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What Not to Do in Venice

by Lee Marshall

Don't…
Fall for wigged Vivaldi

If you're in the right mood, this one can be a bit of a guilty pleasure. After all, the soft sell of the concert touts who dress up in 18th-century clothes and sell tickets to Vivaldi's Four Seasons performed by similarly garbed musicians—generally female, with powdered wigs, fake beauty spots, and plunging necklines…is deliciously camp. But Paganini it ain't. Although such Vivaldi-for-tourists chamber orchestras are generally competent (most of the performers are conservatory students making some pocket money), serious music lovers should look elsewhere.

Instead…
Take in a performance at Teatro La Fenice

The 18th-century Venetian opera theater reopened in 2003 in all its restored glory after a 1996 fire left it a burnt-out shell. La Fenice (pictured) also hosts classical concerts organized by the top-flight Società Veneziana dei Concerti, plus the occasional prestige popular-music or jazz gig (past performers have included Elton John and Caetano Veloso). Another wonderful classical music venue is the Museo Querini Stampalia, one of Venice's most characterful small museums, housed in a Renaissance palazzo. Bite-size 30-minute recitals are performed in a sumptuously decorated series of rooms on Saturdays at 5 pm. Focusing exclusively on the music of the five centuries between 1300 and 1799, these mini concerts are performed by members of the city's prestigious Scuola di Musica Antica or by visiting musicians, often on original instruments. Best of all, the concerts are included in the price of the $15 museum ticket.

Next: Snack Venetian >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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