October 10, 1813 – Milan, January 27, 1901)

5pm | Matadors, picadors and… gondoliers | Giuseppe Verdi’s Venetian costumes | by and featuring Guido Barbieriore 7pm | Croce e delizia… my lady | stories of a life well-lived… for piano and narrator | by and featuring Simona Marchini | piano: Paolo Restani


Teatro La Fenice | Sale Apollinee 

Thursday 10 October 2013. 5pm