Venice Carnival 2004

[Image: official poster for Venice Carnival 2004]Carnival of Venice 2004, instead to have the “Americana” as theme (as annunced some month ago from the organization), is dedicated to the Orient, with particularry attention to four places: Japan, Cina, Thailandia and Italy.

The dates are: from 7th February 2004 to 24th February 2004.

Oriental Express
Masked Journey on the Silk Road
India, Thailand, China, Japan.

[Felice Laudadio with official poster - photo: Ufficio Stampa Carnevale]Numerous musical, theatre, dance, acrobatic performances original from the Orient will animate for 17 days the San Marco Square, the theatres and the famous Venetian “campi”, as well as Lido, Mestre, Marghera and Riviera del Brenta (the Brenta Riviera). The Children’s Carnival in Campo San Polo. Yoga and martial art courses in the Italy Pavilion to the Garden. Also shows, parades and historical processions in the ancient Venetian tradition of the famous Carnival which, last year, was dedicated to Federico Fellini and hundreds of thousands of participants from all over the world gathered in Laguna.
On February 19, Rai Due will broadcast “live” from the San Marco Square and from the La Fenice Theatre.

The 2004 Carnival of Venice, promoted by the Municipality, will last one week longer than usual, from February 7 to February 24; it is organised by the PromoVenezia Consortium, with the collaboration of the Veneto Region, AVA, the Chamber of Commerce of Venice, the Venetian APT and the regional RAI office. The Carnival is directed for the second time by Felice Laudadio who chose the “Felliniana” theme last February, to honour, ten years after his death, the great director who was planning on making a film on Venice, already ‘reinvented’ once in his famous Casanova.

Oriental Express. Masked Journey on the Silk Road” is the theme chosen for 2004 by the artistic director with obvious reference to Marco Polo and his legendary pilgrimage in the countries of the East and Far East, related in Milione. The San Marco Square, as well as the Campo San Polo, Sant’Angelo, Santa Margherita, San Luca, the Erbaria di Rialto, Campo San Maurizio and Santa Maria Formosa, the Italy Pavilion to the Garden will be invaded by sounds, voices, dances, acrobats, street artists coming from the East or whose shows are inspired from the East; part of them will be performed also in Lido, Mestre, Marghera and the Riviera del Brenta.

There are four countries involved in this huge manifestation which will take place for 17 days on the Canal Grande and in India, Thailand, China and Japan.

Yoga and chikitsa courses, as well as Chinese and Japanese martial art courses will be held by masters trained in these countries, everyday in the Italy Pavilion, in the morning and in the afternoon, for the whole duration of the Carnival. Almost everyday, the Levi Foundation will host musical events and manifestations, while the Palafenice, Malibran and Piccolo Arsenale theatres will host concerts and plays.

The Children’s Carnival will have a particular location this year, too, and will take place every day from 10 to 18 in Campo San Polo, animated by clowns and street artists who will perform their glove puppet shows and magic tricks in a circus tent where children will wear masks.

Besides shows, there will also be photo exhibitions dedicated to China and Japan. There will be a rich photography exhibition in certain areas of the new Marco Polo Airport, in collaboration with SAVE, which will show the thousands of faces of the Asian giant; the photos have been taken in almost thirty years by the architect Alberto Cannetta, the director of China Desk within the University of Milan; the Italy Pavilion will host an exhibition dedicated to China made for the National Geographic. Japan will be the centre of another photography exhibition in the Italy Pavilion.

Presentations of books, magazines, and studies dedicated to the culture, music, dance, theatre, and cinema of the four Countries at the centre of the 2004 Carnival will be organised at the Levi Foundation of the Department of Studies on Oriental Asia within the Ca’ Foscari University, run by prof. Magda Abbiati.

Obviously, the “oriental” Carnival will preserve the myths and customs of the ancient Venetian carnival tradition, in perfect balance with the initiatives dedicated to Asian Countries. Therefore, the traditional “Festa delle Marie” (The Feast of the Marie) (organised by Bruno Tosi) and the Historical Procession (organised by Massimo Andreoli and CERS) will take place on Saturday, February 14, in the afternoon, while the mythical Flight of the Dove (or Flight of the Angel) from the Belfry in the San Marco Square is scheduled for Sunday, February 15, at midday sharp. This year too, the Angel will not be the classical “puppet”, but a real person, a brave former Miss Italy, Carlotta Mantovan from Venice. Starting February 14, almost every day, the platform of the San Marco Square will host the parade of the most beautiful masks in 18th-century costumes (organised by Giovanna Barbiero and the International Association for Venice Carnival); this year, there will be also masks in Oriental costumes.

Starting February 7, the traditional Compagnia de Calza “I Antichi” will repeatedly stage in Campo San Maurizio the play The return of Marco Polo from Catai, while between February 14-24, El Carneval del Popolo (People’s Carnival), El Carneval del Mondo (The World’s Carnival) will take place in the traditional frame of Garibaldi Street. Also: on February 21, the Consular Body of Venice will parade in gondola on the Canal Grande in the famous “Corteo delle Nazioni” (“Procession of the Nations”), while in Cannaregio, the Regatta on the River of San Giobbe is scheduled on the same day.

One of the collateral initiatives of the Carnival is the tribute to Troma Studios, the legendary independent American production house which dedicated so many B-Movies to Oriental characters and which will celebrate 30 years from its foundation on February 7 and 8, in Venice, with music, processions and parades in costumes.

On February 19 – Fat Thursday -, the regional RAI office in Veneto, run by Giovanni De Luca, will broadcast live on Rai Due, at 8 o’clock, from different places of the Carnival.


Venice Carnival 2004


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