What better way to experience the many layers of the history of Italy than to see Italian operas in a 1st century arena located in the heart of the city of Verona?
That is the proposition of the Arena di Verona, a venue that is still in use today and is internationally recognized for the large-scale opera performances staged in that setting. In fact, historically the opera community in the city of Verona has supported some very important artists. For example, there is a special exhibition about the life of the amazing opera singer Maria Callas that is open until September, 2016 which helps underscore the significance of Verona in launching her career.
This summer the opera festival in Verona that runs from June to August is featuring a number of important works. In one weekend during the festival the Arena di Verona presented Aida, La Traviata and Carmen, three very different, yet wonderful operas that are certainly top-shelf.
Those of us who are more familiar with these operas are always looking for a new treatment, an interesting angle, or something just a little different. Viewing the operas in an historic open-air arena absolutely fits the bill! If you have spent your whole life seeing opera productions in a theatre, then you will find the outdoor experience very new and interesting. For those who are less acquainted with these works, sitting outside under the moon and stars on a pleasant summer evening with the stage stretching out along the backdrop of the ancient arena would be a great way to get acquainted with these famous works.
For more details on each of the specific operas, you can read the detailed reports:
La Traviata consistently hovers around #1 in operabase and is one of the most popular operas in the modern repertory. It was first performed on the 6th of March, 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in nearby Venice.
While not an Italian opera, it has remained popular in Italy. The strong passion that drives Carmen along with the setting of the opera in Spain with the undertones of the Gypsy culture have contributed to the popularity of the work. The legendary Franco Zeffirelli directed the production of Carmen for Arena di Verona that opened this summer and featured over-the-top action on stage including a host of dancers, singers, soldiers on horseback, and lively colors.
The first 20th-century operatic production at the arena was a staging of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida. It took place on the 16th of August in 1913 to mark the 100th anniversary of Verdi's birthday. The full-scale production of Aida mounted this summer by Gianfranco de Bosio was evocative of earlier productions, featuring elements of Egypt in the staging, as well as a stellar cast to bring the story to life.
There is certainly something for everyone, whether an experienced opera-goer or first-time attendee, at the marvelous 1st century arena in Verona.
Here is a link for more information about the programs at the arena: http://www.arena.it/en