Arena di Verona Festival Opens with Verdi's Nabucco and Aida

Classic Arts News   Arena di Verona Festival Opens with Verdi's Nabucco and Aida
The Arena di Verona Festival, the largest and longest European outdoor opera festival, opens its 85th season today with Verdi's Nabucco.

A new production by Denis Kries, the festival's run of Nabucco will feature singers Leo Nucci and Ambrogio Maestri alternating in the title role; Maria Guleghina, Susan Neves and Andrea Gruber sharing the part of Abigaille; Carlo Colombara and Silvano Carroli as Zaccaria; and Nino Surguladze as Fenena. Kries also serves as its costume and stage designer. Conductor Daniel Oren leads the Orchestra of Arena di Verona in its ten performances.

The four other operas to be presented in the Arena this summer are Verdi's Aida, Puccini's La Bohme, Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and Verdi's La traviata.

Aida, which will receive the most performances (17) this season, will be directed by Giampiero Solari with costume and stage design by Sergio Tramonti. Its notable cast of singers includes: Hui He, Amarilli Nizza, Micaela Carosi as Aida; Piero Giuliacci and Marco Berti as Radames; and Marianne Cornetti, Elena Manistina and Dolora Zajick as Amneris. The opera has remained the festival's most popular since inaugurating the festival in 1913; there have been 47 different productions and some 500 performances.

The Arena's third production, La Bohme, debuted in 2005 and will be directed this summer by Arnaud Bernard with costume and stage designs by William Orlandi. Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, the festival's next production, will be directed by Hugo de Ana, who will also serve as its costume and stage designer.

The last opera is Verdi's La traviata, directed by Graham Vick with stage and costumes designs by Paul Brown. This production made its debut in 2004 and features a story transposed to the present day.

The festival, which recently appointed composer Giorgio Battistelli as its new artistic director, holds its performances in an ancient Roman amphitheater whose original seating capacity topped at 30,000. Spectators bring small candles that are lit as night falls and the concerts start.

The Arena di Verona Festival has planned a total of 49 performances and runs until September 1; details are available at

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