The Arena di Verona starts again in August
So the Arena di Verona wants to relaunch the summer season. Waiting to get rid of the coronavirus, only Italian creativity can attempt to save our theatrical, summer, and winter seasons. The Arena di Verona, the largest open-air opera house the world, tries with an ingenious and bold proposal, just presented by the superintendent and artistic director Cecilia Gasdia and by the president and mayor of the city Federico Sboarina.
In a streaming conference, the speakers with masks and gloves of order, the Arena Foundation stated that in summer 2020 the amphitheater will not remain off or silent. Of course, the traditional opera festival scheduled, already moved to 2021 with the addition of other events, cannot be staged, but in this pandemic summer, the Arena is ready to start again with a new one, exceptional theatrical set-up, and an equally unique artistic program.
Never stopped or resigned in the two months of lockdown, the Armenian board, following the epidemiological trend and the ministerial provisions, conceived an artistic project and a health protocol – it must be said, still evolving – which would allow the immense theater to open the doors. Guaranteeing safety and artistry, but also trying to safeguard the balance of the budget: as revenue from the sale of tickets this year, the Foundation foresaw 27 million euros!
A rendering showing the new layout of the theater
The Arena’s space layout is a great novelty, which for safety reasons, for the artists and the public, will have to modify the traditional scene-theater front. In the rendering shown in the preview, the Arena will present itself with a disposition that somehow recovers the original conception of the Roman era. Once the rows of seats in the stalls have been removed, this space will become the stage where the orchestra will be placed on a platform, with the musicians at a safe distance from each other.
Brilliant the solution to place at a safe distance the famous choir Arenian (wind and song, as you know, are the greatest danger for the spread of the “droplets”): each chorister will be placed on a special pedestal, arranged next to each other, circularly, along the perimeter of the ex-stalls, at the foot of the steps, so that the emission of the voice can take place in all breath.
Regarding capacity, if the Arena between stalls and tiers of seats can normally accommodate up to 13,500 people, the numbers will inevitably be revised downwards: placed on the steps alone, it is estimated that there will be about 3 thousand spectators. Safety for everyone therefore: for the public, in the disposition and modalities of entry and exit in the theater, and for the artists. To these Cecilia Gasdia, as an artist before even as superintendent, said to think with particular apprehension, understanding the pain of not being able to exhibit or try, irreplaceable actions, by any technology.
As for the 2020 billboard, already christened “In the heart of music”, the appointment would be for the month of August, for about ten event-evenings. If the Arena remains prudent in divulging dates and titles having to wait for the necessary ministerial authorization, the anticipation is that the adhesion of great international stars, of singing and music has already been gathered. In the list made known (in alphabetical order) it is certain that every music lover and music lover will find their favorites: Marcelo Álvarez, Marco Armiliato, Roberto Aronica, Daniela Barcellona, Ezio Bosso, Plácido Domingo, Yusif Eyvazov, Vittorio Grigolo, Francesco Meli, Anna Netrebko, Leo Nucci, Daniel Oren, Lisette Oropesa, Michele Pertusi, Saimir Pirgu, Anna Pirozzi, Marina Rebeka, Luca Salsi, Fabio Sartori, Ekaterina Semenchuk, María José Siri, Sonya Yoncheva.
In short: a project not only innovative but which in the intentions of the Foundation also wants to be one call to action, to spur all Italian theaters. An example of a season no less, but an edition in its own historical, memorable way. According to Cecilia Gasdia, it is necessary for ours not to become a generation without music. So that, he said paraphrasing Dante: “Coming out of this hell, we will enter to see the stars again … at the Arena in Verona”.
Opening photo: Il Trovatore. Courtesy of the Arena di Verona Foundation.