Thursday, September 23, 2010
Carnival of Venice
The great flood is referred to the fateful year of 1966 in Venice.
Joseph Addison, a parson's son published his reflections in 1705, under the title Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, in the Year 1701, 1702, 1703. He spoke of the carnival of Venice. "The great DIversion of the Place at that time, as well as on all other high occasions, is Masking. The Venetians, who are naturally grave, love to give into the follies and entertainments of such season, when dignified in a flase personage. They are indeed under a necessity of finding out diversions that may agree with the nature of the place, and make some amends for the loss of several pleasures, which may be met with on the conteint. These dignities give occasion to abundance of love adventures; for there is something more intriguing in the amours of Venice, than in those of other countries, … Operas are another great entertainment of this season. The poetry of them is generally as exquisitely ill as the musick is good ..."
Popish vice in Venetian wisdom:
"The preservation of the republick is that to which all other considerations submit. To encourage idleness and luxury in the nobility; to cherish ignorance and licentiousness in the clergy, to keep alive a continual faction in the common people, to connive at the viciousness and debauchery of convents, to breed dissentions among the nobles of the Terra Firma, to treat a brave man with scorn and infamy: in short, to stick at nothing for the publick interest, are represented as the refined parts of the Venetian wisdom." From George Bull, Venice the most Triumphant.
Picture credits: Clowns and tumblers by Tiepolo, in the Ca' Rezzonico, Venice (Moro); Storm and flood by Turner, Ruskin Museum, University of Reading; Ponte Santa Paternina by Moonlight by Yoshijira Urushibara (Trustees of the British Museum); Fete on the Grand Canal, Mary Evan Picture Library; Venice. Lithography by Ackerman (Trustees of the British Museum); Peg Maltby; Charles Bennett and Dover Publications.
If you really wanted to hear the opera, here we go: