Il trovatore (Macerata OFF Festival)

July 21, 2013 § 2 Comments

Che bella serata!  And, just my luck, for it to be an evening in which the memory card of my camera is left behind inside my computer.    The only logical thing to do is repeat the evening next week (with proper documentation).


But, until proof through beautiful pictures, let me tell you about the best thing that I have done in Italy in a while.  It’s called muri e divisioni (also known as the Macerata Opera Festival).  This year, the festival is devoted to Verdi:  il Trovatore and Nabucco have premiered this weekend, and Britten’s Il Piccolo Spazzacamino and Sogni di una notte di mezza estate are opening in the next couple of weeks (how is a festival dedicated to a composer if only half of the pieces are his?)… and, if you’re still craving more, there is a Romeo and Juliet danza all’opera happening this week and the much-anticipated notte dell’opera on August 1st, in which the whole city dresses up and acts out opera scenes in the city center, all of which has been transformed into an interactive opera set.  I can’t sew my costume fast enough.


Anyways, let’s rewind a little bit.  Let’s start with Macerata.  It is a lovely art-and-culture-rich village surrounded by a large wall and on top of a very high hill in the middle of the beautiful Marche landscape.  The opera festival is held at the sferisterio, a truly unique outdoor performance space that kind of looks like an amphitheater, but isn’t.  Some say that it has the best acoustics in Italy.  I can’t dispute or confirm that statement, but I can say that it is the coolest place to watch a beautiful opera.  I bought a standing balcony ticket (primarily because strolling around on the top levels with all of the light people reminds me of being back at my theatre in Austin), and it was the best thing that I could have done.  You’re at the top of the open-air theatre, on top of a city, on top of a hill, with the view of all of Marche all around you.  Not to mention that it’s 9 PM; sunset time.  So, everything is bathed in golden light and pink highlights, and it’s really tough to bring your attention to the stage from the view of hills and oceans and mountains surrounding you.

Arena Sferisterio

But, then the orchestra starts playing and Ferrando starts singing, and you are captivated by the performance for the next three hours.  It wasn’t the best production of il trovatore that I have seen, but it’s been ages since I have seen an opera, and the environment was perfect (down to the old grandpa standing next to me and singing along to all of the famous arias and the couple behind me smoking their cigars and commenting on the costumes and the little girl peeking at the stage from between pillars), so I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Looking forward to the other operas.  If you’re in the area, there’s also aperitivi culturali every weekend for the next couple of weeks, in which you get to taste local wines and learn about quirky facts and theories about the festival’s composers and operas.  And a variety of other events, which can be found here.

Muri e divisioni

E vivo ancor!

All images (c) L’Associazione Arena Sferisterio.


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