Arena di Verona Orchestra

The prologue of what is known today as Orchestra dell’Arena di Verona, could be searched at the beginning of the 19th century: on January 29, 1806, for the occasion of the wedding of the Viceroy Eugenio of Beauharnais and the Princess Amalia of Bavaria, a symphonic-vocal concert was held in the Arena in their honor. On November 24, 1822, during the Congress of the Nations of the Holy Alliance, Rossini in person conducted a cantata in the Arena whose music was composed using the text by Veronese librettist Gaetano Rossi as a base. The orchestra was made up of 125 players who came from various regimental bands in the city. In July 31, 1842 the Stabat Mater by Rossini was performed in the same amphitheatre and was a truly magnificent event which was executed by an orchestra which was made up of more than fifty players and a choir which could boast a non inferior number of singers. An opera season was organized in the amphitheatre between August 2 and September 18, 1856. However, only with the performance of Aida on August 10, 1913 did the Arena become the venue for a regular opera festival. From then on the magnificent history of the Orchestra and its conductors began. Various conductors who are diverse as a result of their training, their culture and their style, have alternated on the most striking podium in the world. Among them there were also three conductor-composers: Pietro Mascagni who, in 1921, conducted Il piccolo Marat, Riccardo Zandonai, who in 1939 conducted Roméo et Juliette and Mikis Theodorakis who, in 1988, conducted Zorba the Greek. It was Tullio Serafin who inaugurated the conducting of the orchestra in the Opera Festival in the Arena in 1913. Great conductors were seen at the following solemn and popular lyrical seasons: Sergio Failoni Votto, Gino Marinuzzi, Vittorio Gui, Franco Capuana, Francesco Molinari Pradelli, Rudolf Kempe, Argeo Quadri, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Lovro von Matacic, Eliahu Inbal, Nello Santi, Peter Maag, Giuseppe Patané, Michel Plasson, Anton Guadagno, Yuri Ahronovitch, Donato Renzetti, Gustav Kuhn, Daniel Oren, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Georges Prêtre, Lü Jia and others. To conduct from the podium in the Arena has always been and remains to be a remarkable task. The emotions experienced are difficult to get used to. It is an intense international activity which turns the Arena Orchestra into a fundamental Ambassador of Italian culture. Opera, of course, is a veritable characteristic of this culture. The Arena and its orchestra proudly export, all over the world, a typical Italian product with a refined and rich quality.
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