Friday, 14 February 2014

What do you miss?

I was recently asked this question on Facebook, and thought it deserved a proper response.

The obvious answer is 'friends'. The more frivolous answer would be 'beer', but it's surprising how quickly the human body can adapt to a diet of spritzes and vino sfuso. I'm not sure if we miss the food or not. Whenever we return to the UK, we try and cross off those things we can't get in Italy - fish and chips, pies, Indian and Chinese food. But somehow fish and chips is never quite as nice as you remember and - after a week of Trad British Staples - we're usually ready for Italian food again. It feels like detoxing. We would like to find a decent Indian or Chinese restaurant over here though.

There are some aspects of our cultural life that we miss (I really did try not to use the phrase, "our cultural life" but it seemed unavoidable. Please feel free to report me to Pseud's Corner in Private Eye). We used to go to the theatre on an almost weekly basis. We don't do that anymore. Maybe we should persevere at the Teatro Goldoni. We used to go to an art event or an opening almost every week - again, we don't do that anymore, although the Biennale kind of makes up to it.

Italian television isn't up to much, but nearly everything we want to watch is available in various degrees of legality. And I think I might even prefer RAI3 to Radio 3.

I don't go to as many concerts as I used to. On the other hand, I take part in more, which seems like a fair exchange. But there is one thing I miss more than anything else. I used to love going to the opera, whether it was Scottish Opera at home in Edinburgh, or travelling down to see WNO in Cardiff. Ten pounds would buy you a perfectly good seat with an unrestricted view. Fifty quid would get you the best seat in the house. That is not the case over here. We saw a pretty good Madama Butterfly at La Fenice last year. Well-enough played and sung, and the set was beautifully designed. Or rather, what we could see of the set seemed to be beautifully designed. The cost was 85 euros. At that sort of price, a visit has to be a very occasional treat. So we find ourselves living five minutes walk from an opera house, something that would once have been my dream, and yet we rarely go there.

So there we have it - completely against my expectations, the thing I most miss about living in Italy is...the opera. You have to appreciate the irony, at least!


10 comments:

  1. Thank you for that answer, it's fascinating. Scottish opera is without doubt a tremendous institution and I suppose along with Scottish ballet I do take it for granted. I appreciate your thoughts. Much more elevating than my suggestion that you might be missing a good Scotch pie. I have a very good friend who plays in the opera orchestra, it will entertain him greatly that you are missing them...

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  2. Actually I think it was 100 euros each, plus booking fee...

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  3. We went to see the ROH's live relay of Don Giovanni at our local cinema. These are relayed all over the world. In the interval people's tweets were displayed on screen so I know that it was being watched in Spain and Germany. A fantastic evening. Best seats in the house for £13.50. Perhaps you can find out if they are shown in Venice. Andrew

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  4. Yes, the irony. I glomed onto your comment about 'going down to Cardif' and although I don't know what that entailed...it made me think about how unlikely WE are to hi_ho to another city for a performance..even Mestre! etc. and..at this point (6 months w/o) I find ...I don't care; but I do miss theater and I will probably NEVER be fluent enough in Italian nor will the same actors arrive _ on the other hand we COULD zip to London if we felt too deprived (we are American...but, well.). Interesting, isn't it. I don't miss in any way foods, or tv, or movies, or dryers...not a bit. Theater, I miss.

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  5. Thanks everyone for the comments. Yes, we do get live opera broadcasts over here - the cinema next to the school where we work sometimes shows them (and prices are pretty reasonable). Something to look at when term finishes perhaps. PC - keep persevering with Italian, eventually it will start to click. Try starting with a play you're familiar with, you might be surprised how much you pick up.

    On the subject of food and theatre, we both miss "A play, a pie and pint" at the Traverse!

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    1. What a very good suggestion, re starting w/ a play we know!

      Incidentally, I help out at Wellington Books from time to time and was so happy to see you book arrive on the shelves! Molto bene!!!

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    2. Ah, glad to here that - I must drop by and ask Gaspare if he'd like to take any more...

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  6. I found an Indian restaurant near San Giovanni Evangelista - Ganesh Ji. I'm no connoisseur, but I thought the food was excellent, and I had so much in front of me that I was stuffed and there was still some left. They let me take it away to warm up again later.

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    1. Ah, we went to Ganesh Ji on two occasions with a special deal from 'Groupon'. We weren't very impressed, to be honest, although we couldn't help noticing that the regular customers - ie those who weren't on the cheap deal - seemed to be grouped together and seemed to be enjoying their food rather more. Maybe we need to give it another go.

      One of my students recommended 'Giada' to me, a Chinese restaurant near Rialto Mercato. We went there for the first time on Saturday night and it's really very good indeed, with extremely reasonably prices (for Venice!).

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  7. There's an Indian restaurant at Lido. Have no idea about the quality though, but it looks really nice from the outside. Buddha Bar, I think. It's on the Gran Viale.

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