Precisely 500 years ago, Venice was the first city in Europe to lock up its Jewish population behind the walls of a ghetto. How was it possible for the officials of the Serenissima, whose policies were otherwise pragmatic and sane, to treat the Jewish community in a fashion that soon gained popularity in other parts of Italy and Europe as well? As we pay a virtual visit to several of the key artistic monuments that still survive in the Venice Jewish ghetto, we will discuss this question briefly. We will discover that behind its dreary walls, the Jews of Venice did not despair. Instead they engaged in a wide variety of intellectual and artistic pursuits, which included music, that continue to impress us to this very day.
About the Eventalks
The theme of the Early Music Festival 2016 (26 August to 4 September) was Venice: ‘La Serenissima’. For the second time, in close collaboration with Utrecht University’s Centre for the Humanities and the Residencies in Utrecht programme, the festival presented a secular version of evensong, named Eventalk.
The spoken element of Eventalk was entrusted to thinkers and artists. They made short, inspiring presentations with a twist, like an intellectual haiku, with a musical interlude by Artist in residence Olga Pashchenko. In this way Eventalk combines a stimulating discourse with beautiful instrumental music by one of the most versatile performers on the keyboard.