Triumph at the Fenice for ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’, Mattarella at the Premiere

Eleven minutes of applause at the end of the performance of the work

Everyone standing and a warm welcome for the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, this evening at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice for the premiere of the 2023/24 Opera Season with the performance of “Hoffmann’s Tales” by Jacques Offenbach. Before the start of the opera, the National Anthem was played and then there was a long round of applause lasting almost five minutes with a standing ovation for the Head of State from the thousand present.

And a new standing ovation at the end of the performance, with eleven minutes of applause for the Orchestra and Chorus of the Fenice and the entire cast. With a touching extra-program at the end, almost a tribute to the tragedy of Giulia Cecchettin and the other victims of feminicide: Olympia, played by Rocío Pérez, went behind the scenes, took a pair of red shoes, brought them, lifting them on stage to then place them on the stage.

Immediately after his entry into the theatre, President Mattarella, amidst endless applause, had greeted several times with a gesture of his hands towards the audience and the boxes, as if to thank for the homage paid to him.

In the royal box with the President of the Republic and his daughter Laura, accompanied by her husband Cosimo Comella, there were: Luigi Brugnaro, mayor of Venice, with his wife; Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto Region, also with his wife; Gianmarco Mazzi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture; Renato Brunetta, president of the Cnel – National Council of Economy and Labor and of the Venice World Capital of Sustainability Foundation, with his wife; the prefect of Venice, Michele Di Bari; Fortunato Ortombina, superintendent of the Teatro La Fenice. Lots of applause for Mattarella also upon his arrival at the theatre, with the audience shouting “long live the president” and “long live Italy”.

It was the turn of maestro Frédéric Chaslin to raise his baton to begin directing the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro La Fenice in ‘Les Contes d’Hoffmann’, a fantastic opera – divided into a prologue, three acts and an epilogue – composed by Offenbach in 1880 and inspired by the fantastic-demonic tales of ETA Hoffmann (The Sandman, The Story of the Lost Reflection and The Violin of Cremona).

The opera, which had been missing from the Phoenician program since 1994, was presented in a new staging directed by the Venetian Damiano Michieletto supported by a creative staff composed of Paolo Fantin for the sets, Carla Teti for the costumes, Alessandro Carletti for the design lights and Chiara Vecchi for the choreography. The cast is composed for the main roles by Ivan Ayon Rivas, Alex Esposito, Carmela Remigio, Veronique Gens, Rocío Pérez. In the end, after a performance of three hours and forty minutes, the audience led the Orchestra, the Choir and the performers in triumph, giving a very long applause lasting eleven minutes.

As befits a Premiere, in the stalls and boxes there was a riot of tuxedos and long dresses, and even some fur coats. In the audience, among the guests, the actress Ottavia Piccolo, the singer Samuel Romano, frontman of Subsonica, the writer Tiziano Scarpa, the artist Fabrizio Plessi, the physicist Piero Martin, the writer Giovanni Montanaro, the make-up artist Diego Dalla Palma, the journalist Roberto D’Agostino. The presence of the city’s personalities was strong: among others Benno Albrecht, rector of Iuav, Emanuela Bassetti, vice-president of the Marsilio publishing house, Giampiero Beltotto, president of the Teatro Stabile del Veneto, Camilla Bianchini, president of the Amici della Fenice, Gaetano Bonaccorso, commissioner of Venice, Michele Bugliesi, president of the Venice Foundation, Renata Codello, director of the Cini Foundation, Roberto Papetti, director of the newspaper “Il Gazzettino”.

The President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella has already been to the La Fenice Theater on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Ca’ Foscari University in 2018 and for a conference organized by the Chamber of Commerce in 2016: this is the first time as a spectator of the opera. The last time the head of state visited the Serenissima, however, was 2022, for the solemn oath of the students at the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the ‘Francesco Morosini’ Military Naval School.

(by Paolo Martini)