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Let the music play. Opera festivals dedicated to great Italian composers

The birthplaces of great Italian composers every year stage refined opera festivals dedicated to them: here are the 6 best known, which also offer the chance to discover the local area.

05 October 2022

3 minutes

Several opera and music festivals every year, especially in summer, pay homage to great Italian composers by staging their more and less famous works. They are naturally held in their birthplaces, thereby also providing an excuse to discover and visit them: here are the 6 most famous.

1. Giuseppe Verdi: Festival Verdi


Immersed in the countryside south of Parma, the Terre Verdiane host the Verdi Festival every year in October, paying tribute to the illustrious nineteenth-century musician who was born there in October 1813. The performances include operas, concerts and recitals and are held in Parma and Busseto, a town where you can visit many places associated with Verdi, such as his birthplace in Roncole, the Verdi Museum in Casa Barezzi where he grew up, the Verdi Theatre and the monument to him in the main square. 

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2. Gioachino Rossini: Rossini Opera Festival

Pesaro, the birthplace of Gioachino Rossini, stages the Rossini Opera Festival in August. The aim of the event is recovery, performance and study of his works, including those which are not seen so often. It is also a chance to visit places associated with Rossini, such as Casa Rossini, where he was born in 1792 and now a home-museum with testimony of his private and artistic life. It can be visited along a special biographical-creative itinerary before moving on to the Theatre, the Tempietto, the Library and the Conservatory. 

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3. Giacomo Puccini: Festival Puccini

The poetic scenery around Torre del Lago, a village near Viareggiois the setting for the Puccini Festival in July and August. The event takes place in the open-air Grand Theatre, on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli near Villa Puccini itself, where the composer born in 1858 lived for a long time and composed most of his works. It now houses his mortal remains; it can be visited and contains objects and testimony of his personal and artistic life. The festival also offers collateral events such as concerts, recitals, art exhibitions and theatrical readings. 

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4. Vincenzo Bellini: Bellini Festival

The noble palaces, churches and theatres of Catania are the stage for the Bellini Festival as the city where Vincenzo Bellini was born in 1801. Through concerts, operas, screenings, exhibitions and meetings, the event pays homage to the composer, his operas and the famous Belcanto - and always starts on the day of his death, 23 September, and ends on November 3 in the Cathedral where he is buried. Several places can be visited in the city which saw his art flourish and shine.

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5. Gaetano Donizetti: Festival Donizetti Opera

Teatro Donizetti, Bergamo

Organized by the Donizetti Theatre Foundation to promote the musical heritage of Gaetano Donizetti, who was born in Bergamo in 1797, this Festival embraces his best-known works as well as lesser-known compositions. It takes place between November and December and welcomes great international artists performing in operas, concerts and collateral activities. You can also visit places in the city associated with the musician, starting with the Donizetti Theatre and the Civic Theatre where most of the events are scheduled, as well as the birthplace, the Donizetti Museum, the Conservatory where he studied and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore where he is buried.

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6. Pietro Mascagni: Mascagni Festival

This is a journey into the music of Pietro Mascagni and the places where he lived in Livorno, where he was born in 1863, that witness his deep bond with the city and the sea. The programme includes his compositions - original or interplayed old and modern music - in a heartfelt homage to the musician and the man. The Festival constantly evolves, especially in its progressive expansion even into nearby towns to hold a growing number of events - even including drama - throughout the province of Livorno. 

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