Sunday, November 15, 2009

The world without Verona walls

Once many years ago, I naively thought it would be possible to walk in from the street and buy tickets for the opera in Verona Arena later the same day. It isn’t that easy. In fact we could not even find an unbooked room in the city and left feeling ‘banish’d from the world’, because as the poet says ‘There is no world without Verona walls’.

What Shakespeare did not realize is that there are other, very attractive outdoor venues in Italy, at least when it comes to dramatic song performances. In july we stumbled upon the Sferisterio Opera Festival in Macerata that stages 3-4 popular performances each summer along with a number of other musical events. This year one of the main acts was Madame Butterfly and the programme for 2010 is already available.

The Sferisterio in Macerata was built in 1829 as a stadium for an Italian kind of handball, circuses and bull fights, but today it has a reputation as the open air theater with the best acoustics. The arena is formed as a half circle with a very tall and long wall behind the stage. It is surrounded by arches and columns carrying a double row of boxes, and a stone gallery with seating for more than 3 000 spectators. A perfect neoclassical setting for a night out in Italy.

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