Venice Carnival 2004, February 7-24
Masked journey on the Silk Road
India Thailand China Japan
by the artistic director Felice Laudadio
In a beautiful book by the historian Pietro Melograni dedicated to Mozart’s biography, there is a passage referring to the moving experience that the young talented musician spent in Venice together with his father. It was the year 1771. The two arrived on February 11th “at the eve of Shrove Tuesday and, knowing the great magnificence of the Venice Carnival – as written by Melograni – we can imagine how this occasion did make even more magic their first meeting with the lagoon city. The same night Wolfgang went to the theatre since the Carnival Opera season was at its last shows. The afternoon of the next day he went to the theatre again and around midnight he took part in the great masked ball in San Marco’s Square”.
Since hundreds of years the Venice Carnival fascinates its visitors with all its never changed rites and myths, but its contents are always different. This year’s contents – after last February’s successful experience inspired to the Fellini’s masking and unmasking – will be dedicated to a part of the world, the East, with which Venice has maintained all kind of relationships all throughout its great, century-old history: politic, commercial, and cultural reasons. There is no other city in the world that represents both an almost uncontaminated natural scenery for any form of event, and in the meantime, it is also capable of magnetizing such a passionate participation of both travellers and artists. While the first ones this year will be over a million; the second ones will come from India, Thailand, China and Japan to give birth to the numerous performances scheduled during the 17th days of the “Oriental Express”.