ABOVE: Can't afford Venice's public toilets? Bring your own.
If you're hoping to spend a penny in Venice, good luck: The city's public toilets cost a staggering €1,50 per visit, which means you'll pay twice (or several times) for your already-expensive liter bottle of San Benedetto water or Coke.
ABOVE: A poster for the Gustavus Choir's concert in Venice during its 2011 Italy Tour.
In the musical realm, Venice is a city of pleasant surprises. Over the years, we've attended performances by visiting groups that have ranged from the Shaker Heights High School Band (Ohio, USA) to a choir concert by a pair of Australian prep schools.
Yesterday, after seeing a poster near the Rialto Bridge, we went to the Church of San Salvador for a free concert by The Gustavus Choir from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, USA. (If we hadn't seen the poster, we might have learned about the concert in another way: Before show time, a dozen or so young men from the choir sang on the busy street in front of the church while members of their retinue handed out flyers to passersby.)
Gustavus Adolphus is a Lutheran institution with Swedish roots, and--like many church-related colleges in the United States--it has an outstanding music program. We were blown away by the quality of The Gustavus Choir's performance, which covered a repertoire that ranged from Gregorian chant to a recent work by the American composer Stephen Paulus.
During the concert's closing song, a number of choir parents took videos from the pews. Cheryl followed their example, and here are a few snippets of the Gustavus Choir's performance in Venice on Thursday, January 27, 2011. (The man with the baton is Professor Gregory J. Aune, who has conducted the Gustavus Choir for 16 years.):
We love a good publicity stunt, so we're happy to announce that bmibaby, the British budget airline, recently staged its second "enterplanement" event of the season on a flight from the UK's East Midlands Airport to Venice Marco Polo Airport.
The event started with a performance by actors from Venice's Teatro San Gallo, who entertained passengers at the departure gate of East Midlands Airport with scenes from their long-running show Venezia.
Once the plane was in the air, violinist Matteo Mesini of the Collegium Ducale orchestra performed excerts from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons for a captive but appreciative audience.
Most bmibaby flights don't feature "enterplanement," but who knows--maybe you'll get lucky and see Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie performing a live love scene from their forthcoming movie, The Tourist, on your next trip from East Mid to VCE.
For information on bmibaby's service between East Midlands Airport and Venice, go to the Venice timetable page at bmibaby.com.