26 giugno 2023
by Ada Capitani

In the heart of melodrama


An ancient festival that braves the passage of time and continues to delight its audiences even after a hundred years. The Arena di Verona Opera Festival, with the dual patronage of the Ministry of Culture and the Regione Veneto, celebrates this prestigious anniversary with an incredible playbill that brings an anthology of the best-loved and most-performed operas to the famous Roman amphitheater. From June 16 to September 9, 2023, the world's largest opera stage will host 49 events in less than three months, including 2 new productions, 6 historical productions, 4 gala evenings and 1 symphony concert. “We are working hard and tirelessly, together with the departments and all our skilled artists and technicians, to create a summer full of art, music and beauty. A great feat of creativity that I truly consider the culmination of these five years of work,” announced Cecilia Gasdia, Supervisor and Artistic Director of the Fondazione Arena di Verona. After all, music, first as a pianist and later as an opera singer, has been my whole life. It fills me with joy and emotion to know that my Verona has become a catalyst for the best voices in the world.” And so it was.

Celeste Aida, forma divina,

Mistico serto di luce e fior;

Del mio pensiero tu sei regina,

Tu di mia vita sei lo splendor.


Aida, musica di Giuseppe Verdi, libretto di Antonio Ghislanzoni.

The festival will open on June 16 with a new production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, the Arena's signature opera, with star Anna Netrebko in the title role alongside tenor Yusif Eyvazov as Radamès. The director and set and costume designer is Stefano Poda, a multifaceted artist of international renown, who is taking to the Arena stage for the first time. After more than two decades, the festival will also feature a second new production on the bill. The award-winning actor and director Antonio Albanese will stage Verdi's Rigoletto, starting Saturday, July 1, for four evenings, with four of the world's best baritones in the role of the notorious court jester: Roman Burdenko, Ludovic Tézier, Luca Salsi and Amartuvshin Enkhbat. Other star performers include tenors Juan Diego Flórez and Piotr Beczała and soprano Nadine Sierra. The show marks the directorial debut of Albanese at the Arena di Verona, with his interpretation of the opera paying homage to the great Italian neorealist cinema of the 1950s.

O vinti, il capo a terra!

Il vincitor son io.

Ben l’ho chiamato in guerra,

ma venne il vostro Dio?

Tema ha di me: resistermi,

stolti, chi mai potrà?


Nabucco, musica di Giuseppe Verdi, libretto di Temistocle Solera.

Io sono docile

Son rispettosa

Sono obbediente

Dolce, amorosa

Mi lascio reggere, mi lascio reggere

Mi fo guidar, mi fo guidar, ma...

Ma se mi toccano

Dov’è il mio debole

Sarò una vipera, sarò


Il barbiere di Siviglia, musica di Gioacchino Rossini, libretto di Cesare Sterbini.

"The unique and extraordinary program with 8 operas and 5 galas created for the 100th Festival,” says Stefano Trespidi, Deputy Artistic Director, “makes the bill for the 2023 season more diverse than ever. Indeed, it is a unique feature of the Arena di Verona to be able to hear great stars taking turns in the same opera: each performance is unique, each evening is its own premiere, of unrepeatable artistic and emotional value.”

La donna è mobile

Qual piuma al vento

Muta d’accento

E di pensiero

Sempre un amabile

Leggiadro viso

In pianto o in riso

È menzognero


Rigoletto, musica di Giuseppe Verdi, libretto di Francesco Maria Piavei.

Audiences will also be able to relive six productions that have marked the history of the Opera Festival. From The Barber of Seville by Rossini on June 24 to Puccini's Tosca (from July 29) directed by Hugo de Ana. Followed by Nabucco by Verdi (from July 15) directed by Gianfranco de Bosio, Carmen by Bizet (from June 23), Puccini's Madama Butterfly (from August 12) and Verdi's La Traviata (from July 8) as produced by Franco Zeffirelli–his last production of the famous work–which closes the 100th edition of the festival and will feature Anna Netrebko in her final performance playing Violetta on the evening of Saturday, September 9. The first and last performances of La Traviata will also feature the principal dancers of La Scala, Nicoletta Manni and Timofej Andrijashenko, who on this very stage in Verona in 2022 amazed the audience with a surprise marriage proposal.  The program for the 100th edition of the festival is enriched by the Gala Evenings. The big favorite ‘Roberto Bolle and Friends’ (July 19) and three additional shows specially created to celebrate three great performers: Juan Diego Flórez for his Arena di Verona debut (July 23), Plácido Domingo for his tribute to the festival on this special occasion (August 25) and Jonas Kaufmann for his grand return (August 20). There will also be first-time guest appearances on the Arena di Verona stage by the orchestra and chorus of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan conducted by Riccardo Chailly (August 31). 

Con onor muore

Chi non può serbar vita con onore

Tu? Tu? Tu? Tu? Tu? Tu? Tu?

Piccolo iddio! Amore, amore mio!

Fior di giglio e di rose!

Non saperlo mai!

Per te, pei tuoi puri occhi

Muor Butterfly

Perché tu possa andar

Di là dal mare

Senza che ti rimorda

Ai dì maturi

Il materno abbandono

Oh, a me sceso dal trono

Dell’alto paradiso

Guarda ben fiso, fiso

Di tua madre la faccia

Che ten resti una traccia, guarda ben!

Amore, addio! Addio, piccolo amor!

Va’, gioca, gioca!


Madama butterfly, musica di Giacomo Puccini,  libretto di Giuseppe Giacosa.

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