Home Entertainment Italian opera celebrated in Verona’s ‘magical’ Arena

Italian opera celebrated in Verona’s ‘magical’ Arena

by Selinda Phenyo
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The venue's acoustics are world renowned

Italy

Verona’s ancient Roman Arena will host a star-studded classical concert Friday to celebrate the addition of Italian opera singing to UNESCO’s list of intangible global heritage.

Some of the world’s finest singers will perform arias, including Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, French baritone Ludovic Tezier and Italian soprano Eleonora Buratto.

The venue's acoustics are world renowned
The venue’s acoustics are world renowned

More than 10,000 people will attend the concert at the Arena, the largest open-air theatre in the world.

Italian opera was added to the UN’s heritage list in December.

The citation acknowledged it as an art associated with specific facial expressions and body gestures involving a combination of music, drama, acting and staging.

“Italian opera is our common ancestor,” baritone Tezier told AFP. “Opera is an Italian invention which has spread all over the world.”

Conductor Riccardo Muti will direct 160 orchestra musicians and more than 300 choristers from prestigious Italian institutes such as La Scala in Milan and La Fenice in Venice.

The programme includes arias from Madame Butterfly, La Boheme and Tosca, all by Giacomo Puccini and marking the centenary of his death.

But there will also be extracts from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and Rigoletto.

– Like a gladiator –

“There is a real vocal pleasure in Italian singing because the Italian language is itself extremely musical and sonorous,” Tezier said.

Verona’s Arena offered the ideal setting, he added: its atmosphere “is warm, conducive to opera. We experience truly magical moments.

“When you enter the arena, with this huge audience in front of you, you have a feeling of humility, you have the impression of being very small.

“But at the same time you feel like a gladiator going into battle because there is an exceptional energy that emanates from this place”.

The Arena in the northeastern Italian city was built in the first century AD to entertain Romans with gladiator fights, spectacular shows featuring wild beasts, and even naval battles.

The concert, which will be broadcast live, kicks off the 101st edition of the Verona Arena Opera Festival, which runs to September 7 and is expected to draw over 500,000 music lovers.

The festival was created on August 10, 1913 by the Veronese tenor Giovanni Zenatello. He the stone amphitheatre’s remarkable acoustics when he performed Verdi’s Aida there.

Opera came into being around 1600 in Florence, with the founding of an academy promoting an innovative combination of sung text and music.

The first great composer of opera is considered to be Italy’s Claudio Monteverdi, who lived from 1567 to 1643.

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The Arena is the largest open-air theatre in the world
The Arena is the largest open-air theatre in the world


AFP


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