Italy Roma Opera Aperta
Even his enemies said that Barack Obama ran the best presidential campaign within living memory. Part of its success was the slogan. Yes We Can. The city of Rome seem to have picked up on the president’s technique. First we had, Roma città aperta (open to who? You may ask, but most folks don’t get to that question, they just think it’s a nice idea to be “welcoming”). And now, for this year’s Caracalla (the Rome opera moved outside to the ancient Baths of that Emperor for their short summer season) the Municipality are punting on Roma Opera Aperta.
The city mayor, Ignazio Marino, is also Chair of the Board of the Rome Opera, so politics occupy centre court here. He and the theatre’s Sovrintendente, (General Manager) Carlo Fuortes spent most of the press conference (18 April) parroting platitudes about growth: mostly more performances (16 instead of last year’s 9) and more seats to be made available to more people. Is that aperta enough? That depends on some arithmetic in which a key unknown figure enters into the equation. Last year there were three thousand five hundred seats available. But that figure is rising because a plan to extend seating is being carried out , wherein many more seats will be made available at affordable prices (the highest ticket prices this year are €135 and the lowest €20. ) Fuortes (with Marino as little-sir-echo) said work was in progress in restructuring on the sight and until it was more advanced, precise numbers would not be available; but he assured the press the numbers would be an advance of the 3500. So how many seats and for how many bums and for how many euros remains in the dark for the moment.
The season kicks off on 24 June with a one-night stand of L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittoria in a revisiting of Bizet’s Carmen. This is certainly less ambitious than Carmen Jones but word of mouth suggests it could be just as entertaining. These predominantly young dancers, singers and actors are causing a stir in Italian cultural circles and part of their manifesto is culture for the people. This will be a world premiere. I haven’t seen them yet. But I shall make an effort to report on them (top tickets €40, bottom price tickets €20) not least because in the main indoor house, Rome Opera is presenting Carmen with Anita Rachvelishvili, in the same period.
Next comes the Tokyo Ballet with three pieces with Béjart choreography –Sept Danses Grecques, Don Giovanni and Le Sacre du Printemps. (top and bottom prices, €90 and20) Performances: 27 and 28 June.
Prices remain the same for the Rome Opera Ballet’s Swan Lake on 3, 7, 9, 11, 15 July. Iana Salenko, Alessandra Amato and Ludmila Pagliero alternate as Odette / Odile and Giuseppe Picone and Paulo Arrais as the Prince.
The golden boy of Italian dance has an evening on 25 July, Roberto Bolle and Friends with tickets rocketing back up to between €135 and €25.
There are two new opera productions, both from promising affirmed stage directors. La Bohème from Davide Livermore (staging, sets, costumes and lighting) and conducted by Daniele Rustioni. Carmela Remigio and Simge Büyükedes alternate as Mimi; Aquiles Machado and Alessandro Liberatore as Rodolfo; Claudio Sgura and Marco Caria as Marcello and Rosa Feola and Mihaela Marcu as Musetta 14, 18, 26, 29, 31 July and 2, 4, 7, 9 August.
Lorenzo Mariani is the stage director of Il Barbiere di Siviglia with sets by William Orlandi and costumes by Silvia Aymonino. Stefano Montanari conducts. Annalisa Stroppa is Rosina and Mikhail Korobeinikov Don Basilio. Vito Priante and Davide Luciano alternate as Figaro and Renè Barbera and Juan José de Leon as Count Almaviva. 23, 28 and 30 July and 1, 5, 6, 8 August.
There is probably more in this report about euros than operas. But I am reporting on what we were given at the press conference. The politicians were firmly in charge. Like the rest of the world, Rome cannot live without them. Don’t complain. There is a side of me which wishes this team well with their growth programme.