Opera at the Arena ★★★

A performance of Aïda at the Arena of Verona, Opera at the Arena, Verona, Italy (Photo by Christian Abend)
A performance of Aïda at the Arena of Verona

See an opera or concert in a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater

Seating in the Arena, Opera at the Arena, Verona, Italy. (Photo by Orledio)
A stage set, Opera at the Arena, Verona, Italy. (Photo by 66colpi)
Ready for the show, Opera at the Arena, Verona, Italy. (Photo by Claconvr)

Verona's renowned opera season begins in late June and extends through August in Verona's Arena, the ancient Roman amphitheater.

It began in 1913 with a staging of Aïda to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Verdi's birth, and Aïda in all of its extravagant glory has been performed yearly ever since; when I last attended, in 2000, modern dance and minimalist scenery were incorporated to great effect.

Expect to see other Verdi works such as Un Ballo in Maschera, Nabucco, La Traviata, and Rigoletto. 

Those seated on the least-expensive, unreserved stone steps costing €27 ($31)–€30 ($34) enjoy fresh air, excellent acoustics, and a view over the Arena's top to the city and surrounding hills beyond. The rub is that Jose Carreras will only appear to be one inch high.

Numbered seats below cost anywhere from €39 ($44) to €300 ($339); all tickets are subject to an advance booking fee of €2.50 ($3)–€20 ($23)—worth it, unless you're willing to tough it out by lining up at 4 or 5pm for the 6pm opening of the gates for unreserved seating (and the show doesn't even start until 9pm).

There are also plenty of non-operatic concerts and performances—from the philharmonic to jazz to rock. (I once saw a great rock opera here called—what else—Giulietta e Romeo.) 

How to get tickets for the Area in Verona

The box office is located on Via Dietro Anfiteatro 6b; credit card purchase accepted by phone or online (tel. 045-800-5151). You pick up tickets the night of the performance.

You can also buy tickets at the IAT tourist office on the S side of Piazza Brà

If you hope to find tickets upon arrival, remember that Aïda is everyone's most requested performance; weekend performances are usually sold out.

As a last-minute resort, be nice to your hotel manager or concierge—everyone has a connection, or a relative with a connection. And even on the most coveted nights (weekend performances by top names), scalpers abound.

Photo gallery
  • A performance of Aïda at the Arena of Verona, Opera at the Arena, Italy (Photo by Christian Abend)
  • Seating in the Arena, Opera at the Arena, Italy (Photo by Orledio)
  • A stage set, Opera at the Arena, Italy (Photo by 66colpi)
  • Ready for the show, Opera at the Arena, Italy (Photo by Claconvr)

Verona tours

More tours
 
 
 

Related

★★★
The amazing Arena in the heart of Verona (Photo by Kevin Poh)
Arena
Città Antica di Verona

The world's best-preserved ancient Roman amphitheater is still used for concerts