Arena di Verona: 100 Years of Opera

This year in 2013, the very famous “Arena di Verona”, a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy, celebrates 100 years of presenting large-scale Opera performances.

It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind.


File:Ora della Terra Verona Piazza Bra Arena 2013 WWF Verona Paolo Villa 9886.JPG


Arena di Verona Festival:

The Arena di Verona Festival (Verona Arena Festival) is a summer festival of opera, located in the city of Verona Italy.

Since 1936, it has been organized under the auspices of an official body, first the Ente Autonomo Spettacoli Lirici Arena di Verona, (the autonomous organization for lyrical productions of the Arena di Verona), and then, following legislation in 1996 and 1998, the Ente Lirico Arena di Verona was transformed into a private foundation, the present-day Arena di Verona Foundation.

Opera performances are given in Arena di Verona, an ancient Roman amphitheatre, which was capable of holding 30,000 spectators.

Performances traditionally begin at dusk and spectactors on the stone seats of the arena bring small candles (the “mocoleto”) which are lit as darkness falls and the performances begin.




First opera productions:

The first operas were performed in 1913 in celebration of the centenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi and were produced by the tenor Giovanni Zenatello and the theatre impresario Ottone Rovato.

Their staging of Aida in the biggest open-air lyrical theatre in the world began a long tradition.

In the following year Zenatello and others returned and, in the years before 1936, a variety of organizations took over the presentations. These included the Lyrica Italica Ars from 1919 to 1920, the Casa Musicale Sonzogno of Milan from 1921 to 1922, and the impresario Gino Bertolaso from 1923 to 1926, while, in 1934 another organization, the Ente Comunale degli Spettacoli (the municipal performance association) took over the summer festival. Finally, in 1936, a permanent organization was created.


Verona, the summer city of Opera.


Significant artistic achievements:

Many singers made their names and careers by performing at Verona. In 1929 Beniamino Gigli thrilled audiences with his appearances in Flotow’s Martha. Between 1947 and 1954 Maria Callas was a regular after creating a sensation in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda.

In addition to singers, directors and designers added distinguishing elements to productions such as the 1953 water pool created for Aida by silent cinema director Georg Wilhelm Pabst.

His aim was to conjure up the image of the Nile on which little Egyptian boats could sail, and the idea was adapted by Pier Luigi Pizzi again in Aida in 1999. Also, it was Pabst who was responsible for the introduction of a great number of animals on stage, including elephants, horses and dromedaries, and this form of spectacle has become a prominent feature of many opera productions in Verona.

Dance and classic concert performances have also been given in the Arena. Classical ballets and traditional dances from all over the world have been seen. In 1976, Maurice Béjart brought the “Ballet du XXe Siècle” from the La Monnaie opera house in Brussels and choreographed Beethoven’s 9th symphony. This première was interrupted by rain, but the performance continued to a cassette tape of the music and without the orchestra.


Opera lovers entering to the “Arena di Verona”.


This year, the “Arena di Verona” festival opens with  Verdi’s “Aida” .


Arena di Verona: The Orchestra and the grand public.



A beautiful view of Verona, Italy.




A Performance of Bizet’s “Carmen” at the “Arena di Verona”.


The Grand public at this year’s celebration of the 100 years of Opera at the “Arena di Verona”, with the beautiful colors of Italy, Green, White and Red.


A Beautiful presentation of Puccini’s “Turandot” at the “Arena di Verona”.


Another picture of Verdi’s “Aida” at the “Arena di Verona”.

Beautiful Verona.


“Arena di Verona”.
Arena di Verona, at Night
Another beautiful picture of an Opera performance at the “Arena di Verona”.
100 years of Opera at the “Arena di Verona”.
An old poster of the 87th Opera Festival at the “Arena di Verona”.
Another Opera poster of the famous Arena di Verona Festival
Another photo of the Grand Opera public entering to the Arena di Verona
A night Opera performance at the Arena di Verona.  The public has small candles, the “mocoleto”.

The great Gala concert celebration of the First century of the Arena di Verona Opera.


Celebrating 100 years of Opera at “Arena di Verona”!




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