Taking place during the ten day lead up to Shrove Tuesday, the Venice Carnival 2014 came complete with masquerade balls, costume contests, parades and live music.
Carnival Dream ball
In the baroque frame of Hotel Monaco, overlooking the Grand Canal and just a few steps from San Marco Square, is held one of the masquerade balls you can attend in Venice during Carnival. Usually they’re held on the last two weekends leading up to Lent. There are 50 international guests tonight, wearing typical 18th century Venetian dresses, looking like Casanovas or Venetian ladies. The hotel based in the noble Dandolo Family palace, where Casanova is recorded to have been a visitor, has recently been restored with a unique blend of original baroque and modern minimalism. The guests enjoy starters in the magnificent Ridotto Room and then a theatre performance starts. “Carnival Dream” is the theme of the plot that mixes the typical commedia dell’arte masks like Arlecchino and can enjoy singers, orchestra and dancers as well as actors in typical 18th century masks. The evening continues with a delicious Gala Dinner, accompanied with music from a Baroque orchestra and ends with the guests dancing, assisted by dance maestros, all night.
Enchanted Palace ball
Hosted in a more intimate venue, Palazzo Tiepolo Passi, compared to bigger balls like the Doge’s ball, there was a sense of luxury with a contemporary dreamy look based on tones of blues and greens. The costume design is reminiscent of the recent show by Matthew Bourne, Sleeping Beauty – the choreography and characters shaped on the same mood of the Rocky Horror show – and the Dancers act the story of the Count Belvedere and everyone becomes part of the story.
The “eagle fly” (a venetian tradition on the last Sunday of Carnival) starts exactly at midday, just after the 12 tolls from San Marco bell tower. The “eagle” this year is the young Carolina Kostner, just stepped back from the Sochi Olympic Winter Games where she won the bronze in ice dancing. The choice can’t be more appropriate: the theme of the eagle fly is to celebrate the end of winter and Carolina is considered the ice queen – also the mood of the dress she’s wearing. She will be hanging down from the San Marco bell tower (70 metres high) to the square, crowded with umbrellas and carnival masks, to the music of Vivaldi’s Winter Music. With class and elegance she “flies” over the square, and with some courage as well, since the weather is not at its best. “A great emotion and a great privilege at the same time to be here today” she commented when she landed with elegance on the Gran Teatro stage.
Sunday Masquerade défilé
The finale, the Best Mask contest, is held on the Sunday. Though particularly from Italy, participants come from all over Europe and jury of fierce fashion experts vote on all the masks that perform on stage. Costumes are amazing, peculiar, some original, and all are hand made by the performers: from 18th century elegant and rich dresses, to legend or movie-inspired stories; from nature inspiration to allegoric world. They all look stunning. The winner is a family performance with a complex invented animal called “A day in the countryside”.
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio