Caracalla Festival 2023: the new summer programme

Opera, dance, cinema, theatre, magnificent symphonic music, jazz and pop, the Teatro dell’Opera’s summer programme becomes a festival: the Caracalla Festival 2023, with 50 events from 30 May to 10 August. The offer is expanded, but also the spaces available are increased: to the usual 4,500-seat arena, the Teatro Grande near the ancient Baths, is added the Teatro del Portico, in the area of the so-called Temple of Jupiter, suitable for hosting new and different kinds of performances.

Many famous artists are featured in the programme: Myung-Whun Chung for the symphonic music; directors Damiano Michieletto and Lorenzo Mariani for the opera; Roberto Bolle and Jacopo Tissi for the ballet, and of course the Corps de Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma directed by Eleonora Abbagnato; Moni Ovadia for the theatre; Stefano Di Battista, Giovanni and Matteo Cutello for jazz music; singers such as Antonello Venditti, Francesco De Gregori, Fiorella Mannoia with Danilo Rea, Andrea Bocelli and, for the first time in Caracalla, Zucchero, Negramaro and Massimo Ranieri.

The Caracalla Festival 2023 and all the Foundation’s activities are made possible thanks to the generous support of Camera di Commercio of Rome and ACEA our private partners. Equally important is the contribution of companies that have chosen to support our activities as Patrons and Sponsors: Banca del Fucino, Terna, BMW Roma and Aeroporti di Roma.

«After last summer’s successful experience, which was characterised by the enthusiasm of a huge crowd of more than 110,000 spectators,» says Roberto Gualtieri, Mayor of Rome and President of the Foundation, «the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is back to offer a programme of performances of the highest quality for the Estate Romana, an even richer and more diversified offer for a stage, such as Caracalla, that is unique. The Caracalla Festival 2023 has been conceived, thanks to the ongoing commitment of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in the area of culture, in agreement with the Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma. This Festival is a real combination of art and emotions, a mix of feelings and unforgettable summer evenings for thousands of young people, tourists, and Romans who, with their large number, express their great desire to experience moments of absolute beauty and intensity. A Festival that widens its offer and its venues for new experiences and unique cultural interactions. I would like to thank all the people working for the Foundation: from the Sovrintendente to the Orchestra and the Corps de Ballet, from the Choir to the Technicians. I would also like to thank the Sovrintendente Speciale of Rome Daniela Porro for her hospitality».

«The Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is back in Caracalla for the second consecutive year after the pandemic and after last summer’s extraordinary success,» says Francesco Giambrone, Sovrintendente of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, «and this year we are doing so with the aim of staging an “interdisciplinary” Festival based on the blending of genres that will involve all the Foundation’s artistic ensembles, Orchestra, Chorus, Corps de Ballet and Technicians, in 50 events with a programme that in many ways is dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi, thus interpreting a sentiment that is permeating the whole country thanks to the ‘VIVA Verdi’project. With a focus on the Festival, the close and valuable collaboration with the Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma and the management of the Terme di Caracalla will add an extra space to the traditional Teatro Grande that will allow many Romans and tourists to enjoy an area that had not been accessible for years. In this space, which we have called Teatro del Portico, we will feature a sequence of events dedicated to cinema, jazz, theatre, new talents with performances by the artists of ‘Fabbrica’ Young Artist Program, the students of the Scuola di Danza and the Scuola di Canto Corale, and also an area dedicated to the children».

«We are delighted once again to host at the Terme di Caracalla one of the world’s most renowned summer programmes of opera, ballet, and other musical genres,» says Daniela Porro, Sovrintendente Speciale of Rome, «and we will also make our own contribution with a tribute to the great photographer Letizia Battaglia, organised in cooperation with the publishing House Electa in two areas next to the western gymnasium that will be open to the public for the first time. At the centre of the programme for the coming summer, organised by the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in agreement with the Soprintendenza, in addition to the events related to concerts and dance, there is also the celebration of Giuseppe Verdi with two operas that will be accompanied by a number of initiatives. A new feature of the Festival will be held in an additional venue that has been off the tour circuit for decades: in front of the so-called Temple of Jupiter, a portico near the Baths enclosure, dedicated in ancient times to cultural activities, which will be enhanced for the occasion with special lighting. The collaboration with the Teatro dell’Opera will strengthen the cultural offer to the city, amplifying the interest for this magnificent monument of imperial Rome».



Beyond the pop music proposal, which kicks off on 30 May, the programme opens with the world premiere screening of the restored version of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator with music performed by the Orchestra of the Teatro dell’Opera, on Friday 23 June at 9.30 p.m.. This is the latest stage of a project launched in 1999 that aims to show all of Chaplin’s movies with a live performance of the soundtrack, the film of the famous masterpiece has undergone restoration by the Cineteca Nazionale of Bologna, while Timothy Brock, musical director of the “Chaplin Association”, has restored the original score with the music composed by Charlie Chaplin and Meredith Willson. These include the music for the famous dance scene with the globe by Adenoid Hynkel to music from Wagner’s Lohengrin, and those accompanying the episode of the Jewish barber to the Hungarian Dances by Brahms. On the podium of the Orchestra of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is Timothy Brock, who supervised all the reconstructions of the film scores, in collaboration with the Chaplin Association of Paris. «“The Cineteca Nazionale” of Bologna,» says Gianluca Farinelli, director of the Cineteca and president of the Rome Film Festival, «has been working on Charlie Chaplin’s work for almost 25 years. A huge project, which is not only about the cataloguing and digitisation of the archive or the restoration of a filmography of masterpieces alone: the Chaplin Project revives his cinema in the contemporary world and makes it accessible to new generations. Particularly special occasions are of course those when music – by Chaplin himself – accompanies the images, creating a truly captivating show. Chaplin then comes to that magical place that is the Terme di Caracalla, with The Great Dictator, one of the highest moments of his Art and the History of cinema, a film that is part of History, but that also speaks to us people of the 21st century».



In the year of ‘VIVA Verdi’, the initiative promoted by the Ministry of Culture for the preservation, promotion and valorisation of Villa Verdi, the house-museum of the composer in Sant’Agata di Villanova sull’Arda, two masterpieces of the so-called “popular trilogy” are scheduled. Whereas the 2023 Caracalla Festival will focus on Verdi, the 2024 edition will be dedicated to Puccini, as a tribute to the centenary of his death.

From 21 July to 9 August, Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata returns to the stage in the set designed in 2018 by Lorenzo Mariani, who sets the Parisian story, based on La dame aux camélias by Dumas’ son, in the dolce vita years of the 1960s, paying tribute to Federico Fellini’s Rome. Up on the podium goes Paolo Arrivabeni. On stage there is Francesca Dotto, who has already performed Violetta several times at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma; there will be also Christopher Maltman and Marco Caria as Giorgio Germont; Giovanni Sala and Alessandro Scotto di Luzio as Alfredo Germont.

From the “Dolce Vita” to the “malavita”, with Verdi’s second masterpiece, Rigoletto, staged from 3 to 10 August in a production by Damiano Michieletto that sets it in a fictional criminal world. Produced for the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, it was staged in the summer of 2020 at the Circo Massimo, after months of theatre closures due to the pandemic. Michieletto on this occasion makes some changes to his original project to match the needs of a different open-air space, the one at Caracalla. On the podium goes Riccardo Frizza, while the main singers are Roberto Frontali, already Rigoletto in 2020 at the Circo Massimo, Nina Minasyan (Gilda), Piero Pretti (Duke of Mantua), as well as Martina Belli and Riccardo Zanellato who perform again as in 2020 as Maddalena and Sparafucile respectively.

Also starring in both Traviata and Rigoletto is the Chorus of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma conducted by Ciro Visco.

Also featured are the young talents Scuola di Canto Corale of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma e “Fabbrica”, the theatre’s Young Artist Program directed by Lorenzo Amato. There will be two events at the Teatro del Portico: on Wednesday 12 July at 7 p.m. the Concert of the Coro Preparatorio and the Schola Cantorum (TICKETS), while on Monday 17 July at 9 p.m. Ricostruzione 1.0 (TICKETS): a dreamlike fantasy to music by Mozart, Rossini, Bellini and Puccini, an event entirely produced by “Fabbrica”, will be performed.



