opera music in the roman arena Bel Canto Summertime Festival
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Opera music in the Roman Arena

Good ideas seem obvious, but before thinking of them they simply don’t exist!


May 11, 2022

On a spring day of 1913 tenor Giovanni Zenatello was sipping his morning coffee with his lovely wife Maria Gay, a soprano from Barcelona, Spain, enjoying the warm sun in a terrace café in front of the massive Roman amphitheater here in Verona.
The story goes that..they felt inspired, went inside that old venue and started to sing. To their surprise, the acoustics was great! That was not obvious, since Roman amphitheaters were not built for music.


It appears that the couple had a significant entrepreneur attitude. In that very unconventional setting and in a few months, they succeeded in putting up an incredibly complete and appealing show!

The event went surprisingly sold out and was written about in the national press.

The bel canto, the imposing staging, the cozy Italian night, the jet-set of the time made that night memorable.

A good idea was born and had become a real classic!


If Giovanni Zenatello and Maria Gay had not followed that inspiration of combining an out-of-use ancient venue with world- class music, we wouldn’t have one of the most important Opera Summer Festivals in the world.

Good ideas need trust and commitment. Sometimes they activate something really valuable and long lasting.


Since then, the greatest Opera singers performed on the Arena stage: Maria Callas, Beniamino Gigli, Mario Del Monaco, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli.


The Verona Opera Summer Festival starting on Jun 17, 2022 will be festival number 99.

Make sure you do not miss it when you visit our city.

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