It has been a long wait for the opening night of the 89th Arena di Verona Opera Festival: but this June 17th, the famous Roman amphitheatre and icon of the city of Verona, will play host to the first night of a new production of La Traviata, the opera by Giuseppe
Verdi inspired by the novel "The Lady of the Camellias" by the French writer Alexandre Dumas (the younger).
This is just one of two new productions features in this year's programme, the other being the production of "Romeo and Juliet", which are destined to reignite the souls of all opera fans in a long series of shows in the magical atmosphere of the biggest open-air theatre in the world. From 17th June to 3rd September, the Arena will provide intense emotions, bringing to the stage 49 operas including Aida, Nabucco, The Barber of Seville and La Bohème. For those wishing to see La Traviata at the Arena, there are nine dates available: 17th and 24th June, 2nd, 12th, 16th, 21st and 28th July, and 4th and 11th August.
How to get the tickets
You can buy tickets to any of the Arena di Verona shows on-line either directly through the Arena Website the arena website or any other website selling tickets for the Arena’s event. Buying tickets in advance is always a good idea if you do not want to miss the chance to see a performance at the amphitheatre, but if you had not planned this in advance and are already in Verona, you can try your luck and see if there are any tickets left at the “biglietteria” (ticket office) in the Arena.
Choosing the right seat depends obviously on availability and price. There are various kinds of ticket ranging from the most expensive Poltronissime Gold (best seats in the stalls) which cost between €183 and €193 to seats on the Gradinate (sitting right on the stone steps) whose price varies according to more or less central position from € 25.00 to € 21.00.
Seats in the stalls are usually the best, for both full view of the stage and quality of sound. However, experts tend to agree that the acoustics in the Arena can be disappointing at times, as it is very much influenced by weather conditions; if you get there on a windy night do not expect great sound quality. If you get tickets for the Gradinate, keep in mind that sector F is under the sun all afternoon and, therefore, this is the hottest spot in the arena. To sit more comfortably on the stone steps you can hire cushions at the Arena or you can bring one with you.
Choosing the Opera and getting the libretto
Even the choice of the right Opera to see might depend simply on tickets’ availability and the time you are in Verona. However, if you can plan this in advance, try to study the programme of the season on the website of the Arena (available in Enghlish) in order to understand what suits your taste. Remember to check the details regarding the specific production; for instance, if what you are after is a classic version of La Traviata or Turandot, you might be disappointed by a modern version of the opera.
To fully enjoy your evening do some homework before going to Verona. Look for a book or go on-line to find out about the plot and the main features of the opera you are planning to see. While you can by the libretto at the Arena, it will cost you much less to purchase it in a book shop beforehand or simply print it out from one of the main dedicated websites where you can also find the translation.
What to wear
While no one should ever take the joy of dressing up for the opera away from you, it is not necessary wear anything particularly elegant unless you want to, especially if you are sitting on the stone steps. In this case it would be actually sensible to wear something comfortable and light. While queueing to get in and during the first hours of the night it could be rather hot. However, take a jumper with you because at the end of the evening it can get chilly. Long light trousers might be more comfortable than shorts if you choose to hire cushions as they can be rather sticky.
What time you should be there
The Arena opens at 7pm, than you have to wait for a couple of hours until it gets dark enough for the performance to start. If you buy tickets for the stone steps which do not have specific seat numbers, the best thing to do is to start queeing early, around 5 pm, to be able to choose the best spots once you are in. Given the long wait that this entails, take some water and anything else that might make your wait more comfortable with you.
Other practical infos: food, toilets and drinks
Toilets within the Arena are only available to people sitting on numbered seats or in sector E door 68, because of access problems. Other people need to go outside the Arena to use external chemical toilets and get their ticket stamped so that they can get back in. Be prepared for long queues. You can not go to the Arena as if you were going camping, small fridges and cooling bags are not allowed. You can certainly bring some water with you or something small to eat, or you can buy something to eat or drink from vendors who go around the seats to sell even gelato.
Although you are in an open-air theatre, smoking is not allowed in the Arena, not even under the arches in the passageways
From 17th June to 3rd September, the Arena will provide intense emotions, bringing to the stage 49 operas including Aida, Nabucco, The Barber of Seville and La Bohème.
For those wishing to see La Traviata at the Arena, there are nine dates available: 17th and 24th June, 2nd, 12th, 16th, 21st and 28th July, and 4th and 11th August.
For further infos check the Arena di Verona website