If until not so long ago the month of November in Venice was perceived only for the subtle autumn atmosphere, shrouded perhaps by fascinating mists or soft light reflections, today, while not losing its most romantic characteristics, the city still seems to be caught in the excitement of the great season and a packed diary of events related to culture and entertainment.
Therefore, let us discover, summing up step by step, what the events of the moment might be, starting inevitably from the exhibition scenario driven as always by the Festival par-excellence, the Biennale Art.
The Biennale Art
In addition to its undoubtedly intrinsic value, it should be mentioned also for its final opening month: the 59th edition will definitely close its doors on 27 November.
The maxi-review develops along a path that ideally starts from the main exhibition, articulated between the central pavilion at the Giardini and the spaces of the Corderie.
The curator, Cecilia Alemani, conceived it over three large thematic areas, focused on the representation of bodies and the relationships between individuals with technology and environment.
The central exhibition, titled The milk of dreams is accompanied by the National Participations (80 in this edition) spread throughout the historic Pavilions at the Giardini and the spaces set up at the Arsenal and in the historic town centre.
The review is completed by the collateral events, independent exhibitions spread around the city, promoted by national and international non-profit organizations and institutions.
The Art Exhibitions
The overview on contemporary art offered by La Biennale comes with art exhibitions promoted by the main cultural institutions operating in the city.
Regarding this, we recall: the spectacular installation by the German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer, created for the Doge’s Palace, presented by the Civic Museums Foundation; the two important displays presented by the Pinault Foundation, at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, centred around two great artists of our time, Marlene Dumas and Bruce Neuman; the exhibitions, straddling art and science, meant to showcase the potential of the human mind, A World of Potential, presented by Human Safety Net in the beautiful recently restored venue at the Procuratie Vecchie, and Human Brains, brought forth by the Prada Foundation in the equally evocative spaces of Ca’Corner della Regina. There is also the exhibition of the Bassano photographer Fabio Zonta dedicated to Canova at the Correr museum.
Added to all this are the exhibitions dedicated to the design and art of glass, presented by Le Stanze del Vetro, Venini (Luce 1921-1985), on the island of San Giorgio; presented by Berengo Studio, Ai Weiwei: the Human Comedy and Glasstress set up at the church of San Giorgio and the Island of Murano; presented by Istituto Veneto, on the International Studio Glass artistic movement.
Finally, for museums, we point out the re-opening to the public of the second floor of the Fortuny Museum, with a new engaging setting showcasing objects stemming from the extraordinary creativity of Mariano Fortuny.
Music and Theatre
For the shows page the attention falls on the opening of the Opera Season of La Fenice Theatre. Presented already in July, with fourteen opera titles, two ballets and eighteen symphonic events, it debuts on 18 November with the Falstaff, an opera that confirms a well-established style in town between Maestro Chung, La Fenice Theatre and Verdi.
At La Fenice we also mention the two concerts of the German maestro Hartmut Haenchen for the Symphonic Season, while the 2022 VeneziainDanza Cycle, starring the Slovenian National Opera Theatre, will open at the Malibran Theatre for a Gala (13 November) with the étoiles of the Marijnsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg.
The Luigi Nono Festival, now in its fifth edition, is also worth mentioning regarding music. The inauguration will be held on 4 November at the seat of the eponymous Foundation at the Giudecca; the musical cycles of Venice Music Project at the Scuola Grande dei Carmini; of Musikamera, at the Apollonian Rooms and the Lo Squero Concerts, at “Lo Squero” Auditorium in the Island of San Giorgio.
Regarding the prose, the focus is celebrating the 400 years of the Carlo Goldoni Theatre (1622-2022) and its Season, recently resumed, that in November will present a show dedicated to the great Pier Paolo Pasolini (17-20 November).
It has always distinguished this month in Venice: it is the Fête of the Madonna della Salute or of Health.
On 21 November, for almost four centuries, the city has been celebrating the end of the plague that occurred in 1631 thanks to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, invoked by the Doge and the people a year earlier.
A church and a Madonna, depicted in an ancient painting arrived from Candia (present-day Crete), are the symbols of what, even now, the whole city honours with a pilgrimage and a timeless rite: lighting a candle to the Virgin, as a thanksgiving and request for protection.
For the occasion, a boat-bridge will be set up to facilitate access from the St Mark area; one can attend the solemn mass, visit the seventeenth-century basilica to admire the famous “Black Madonna” and the extraordinary works; stroll among the crowded stands of the surrounding area or have a walk around the picturesque Punta della Dogana and the Zattere Quay, and also taste the typical dish of the moment, the “castradina”.