Verona's nearly 2,000-year-old amphitheater, the Arena di Verona, will open the 90th season of its internationally-renowned Lyric Festival this Friday the the 22nd of June.
For the 2012 season, the Arena will feature six operas Tuesdays through Sundays between the 22nd of June and the 2nd of September. Mozart's Don Giovanni, Verdi's Aida, and Bizet's Carmen will premiere in late June, followed by Gounod's Roméo et Juliette in July, Puccini's Turandot in early August, and his Tosca in mid-August.
Don Giovanni opens the season under the masterful direction of Franco Zeffirelli, who has directed the opera he calls the "most beautiful opera ever created, an unsolved mystery which gives the possibility to express great emotional and interpretational ideas" nine times in his career. The first work of Mozart to grace the stage of the Arena, Don Giovanni will be performed for the first time this season and play only six times, ending on the 25th of July.
Each summer, the Arena welcomes nearly 500.000 visitors. The audience set-up for the opera features seats on risers following the curve of the area and modern orchestra seating, as well as unreserved seating along the original stone steps of the area, which are lit with candlelight after sundown.
Tickets are available through the Arena di Verona website, and we have a complete guide to choosing an opera and preparing for the show.