Opera returns to Verona’s old arena for the 89th consecutive year. If you’re able, do not hesitate to go. Even if your “top 40” is higher than your “Verdi,” you can still go.
Opera festival is unique because of its setting. Verona’s arena was built in 30 A.D. It originally served as a Colosseum. This was the place where gladiators battled it out before 30,000 spectators. The arena was the site of trials, tournaments and jousts after the fall of the Empire. Verona’s arena was soon turned into a quarry, much like Rome’s Colosseum. The arena is not what it was in ancient times due to the petty habit of Italians to remove materials and the predisposition to earthquakes. It’s not impossible to see it, and although it has seen worse days, it is not a ruin.
Since 1913, the arena served a new purpose: it was used as an opera stage.
The arena is regarded as one of the top places in the world to see outdoor opera. It’s also atmospheric. It is also due to the acoustics. Outdoor performances are difficult because they lack a theatre’s standard sound system. However, the arena’s excellent acoustics make it possible. The sound quality is better if you have a better seat. Some have reported that they couldn’t hear much from “cheap” seats.
The opera season begins with La Traviata on June 17. The summer will see performances of Aida, The Barber of Sevilla and Nabucco. The last performance is September 2. For the unnumbered stones seats at the top, tickets cost just EUR21. Bring your binoculars and arrive early! For the best seats, you can expect to pay EUR198. Go to www.arena.it to book tickets.
Another thing to note: Flash photography is not allowed in the arena. However, everyone does. It can appear that the show is lit by strobe lights, which can be confusing and can take some time to get used too. Do your companions a favor and turn off the flash if you need to take a photo.