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Art & Culture

6 dates to note on your calendar to celebrate a great Italian Opera season

30 December 2022

4 minutes

The Opera season is a glorious Italian tradition, with roots in the distant past, and which has always been the country's heritage.

Here are the most important theatres where you can attend memorable performances in the first half of 2023 to dream and be moved by the notes of sublime opera music, and to also discover the behind-the-scenes stories of Italy's most iconic stages. 

Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi at the Politeama Theatre in Naples

rigoletto giuseppe verdi politeama naples

The Politeama hosts productions of the famous San Carlo Theatre, which will be closed for renovations in 2023. In Naples, the city that never disappoints with its vibrancy and artistic treasures, Verdi's Rigoletto is unmissable among the operas scheduled for the 2023 opera season. It is an extraordinary melodrama with a libretto full of surprises and intense passions.

When: 15 - 24 January 2023

Train connections: the Circumvesuviana to explore the surroundings and high-speed trains from Rome (just over an hour's journey) and other major Italian cities.

Domenico Cimarosa's Secret Marriage at the Teatro Regio di Parma

secret marriage domenico cimarosa teatro regio di parma

If you are a true connoisseur, this is the event for you. Il matrimonio segreto (the Secret Marriage) is an 18th century opera buffa by Domenico Cimarosa, an exponent of the Neapolitan School who at the time even rivalled Mozart with his fame. His main opera has never ceased to entertain and fascinate. All the more so when the performance is staged in the Emilian art city and in a theatre commissioned in the 19th century by Napoleon's wife in person, Marie Louise of Habsburg-Lorraine.

When: 10 - 19 February 2023

Train connections: the main direct lines connect Parma to Bologna and Milan, in 1 hour and 1½ hours respectively.

Aida by Giuseppe Verdi at the Teatro Regio in Turin

aida giuseppe verdi teatro regio di torino

The Teatro Regio in Turin celebrates the 50th anniversary of its reconstruction on 10 April 2023, and offers a particularly sought-after opera season for the occasion. It is a rare jewel: contemporary lines inside, an 18th-century façade, included in the UNESCO serial site of the Savoy Residences, and a recently renovated stage, which is among the most technological in Europe. Aida is one of Verdi's masterpieces, which at the Regio you will see brought to life by Oscar-winning director William Friedkin's staging.

When: 25 February - 8 March 2023

Train connections: with high-speed trains you can reach Turin from Milan in 1 hour. 

La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini at La Scala Theatre in Milan

la boheme by giacomo puccini scala di milano

This performance represents the encounter between two Italian geniuses and one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. The staging of Puccini's La Bohème is indeed designed by Franco Zeffirelli, whose birth centenary falls in 2023. The director is a young woman, Eun Sum Kim, who comes from the San Francisco Opera.

This is a founding piece in the history of La Scala, first staged in 1963 and always reprised. You are in a temple of world opera, in the heart of a city that can look to the future without ever losing sight of its past.

When: 4 - 26 March 2023

Train connections: Milan is served by high-speed train connections via Freccia Rossa and Italo Treno with the main Italian cities. You will reach it in 3 hours from Rome, 4 ½ hours from Naples, 2 ½ hours from Venice, 2 from Florence and less than an hour from Turin and Bologna.

Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo at the Rome Opera House

pagliacci ruggero leoncavallo opera rome

The Rome Opera House is divided into a series of theatres and offers a varied playbill with performances from different historical periods and from a variety of countries. The first chapter of the Trittico ricomposto, a project of the Rome Opera in collaboration with the Puccini Festival of Torre del Lago for the centenary of Puccini's death, is eagerly awaited, while at the Costanzi you can enjoy Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Before the curtain goes up, cast your eyes upwards to admire the dome frescoed by Perugian Annibale Brugnoli. Rome, too, pays homage to Franco Zeffirelli and for the 2023 opera season re-proposes Pagliacci with his direction and sets, in the original 1992 production first staged at the Rome Opera. Zeffirelli chose contemporary clothes for the protagonists, in a tribute to Italian fashion.

When: 12 - 19 March 2023

Train connections: Rome is connected to the main Italian cities (Milan, Florence, Bologna, Naples, among others) by an extensive network of high-speed trains.

Credits: ph C.M. Falsini

Ernani by Giuseppe Verdi at La Fenice Theatre in Venice

ernani giuseppe verdi la fenice venezia

La Fenice, one of the most prestigious theatres in the world, has a very rich programme for 2023. At the end of January, the Satyricon celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first performance and death of composer Bruno Maderna. This is one of many reasons to book a trip to Venice.

There is a special relationship between Ernani and La Fenice, because Verdi's fifth opera debuted in 1844 right here, on commission from the theatre itself. It is exciting to watch the performance in the place where it was born, where sublime notes merge with history. Enveloped in stucco and gold, it will be moving to retrace the adventures of the knight Don Giovanni d'Aragona, reduced to the rank of bandit by the civil war in 16th-century Spain. A new staging awaits you, co-produced with Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia.

When: 16 - 28 March 2023

Train connections: Venice is connected by the high-speed Freccia Rossa and Italo Treno. From Milan, it takes 2½ hours.

And if you are planning a trip to Italy with the arrival of fine weather, the destinations for opera lovers are certainly Florence and Verona - the first for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Now in its 85th edition, it will be preceded by the Maggio Carnival Festival, which will be inaugurated on 13 January and will be dedicated to Goethe's Faust. In Verona, on the other hand, the Opera season awaits you at the Arena, which this year celebrates its 100th edition with the most successful operas of the last 100 years, from Giuseppe Verdi's Aida to Georges Bizet's Carmen or Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

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