We left Riva del Garda for Venice by bus. We took the bridge across to Venice, then boarded a private launch for Lido. I was under the impression Venice was a unique entity, by itself out in the water. In fact there are several island cities around Venice, it being the largest and central part. Here we're riding the launch to Lido: <img src="http://www.operatenor.100megs24.com/Boat.jpg" alt=" - " />
A short walk from the boat dock was our hotel, the Hotel Hungaria Palace. By Italian standards, an excellent hotel as the airconditioning actually worked: <img src="http://www.operatenor.100megs24.com/Hungaria.jpg" alt=" - " />
That evening we participated in an evening mass at the Basilica San Marco, the place I was most interested in seeing in Venice: <img src="http://www.operatenor.100megs24.com/SanMarco.jpg" alt=" - " />
Our participation in the mass went well. The priest celebrating the mass impressed me as being a fossil, and he conducted the mass in the most dry manner. Even the Catholics in our group were disappointed. The church, and the evidence of its vast age, was most impressive. In the dusk light, the dull glimmer of the extensive gold mosaic on the ceiling conveyed a sense of awe and mystery I'd never experienced before.
My camera battery died for good after the first day in Venice, so there is only one more photo to post, but more story to tell.
We had a free day in Venice. A friend <sigh> and I used the day to explore the back alleys and stay off the beaten path, for the most part. Except for the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto areas, Venice is pretty empty and quiet. The amount of dilapidated architecture amazed me. Lots of bulging, crumbling walls, crumbling facades, masonry, and stonework. My roommate referred to it as "a corpse. A pleasant, nice to visit corpse, but a corpse nevertheless, and its inhabitants don't realize it's dead yet."
That evening, since we had a concert the next evening, was our end of the tour party. It was a great time, and the "roadies" (careful, Donna!) put on a hilarious skit, parodying Bill, our director in a rewrite of one of our encore pieces.
Our second free day in Venice. My roommate and I went to Murano, which is famous for its glass making, and contributed somewhat to its economy. A good portion of our group had done the same who are much better off than my roommate and me, so I think their economy will do quite well for the near future.
That night we had our last concert, a joint concert with the Coro Alpino Veneziano, a men's chorus singing in the Alpine style, most of whom had been singing together for the last 37 years. The concert went well for both groups and the audience gave us four standing ovations. After the concert, we were given a reception by the Coro in an outdoor courtyard. I've been to these type of parties before, and it usually degenerates into a friendly singing competition, and this one was no exception. We sang Let All the Nations... there, and that's one of the pieces where I can cut loose and blast away and get away with it. After the song, two or three of the members of the Coro came to me and flattered me by saying: "Pavarotti two", and pointing at me. <big blush> Going back to Lido, we rode a vaporetto almost the entire length of the Grand Canal. I think we missed an opportunity by not singing songs all the way back, but most people were too tired. I sang some of my audition material along the way softly, and my neighbor <sigh> complimented me on that. <another blush> It was a wonderful last day and night.
<small>[ 08-08-2003, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: operatenor ]</small>