New Year’s Concert at La Fenice: prelude to the opera season

The New Year’s Concert at La Fenice Theatre in Venice is a spectacular, prestigious international event that proves the power music has to bring people together.
The New Year’s Concert at La Fenice Theatre in Venice is a spectacular, prestigious international event that proves the power music has to bring people together. Its unifying aspect is an idea cherished by Daniel Harding, the brilliant young maestro who conducted the Fenice Choir and Orchestra, as well as two major opera stars.


Talking to journalists, he recalled his first time in the Lagoon City: ‘Venice was the first city I ever travelled to outside of England. People tell you how beautiful it is, how special it is, [but] nothing prepares you for what you see when you come here. It is the most appallingly seductive place! And every time I come I say ‘I have to come back here sometime and just have a week with nothing to do, just explore the city even better… And one day I will!’

La Fenica’s special appeal is evoked by another of the performers at the New Year’s event, soprano Maria Agresta, “This theatre has the taste of history, the flavour of the old times, it’s the essence of our identity. When I enter an Italian theatre I always experience a special thrill inside, because this is us, our theatres are us, they talk about us, about our great personalities, our history, perhaps about the best part of us, Italians.”

Meanwhile, Agresta’s fellow performer, tenor Matthiew Polenzani, reminds us that opera stars are only human, “Who I am as a person is a bigger thing than who I am as a singer. So when I’m sick I cancel [the show]. If another singer thinks ‘I have to be absolutely quiet the day before a show, and the day after the show I cannot talk’, ok, do whatever you have to do to give the best quality performance you can give.”
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