Battistelli, who has held administrative positions at Rome's Accademia Filarmonica and at the Biennale Musica in Venice, was born in Albano Laziale (near Rome) in 1953. He holds a diploma in composition from the Conservatory of L'Aquila, Italy, and studied in Germany with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel.
The Fondazione Arena di Verona is responsible for two major venues in the city: the huge, 2,000-year-old open-air Roman arena and the 18th-century Teatro Filarmonico. According to MusicalAmerica.com's Carlo Vitali, the arena, a popular tourist attraction, receives over half a million visitors each summer and its box office takings add up to just over half of the Fondazione's budget.
But the Fondazione has suffered some Montague-and-Capulet style feuds between local and national politicians as well as private sponsors, reports Vitali. That includes a 2002 lawsuit from former intendant Renzo Giacchieri, who sued the mayor and the board for firing him.
In January 2003, the then-43-year-old Claudio Orazi, who was General Manager and Artistic Director of the open-air Arena Sferisterio Macerata for eleven years, was appointed temporary general manager. His contract was renewed in July for another four years. According to Vitali, Orazi's successful tenure has thus far seen high attendance rates and the installation of a new stage design that enhances the arena's distinctive archaeological layout.