Verona and the Opera: a love Story at the Arena
As you might have noticed from the article about our concept We stand for Lovers: the Origins of our Concept, at the Hotel Indigo Verona we have a thing for love stories. Today it won’t be about Romeo and Juliet but about a relationship, although figuratively, that is equally essential to our city: the love story between Verona and the Opera.
The theater of this love is, of course, the Arena. When you’ll find yourself in front of it, it is worth remembering that it is the largest open-air opera house in the world: the Arena is a Roman amphitheater of the 1st century AD that boasts a capacity of 13,500 people. One more reason to have a proper jaw drop in front of it!
Attending an opera show at the Verona Arena is an experience to do at least once in a lifetime. The Arena Lyric Festival, also known as the Arena Opera Festival, is held every year in the summer, approximately from mid-June to early September. The Hotel Indigo Verona has a privileged position, as it is located just a few minutes’ walk from Piazza Bra.
The very first Show
Since its construction, the Arena has often been the setting of several types of shows, depending on the historical period. From gladiator fights to naumachiae (the Arena was filled with water to stage naval battles), from jousting tournaments to air-balloon shows.
But if we had to pick a date that for us carries a particular meaning that would be 10th August 1913 when, to celebrate the centenary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth, an opera was performed at the Arena for the first time. Given the anniversary, it was Verdi’s Aida that opened the Arena Opera Festival. It was so successful that since then the Opera Festival has been repeated every year. There were only a few exceptions: the years of the two world wars and 2020, due to the COVID19 pandemic.
The Origins of the Idea
When it comes to the origins of the Arena Opera Festival, there is actually a curiosity, or rather a legend, we would like to tell you. It is said that at the beginning of the 20th century the tenor Giovanni Zenatello, from Verona, was visiting the Arena with some friends. Almost as a joke, his friends challenged him to improvise an opera aria. Zenatello accepted the challenge and was impressed by the excellent acoustics of the amphitheater. In that precise moment the idea of using the Arena for opera representations was born. At the inauguration in 1913, Zenatello himself took the role of Radames, in the Aida.
An international Echo
Some of the world’s most famous artists have been on the stage of the Arena. To give some examples, Maria Callas made her debut here in 1947. In the Seventies the Arena hosted Placido Domingo and Pavarotti. The Opera Festival, which celebrated its first century in 2013, has largely contributed to make Verona one of the international capitals of music.
The hotel staff will be happy to assist you in selecting and purchasing tickets before your arrival or during your stay. In the Arena, seats of different types and prices are available, starting from the first rows of the stalls (the most expensive), up to the highest, unnumbered seats (the cheapest), passing through the numbered seats, which can be an excellent solution to match a good view of the show with an affordable price. We suggest you visit the page 2021 Arena Opera Festival, where you will find all the updates about the current Opera season.