The programme of ballet opens with Cinderella bu Rudolf Nureyev from 1 to 4 July,  featuring étoiles, principal dancers, soloists and the Corps de Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, directed by Eleonora Abbagnato.

It is still great dancing with the traditional evenings of Roberto Bolle and Friends, with a total of three performances from 11 to 13 July, and with the Grand Gala on Sunday 23rd July featuring guest stars such as Maia Makhateli and Jacopo Tissi combined with the étoiles Alessandra Amato, Rebecca Bianchi, Susanna Salvi, Alessio Rezza and the first ballet dancers Claudio Cocino and Michele Satriano, soloists and the Corps de Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. On the podium of the Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera there will be Alvise Casellati.

On 23rd July at 7 p.m., at the Teatro del Portico, the Scuola di Danza of the Opera is the main protagonist with two ballets (TICKETS): a suite from Raymonda by Marius Petipa revived by Ofelia Gonzalez and Pablo Moret and Il carnevale degli animali by Davide Bombana.



The main symphonic music event is a masterpiece: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. On Sunday 9 July at 9 p.m. it will be conducted by a great performer such as Myung-Whun Chung, in his debut at Caracalla with the Orchestra and Choir of the Theatre, conducted by Ciro Visco, and the solo voices of Olga Bezsmertna, Sara Mingardo, Giovanni Sala and Roberto Tagliavini.



Two theatrical performances, also held in the venue of the Teatro del Portico: Gli occhiali di Šostakovič by Valerio Cappelli, who also directs, on Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 July at 9 p.m., dedicated to the great Russian composer, performed by Moni Ovadia and accompanied by projections and live music. On Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 July at 7 p.m. there is Valerio Magrelli’s reading and a commentary on Ovid’s The Metamorphoses (TICKETS).



Also dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi is the film festival that brings to light not very well-known films inspired by the works of the great composer. Three evenings are scheduled from 26 June to 3 July at the Teatro del Portico (TICKETS), with film screenings of Giuseppe Verdi nella vita e nella gloria by Giuseppe De Liguoro, Macbeth Neo Film Opera by Daniele Campea, Sulle orme di Verdi and La terra del melodramma by Luciano Emmer, La traviata by Franco Enriquez, and Il trovatore by Carmine Gallone. Showings start at 9.15 p.m..



The jazz programme includes the Stefano Di Battista Quartet, on Monday 31 July at 9 p.m., with Morricone stories jazz; three ‘concerti- aperitivo’ designed to be enjoyed also by the audience of the opera staged on the same evening, on 2, 4 and 6 August, starting at 7 p.m.; and an evening with the Cutello Brothers entitled New generation, on Monday 7 August at 9 p.m.. All the events will be held at the Teatro del Portico.



The unmissable events of pop music begin on 30 May. On the stage of the Teatro Grande will be Zucchero on 30, 31 May, 2, 3 and 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, also at 9 p.m..



The Terme di Caracalla pay tribute to the great photographer Letizia Battaglia with an exhibition of photos and documents of her courageous work, from the beginning of her career between Milan and Palermo to her last production, before her death on 13 April 2022. Sponsored by the Soprintendenza Speciale per l’Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio in collaboration with the publishing house Electa and with the participation of the Archivio Battaglia, the exhibition will take place from May to October in the newly restored rooms adjacent to the Western Gymnasium, which will be open to the public for the first time. The important tribute, ideally associated with the 30th anniversary of the Mafia attack on San Giorgio al Velabro, will be combined with a series of meetings as part of the summer programme promoted by the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and the Soprintendenza.



The creation of a Festival implies the interaction of a large number of different stakeholders, and so for the Caracalla Festival 2023 the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma’s network of important institutional collaborations is further extended: first of all there is the Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma and then the Chaplin Association in Paris, the Cineteca Nazionale of Bologna, the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Rai Com, the Ravenna Festival, the Festival Puccini of Torre del Lago, Teatro La Fenice of Venice, Casa del Jazz, and Friends & Partners.


From Thursday 23 March at the box office of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and on the website of Ticketone, tickets will be on sale for the following shows: The Great Dictator, Strictly Gershwin, Symphony No. 9, Roberto Bolle and Friends, La Traviata, Gran Gala di Danza, Rigoletto.


Rome, 21 March 2023