The Flight of the Angel 2004

San Marco Square

Sunday, February 15, 2004, 12 noon

[Carlotta Mantovan]by Produzioni Teatrali Veneziane
directed by Alessandro Bressanello
with Compagnia dei Folli, Consorzio Europeo Rievocazioni Storiche, Serenissimo Tribunal dell’Inquisition, International Association for the Venice Carnival, Associazione Amici del Carnevale di Venezia.

Carnival 2001 marked a comeback of the XVIIIth century carnival traditions, with the restaging of the Flight of the Angel just like at the times of the Serenissima Republic. Since 2001 the flight from the San Marco belltower — a key event of the Carnival — has been performed, again, by a human being instead of a stuffed dove, under the direction of Alessandro Bressanello and with the participation of the Compagnia dei Folli.

The first person to lend his name-nationality to this event was a Turkish man (the flight was initially called the Flight of the Turk) who walked on a rope all the way to the bellfry of the Campanile of San Marco on the last Thursday before Lent. He then walked back down to the loggia of the Doge’s palace. Years later a winged man  performed the stunt thanks to a system of rings that would move him up and down as if he were flying. It became the Flight of the Angel.  Venetian chronicles of the time narrate many daredevil performances of acrobats who risked their lives in the stunt, many of them were artisans. One of the most famous ones was Santo di Ca’ Lezze, who, in 1680, managed to climb up the tower and enter the bellfry on a horse with the help of some ropes. In 1681 the same man climbed the tower on a boat, pretending he was rowing.

In recent years the flight was performed by a mechanical bird, until 2001 when the flight of the dove became once again a real show with a real angel that flies down from the top of the Campanile to the loggia of the Doge Palace pouring balloons and confetti on the onlooking crowd and pretending to offer a scepter to the Doge. Katiuscia Triberti, of renowned Triberti Acrobatic Circus, performed in that edition. In 2002 famous Italian actress Antonella Elia and in 2003 Venetian fence champion Frida Scarpa performed the act together with many other actors, artists and musicians who welcomed her at the end of her descent. The Consorzio Europeo per Rievocazioni Storiche recreated the set of the old Carnival celebrations in San Marco Square. In 2004 the angel will be played by Carlotta Mantovan(