The famous Roman Arena di Verona plays host to a dramatic opera season every summer, including classic operas performed under the stars. This is an essential experience for all opera-lovers and a very enjoyable evening even for the uninitiated.
Verona is a wonderful city for a short break at any time of year, and it is a destination with a rich history dating back thousands of years. The Romans established an important settlement here and their legacy is still visible throughout the city – not least in the spectacular form of the Roman Arena in the heart of town.
Here, each summer since 1914, a festival of opera has been held in the open air. Starting with a performance of Aida, the repertoire has expanded to include a wide range of opera productions over the century since, but Aida and the operas of Verdi still provide the core of the programme.
The latest productions use modern stage techniques to create an even more impressive spectacle, but for a taste of the event’s history, it is now possible to see a re-enactment of the original 1914 production of Aida. For 2016, operas include Bizet’s passionate and colourful story of Carmen as well as Aida, La traviata and Il trovatore by Verdi, and Puccini’s Turandot.
But whatever you choose to see, the spectacle is impressive and the experience of live performance in a historic arena on a warm summer evening is one to be savoured. Whether or not you consider yourself an opera aficionado, the starry night sky above and the atmosphere on the evening make this an unmissable experience.
For those who prefer to travel in the company of like-minded individuals, with an expert tour leader, our escorted tours to Verona are the perfect way to experience the opera festival at its best. We have selected two dates in the summer, which take in performances of Aida and either La traviata or Il trovatore, as well as the option of additional performances (Carmen or Turandot) for those who cannot resist the chance to see opera on three evenings.
Our seats are in the first category stalls, with a direct view and excellent acoustics.
Not only does this holiday offer the opportunity to witness the spectacle of arena opera, but we will also take in a number of the other sights and museums in Verona during our stay.
These include the AMO Museum, devoted to the history of opera in the city, and the historic old town of Verona including the Piazza Bra and Juliet’s Balcony. There will be time for independent exploration of the historic churches, the Roman Forum and the cool gardens of the Giardino Giusti which offer a welcome respite from the city heat.
Kirker's four-night escorted tour to the Opera at the Arena di Verona costs £1,925 per person, to include flights, transfers, accommodation with breakfast at the 5* Palazzo Victoria, two dinners, a walking tour in Verona and two first category opera tickets.
Photos courtesy of Fondazione Arena di Verona.