Since Jan 2020, I’d been planning to return to Milan asap for an extended stay (month at least) with friends who’d wanted me to stay on back then, share their place and teach them English. A family I love, so I was very much looking forward to it, but – things change. Health issues cropped up there and my host friend has left Milan, so that’s off the table. Another friend I’d visit has moved house and has been in the middle of reconstruction projects, so later is better. Now I’m thinking of taking a week or so after my first week in Turkiye (with Istanbul hotel booked for one week, 18-25 April).
I frequently browse to find cultural events in places I’d like to be, and, a bit oddly, when looking for more concerts in SW France this spring to summer, an ad cropped up for a New Year’s package in Venice. I don’t book packages (oh! I lie! I realized my trip to Margarita Island with Jay was a package! so – never say never, but I don’t think I’ve overlooking anything since that early 1980s getaway) but I do examine them for ideas and when they look good, will compare the costs to those of booking my own similar trip. Surprise: the Venice package actually turns out to be a good deal. But for a New Year’s trip and events, I’d want company, and who would go for that? Besides, I have intended to register with a housesitter/petsitter site and try to find a good spot for the holiday period, when a lot of people do want petsitters. Last year, southern Sweden and the London metro area both offered interesting sits. So I think I’ll keep to that plan, knowing it probably needs to be arranged in England because of Schengen restrictions.
But that Venice ad (three nights, three concerts, oh yes, my kind of visit) included opera at Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto. Never heard of it. I’ve made many visits to Venice but have hardly scratched the surface. I do love the city, and just walking in it for the views and the architecture appeals to me any time of year. Yes, even winter, actually, rather especially winter, when the canals aren’t too stinky and the tourists have mostly disappeared.
So I looked into events at this Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto, and see they run a repertory of three operas year-round, so it’s pretty easy to book. There are no numbered seats and one flat price. They use the palazzo to advantage for staging and the audience is likely to move room to room at intervals, for the next act to be in a new setting. Sounds creative and fun. The productions get good reviews from tourists; haven’t seen what music critics say; but I’m going for it.
This could mean flying from Istanbul to Venice for 3 or 4 nights, of which two would be opera nights, and then taking a train on to Milan. I just need to pin down the dates – thinking April 25 to Venice, April 28 to Milan, and then back to Turkiye. I find nonstop flights from Milan to Izmir! Sounds simple, but of course there’s always a hitch. I’m trying to settle on a Gulet cruise off the Turkish coast, and hope to coordinate that with Kristian. And I need to make sure the dates work for Italian friends. I could postpone a bit, but then it gets to be tougher to juggle. After all, I have opera tickets in Avignon May 27!