"I won two tickets to see opera at the Arena in Verona” my friend Mela and travel blogger, wrote, "do you want to join me in Verona? We could make a weekend out of it”. I immediately answered yes, opened a new tab and looked for a flight from Hamburg to Verona.
Opera in Verona has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I have to admit, I don't do too well with heat and Italy in July is hot. But this was a chance I couldn't pass up. So in late July, I took a flight to sunny (very sunny) and hot (very hot) Verona to join my friend in this beautiful city.
The Arena di Verona sits in Piazza Bra with many, many bars and restaurants around it. I kept saying it looks like a movie set. During the season, the sets for the various operas are kept right on the piazza. Since the Arena is just huge and the maximum attendance is 15.000 people, the sets are also massive and impressive.
The Arena di Verona Festival
The Arena di Verona Festival is a festival of opera that takes place each summer, this summer was the 95th year. The performances take place at dusk and you can get tickets right at the Arena. The first operas were performed in 1913 to celebrate Giuseppe Verdi. So it was just right to perform Aida, one of the most famous operas. We were able to choose the opera we wanted to see and we picked Aida. Actually, there are two Aida productions. One is a modern version of the classic and the other is a historical production from 1913, which is the one we attended. The historical production of Aida 1913 is traditionally the opera that closes the opera season for the summer. For Aida, the amphitheater is turned into ancient Egypt with palm trees, temples and obelisks. Even horses are coming out on stage.
Backstage at the Arena di Verona
We reached out to the press office to see if it is possible to interview artists or take a look backstage. The people over at the press office have been nothing but kind and supportive. We had the chance to come backstage before the show and be able to conduct several interviews.
Here are some photos from the backstage area.
An outlook to 2018
The 96th Opera Festival 2018 program includes Carmen, Aida, Turandot, Nabucco and Il Barbiere di Siviglia and takes place between June 22nd and September 1st, 2018.
Get all the info over at the website of Arena di Verona.
Be sure to book hotels in advance, they sell out very quickly.
We had the pleasure to stay at B&B Oberdan. This charming B&B is less than five minutes away from the Arena.
Bring your own seat cushion! Especially when you have seats on the stone steps of the arena. You will have a hard time to make it through four hours of opera without one. Attending one opera in this location will be well worth it!