Verona Opera

Feb 15th, 2001, 08:31 AM
  #1  
DeAnn
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Verona Opera

We will be in Verona in July and thought that we might attend the opera in the arena. We are not opera experts by any means, but thought it would be lovely music in a great atmosphere. Has anyone had this experience? What are your impressions? The tickets seem expensive, is the arena web site the best place to purchase? Thanks so much for the help.
D
 
Feb 15th, 2001, 08:44 AM
  #2  
Bob
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I've been there several times and the price is well worth the experience, even in the less expensive seats. "Aida" is the best opera to see there and the hardest to get tickets for. I know that there are some travel agents that will sell hotel and tickets together in a package deal but I'm not sure if it's any cheaper. Good luck.
 
Feb 15th, 2001, 01:17 PM
  #3  
Patrick
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One of the highlights of our trip last summer was to be Aida in Verona. We bought our tickets almost a full year ahead, and two friends arranged their joining us in Italy around that date, getting two more tickets. We got our tickets through our hotel, Gabbia d'Oro which simply added about a $1.00 each service charge. This ended up being a smart deal. The night of the opera we went to a wonderful dinner at 12 Apostles and it started to rain. We went back to the hotel and changed to more casual clothes and donned rain coats and umbrellas. The opera was delayed, the rain stopped, they cleaned the stage, then more rain. This happened on and off until 11 PM before they finally made the announcement that the opera was cancelled. This was a Saturday night and our train to Zermatt was early the next morning. They announced that you would have to stand in line the next day after 10 AM to get refunds or exchange tickets. The hotel took care of our refund for us, sending us the money (nearly $600 worth of Lira in cash through the mail to our home in the States). It was all a huge disappointment, but at least now we have quite a few lira to start our next vacation. Other than your hotel, I would think the web site is the best place to buy the tickets. Actually our hotel purchased them for us before they went on sale to the general public. We had stayed at the same hotel the summer before (before the opera season started) and made arrangements with them then to get us the tickets.
 
Feb 15th, 2001, 02:21 PM
  #4  
Paulo
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When we went the last time (summer 97), tickets weren't sold online yet. I reserved/bought by telephone with a credit card. The tickets were at my disposal at their office right beside the Arena. To get the tickets I had to show the credit card (same number as informed by phone). I would guess that the online ticket service may work the same way, that is, you may pick your tickets up the day of the presentation (office stays open up the minutes before the presentation).

I've been to the Opera in Verona both, on numbered seats (much more expensive) and unnumbered "gradinata" (around $20). One has much more fun in the cheaper seats (very fraternal ambience, people with their picknick basket exchanging food, singing the better known parts of the libretto, making fun of each other ...). The reserved seats are much more formal, almost as if you were in a theatre.

The "gradinata" seating is very hard ... be sure to rent a cushion (at the end of the presentation all cushions are thrown in the arena - a spectacle of its own).

There's a major problem with the gradinata, though. It works on a first come, first serve basis. To get the best seating (approx. 45 degrees to the stage axis), one has to stand in line well before the gates are openend (around 6:30pm on the queue to enter around 8pm). And the heat is normally very high. One swets one's heart out.

With reserved seats, instead, one may show up 10 minutes before start.

As Patrick experienced, though July is a dry month, it rains sometimes. If the first act is started and it rains thereafter one doesn't get a refund. The performance is suspended (temporarily) with the first drop of rain (specially violins can take any water). If the rain doesn't subside after a certain (?) time the rest of the show is cancelled.

Last time we saw Aida a few drops (not more then about 10 at any given spot) of rain fell just before the end (last aria) ... so we were able to watch one of the rare presentatons in which Aida managed to escape death

Paulo
 
Feb 15th, 2001, 02:23 PM
  #5  
Paulo
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Oh, DeAnn, in case it has a bearing, Aida in particular finishes around 1:30am!
 
Feb 15th, 2001, 03:02 PM
  #6  
Patrick
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Paulo's comments are well taken. We were in the expensive seats with cushions, the 5th row in fact, so they were nearly $150 each, but we figured it would be worth it, and probably would if we had ever seen it. Although we were disappointed, I would have been even more disappointed at paying $20 for a seat and being surrounded by people making fun of each other and singing along with the opera! While that may sound like fun to some, it wouldn't be why I'd travel to Europe to see one of the great opera festivals of the world.
Incidentally the cushion throwing custom still happened when the show was cancelled. You haven't lived until you've seen thousands of cushions completely soaked with water hit a stage at high velocity. It was sort of like a meteor shower of water balloons. Actually I was surprised that no one was seriously hurt, especially as some of those very heavy cushions missed their mark of the stage and hit umbrellas.
 
Feb 15th, 2001, 03:55 PM
  #7  
Paulo
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I respect your opinion, Patrick. You went there, saw it (at least the scenery) and unfortunately you may only immagine/guess what would be. Rain in July is so rare that this was very unfortunate (something around a 1/20 chance).

Verona's Opera Festival is a popular event and in that cathegory it is THE GREATEST in the world. In other words, more than half the audience each night out has no means to attend, how shall I call it, more "refined" presentations. Except maybe for opening night or once or twice along the whole festival, performers are far from being first class stars. Actually they're virtually unknown. The same goes with the orchestra and conductor. Relative to, say, La Scala, the sound is very poor.

What IMO makes it a great show is the "grandeur" of its stage and setting (one can't focus the stage as a whole from any point of the Arena) which enables performers to "tell the story" much better than on a small (normal) stage AND the partecipation of a huge audience (which you'll hear also from your 5th row ... well, maybe not if you're in the center, but certainly from the 12th up).

Seeing the Aida in the La Scala and the Arena are completely different experiences ... both great!

Paulo
 
Feb 15th, 2001, 04:06 PM
  #8  
howard
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Paulo, you have made many, many wonderful contributions to this forum. But the ones on this thread are definitely among your best ever. While I am an opera lover, your descriptions made me yearn to be sitting not in what you called the "formal" section, but in the gradinata and having what would probably be a most memorable experience!
 

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