There isn’t much publicity for these opera in a palazzo events, so I count myself lucky that my friend knew, and booked for La Traviata. Being Italy, it wasn’t as straight forward as buying tickets. We had to join a music society, and arrive before 8.30pm when the doors would be locked.
The room on the Piano Nobile where Act One took place was a delight. At one end were floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Grand Canal, where twinkling lights added to the candlelight of candelabras along the central table. We sat round the edge, and the musicians were at the opposite end to the windows.
The tenor came in looking moody and terribly handsome, shortly followed by Violetta in a fin de siècle dress with train, and gorgeous feather headdress. Their voices were beautiful and incredibly powerful; more suited, obviously, to an opera house than this intimate setting, but stunningly good. We felt as if we were fellow guests at the ball rather than spectators, especially when at one point I was handed a glass of Prosecco to chink glasses with the heroine.
We adjourned to another room for drinks, then went to the Tiepolo Room for Act Two. The final bedroom scene was of course in a boudoir, dimly lit and atmospheric.
It was quite a jolt when it ended and we had to face the reality of returning by vaporetto, but even that was memorable. Several passengers had been at the opera and we were all humming the tunes and waltzing round the boat.