A performance of a Mozart Opera at the Malibran Theatre

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Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2022

Product name

Teatro Malibran, Venice

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Situated a short walk from Rialto, the Malibran Theatre sits opposite the Malibran Hotel, the 3 star unpretentious hotel that we have stayed in on nearly every visit we’ve made to Venice. It is also behind an old church and when the theatre was built in the late l7th century, allegedly on the site of the family home of Marco Polo, it was named Teatro San Giovanni Crisostomo after the church. Richly decorated with five levels of 30 boxes and a large stalls area it was at the time the biggest and most beautiful theatre in Venice but its success did not last and over the years it changed hands several times, was taken over by the municipality, sold on and restored, then deteriorated again until in 1835 a famous soprano, Maria Malibran, performed there and thought the condition of the theatre was so bad that she apparently refused her fee and told the then impressario to use it for the theatre; it then became Teatro Malibran in her honour and there is a cartouche of her above the stage.

The Malibran is now back in the hands of the Municipality of Venice and is largely used these days for rehearsals for La Fenice; in the past I’ve seen from my hotel window costumes being worked on in one of the upper rooms of the theatre and singers in make-up come across to the Malibran Restaurant to collect take- away pizzas. There are still performances at the Malibran Theatre and in 2022 we were lucky enough to be staying in the Malibran Hotel when a Mozart opera was being performed in the theatre. I am not a lover of opera but my husband likes classical music and wanted to see the opera in question – ‘Apollo et Hyacinthus’ – the first opera to be composed by Mozart, when he was just eleven years old! I wanted to go mainly to see inside the theatre. Luckily there were still tickets available online so we managed to book two seats in the upper circle (35 Euros each). I wore the smartest clothes I had with me and bought a silk bag from my favourite Banco Lotto clothing shop to complete my outfit; not that I need to have worried as it wasn’t like being in the audience at La Fenice. When we saw groups of casually dressed people gathering outside the theatre we joined them and were soon inside and climbing the stairs to the top floor. Before the start of the opera we had a good view of the stage, orchestra pit and the seating along the sides of the u-shape with, I think, 3 levels of boxes; when we stood up we could see that there were also stalls seats. Obviously the opera was sung in German and there were subtitles in Italian, which I couldn’t understand either, however I thought the singers were amazing and enjoyed the experience but have to admit that I was slightly relieved that it was a short opera. My husband absolutely loved it.

The Malibran Theatre website lists quite a few performances for 2024 – opera, orchestral and recitals – and the tickets will be almost certainly be cheaper than La Fenice.


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