Rome opera house returns to Baths of Caracalla with summer festival

Teatro dell’Opera di Roma presents Caracalla Festival 2023.

Rome’s opera house, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, has unveiled a bumper programme for its summer festival among the ancient Roman ruins at the Baths of Caracalla.

In addition to opera, the festival will include a range of genres, from symphonic music, dance and theatre to cinema, jazz and pop concerts.

The Caracalla Festival 2023 programme spans more than 50 evenings from 30 May until 10 August, with the new Teatro del Portico space reserved for cinema, jazz and theatre, alongside the Teatro Grande arena.

Noting the “extraordinary turnout” of more than 110,000 spectators last year, Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri said the 2023 festival offers “an even richer and more varied programme for a unique stage in the world such as Caracalla.”

Francesco Giambrone, superintendent of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, said the aim of this year’s programme is to “create an interdisciplinary festival based on the juxtaposition of genres.”

Giambrone also said the festival is “dedicated in many ways to Giuseppe Verdi” amid the nationwide Viva Verdi fund-raising campaign to help the state buy Villa Verdi, the museum and former home of the celebrated Italian opera composer.

The summer festival kicks off on 30 May with a series of pop concerts, beginning with Zucchero (30-31 May, 2-4 June); Fiorella Mannoia and Danilo Rea on 1 June; Venditti-De Gregori on 5, 7, 8 and 15 June; Andrea Bocelli on 10 June; Negramaro on 13, 14 and 16 June; and Massimo Ranieri on 24 July.

The festival programme will be inaugurated officially however on 23 June with the world premiere of the restored version of Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator with the soundtrack performed live by the Teatro dell’Opera orchestra, conducted by Timothy Brock.

The festival celebrates Verdi with two masterpieces: La traviata, from 21 July to 9 August, in the 2018 staging by Lorenzo Mariani which sets the Parisian story in the 1960s Dolce Vita era, paying homage to Federico Fellini’s Rome. This is followed by Rigoletto, from 3-10 August, in the staging by Damiano Michieletto which sets it in an imaginary criminal world.

Dance fans can look forward to Strictly Gershwin, from 1-4 July, described as “a joyful and overwhelming musical” featuring étoiles, principal dancers, soloists and the Corpo di Ballo of the Rome Opera, directed by Eleonora Abbagnato. The show, a tribute to George Gershwin and his music by choreographer and director Derek Deane, will be conducted by Michael England with Alessandro Taverna on piano.

The summer dance programme at the Baths of Caracalla would not be complete without Roberto Bolle and Friends, from 11-13 July, with the Gran Gala including guest stars Maia Makhateli and Jacopo Tissi accompanied by many others.

On 9 July the Symphony n. 9 by Beethoven will be conducted by Myung-Whun Chung, with the Teatro dell’Opera orchestra and chorus, directed by Ciro Visco.

There will be two theatrical performances: Gli occhiali di Šostakovič by Valerio Cappelli, who is also the director, on 5-6 July, dedicated to the great Russian composer, played by Moni Ovadia, with projections and live music.

There is also a film festival dedicated to Verdi, which brings to light little-known films inspired by the great composer and his works, from 26 June to 3 July.

For jazz fans, the Stefano Di Battista Quartet performs on 31 July, with “Morricone stories jazz”; three aperitif-concerts designed to be followed also by spectators of the opera on stage the same evening, on 2, 4 and 6 August; and an evening with the Cutello Brothers entitled “New generation”, on 7 August.

The Baths of Caracalla pays tribute to the great photographer Letizia Battaglia through an exhibition of photographs and documents spanning from the start of her career to her final works before her death last year.

For full details about the summer programme as well as ticket information see Teatro dell’Opera di Roma website.

Photo Fabrizio Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma