THE CARACALLA FESTIVAL 2024 CELEBRATES PUCCINI

The Caracalla Festival this year features sixty events including the debut at the opera of archistar Massimiliano Fuksas with his new productions of Tosca and Turandot, the elegant style of Dior in the evenings of dance with Eleonora Abbagnato, the return of Roberto Bolle, Walt Disney’s great cinema with music performed live, and  a 100th anniversary tribute to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Wayne Marshall. There are also contemporary circus performances, theatre and a series of films celebrating Puccini on the centenary of his death. The programme features great opera singers such as Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo, Angela Meade and Brian Jadge, as well as famous pop singers like Ornella Vanoni, Fiorella Mannoia, Francesco De Gregori, John Legend, Antonello Venditti and many others. This is the Caracalla Festival 2024, the Teatro dell’Opera summer programme that, from 3 June to 10 August, will once again animate the famous Roman archeological site to life: the 4,500-seat arena and the Teatro del Portico, in the area of the so-called Temple of Jupiter, will once again host new and different artistic initiatives.

Caracalla Festival 2024 and all the Fondazione’s activities are made possible thanks to the support of Private Members of the Fondazione Teatro dell’Opera of Rome such as the Chamber of Commerce of Rome and ACEA. Also fundamental is the contribution of companies that for years, and also more recently, have chosen to support the activities as Patrons and Sponsors: among them Banca del Fucino, Terna, BMW Roma and Aeroporti di Roma.

“Once again this year, outstanding operas and artists will enrich the already impressive summer programme of the Estate Romana, enhancing the promotion of such a magnificent and unique venue as the Terme di Caracalla,” says Mayor Roberto Gualtieri. “It is a great undertaking that the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome has carried out, also through an event that has become a reference point, attended by over 100,000 people every year. Thanks indeed to the Fondazione and to this remarkable partnership between the public and private sectors, all sharing the goal of promoting first-class cultural initiatives and the fruition of another historic site among the many that are once again becoming leading attractions in the life of the city, after extensive restoration work .

“For the second consecutive year, the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome returns to Caracalla with a real Festival – says Sovrintendente Francesco Giambrone – This strengthens the idea of a multidisciplinary project that will be fully completed in 2025, the year of the Jubilee, when the programme will be curated by Damiano Michieletto, to whom we have given carte blanche. To celebrate the centenary of Puccini’s death, we have commissioned the architect Massimiliano Fuksas with the creative project of both operas on the programme, Tosca and Turandot; Fuksas has created for us a tailor made installation especially designed for the space of the Teatro Grande in Caracalla, with Francesco Micheli as music director. Last year’s success in terms of number of admissions, with 115,980 tickets sold, has encouraged us to increase the overall number of evenings from 50 to 60 – especially the operatic events, which have risen from 10 to 16 – and to renew the comprehensive range of entertainment on offer, including stage readings, cinema and, for the first time this year, contemporary circus performances. All this has been done to celebrate the spirit of Puccini”. 

“For 87 years, music, opera, and ballet have become the real protagonists of the summer at the Terme di Caracalla,” explains Daniela Porro, Soprintendente Speciale of Rome, “bringing a lot of entertainment to one of the capital’s best-loved archaeological sites. The partnership with the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome is therefore an important moment in the promotional activities of the Soprintendenza Speciale of Rome in the Baths site, which has hosted important exhibitions, cultural events, and whose visitors’ area has been recently extended and will be further expanded in the near future. This year, the Soprintendenza and the Teatro dell’Opera are offering special guided tours before the performances and, in addition, the Caracalla Off section is being held in the new area that was inaugurated last year opposite the so-called Temple of Jupiter, which is normally off the visiting circuit. The Caracalla Festival, thanks to its programming that features the Terme of Caracalla and their settings as co-protagonists, is therefore a source of incentive for the cultural growth of the city for both Romans and those visiting the capital”.

 

 

OPERA

On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Puccini’s death, the 2024 edition of the Caracalla Festival pays homage to the great composer with two new productions of Tosca and Turandot presented with a creative project and original stagings by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, on the occasion of their opera debut. The musical direction of both operas is given to Francesco Micheli, while the costumes are by Giada Masi and the videos by Luca Scarzella. The programme opens on 5 July with Tosca, which will be re-run until 9 August. On the podium goes Antonino Fogliani. In the main role there will be Carmen Giannattasio (5, 17, 26 July; 3, 7 and 9 August) and Sonya Yoncheva (24 and 31 July), while Cavaradossi is interpreted by Saimir Pirgu (5, 17, 26 July; 3, 7 and 9 August), Vittorio Grigolo (24 and 31 July) and Arsen Soghomonyan (26 July). Yoncheva and Grigolo return to perform together as the protagonists of the most Roman of Puccini’s masterpieces following their great success obtained during the tour of the Fondazione Teatro dell’Opera di Roma  in Japan in September 2023. In the role of Scarpia instead, there will be Claudio Sgura (5 July; 3, 7 and 9 August) and Roberto Frontali (17, 24, 26 and 31 July)..

From 16 July to 10 August it is the Turandot‘s turn. On the podium the music director is Donato Renzetti. In the leading role will alternate two exceptional performers: Angela Meade (16, 25, 28 July; 2 and 4 August), who returns to the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome after the success of Ernani in 2022, and Lise Lindstrom (6, 8 and 10 August), the critically acclaimed protagonist of the recent production of Strauss’ Salome directed by Barrie Kosky at the Teatro Costanzi. In the part of Calaf are Luciano Ganci (16 July; 4, 6, 8 and 10 August), Brian Jagde (25, 28 July) and Arsen Soghomonyan (2 August); in the role of Liù there are Maria Grazia Schiavo (16, 25, 28 July; 4 August) and Juliana Grigoryan (2, 6, 8 and 10 August).

Orchestra and chorus are the ones of the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome. conducted by Ciro Visco, together with the participation of the “Scuola di Canto Corale

The opera selection is completed with the young talents of ‘Fabbrica’, the Theatre’s Young Artist Program, and the “Scuola di Canto Corale“. There will be three events at the Teatro del Portico: on 26 June will be staged Regnava nel silenzio, a tribute to the music of Verdi and Donizetti with singers from the ‘Fabbrica’ project, while on 28 June and 8 July there will be two concerts by the “Scuola di Canto Corale“.

 

BALLET 

The ballet performances open on 9 July – with a rerun on the 10th – with Le notti romane di Dior, an evening combining fashion, music and dance. The protagonist is Eleonora Abbagnato who, together with the étoile, principal dancers, soloists and the Corps de Ballet of the Rome Opera, performs in Maria Grazia Chiuri’s creations from the Maison Dior designed for two different ballets: Nuit Romaine by Angelin Preljocaj – with music on a recorded basis ranging from Vivaldi to Daft Punk – created in 2020 as a film project set in the heart of Palazzo Farnese and then staged at the Costanzi in 2022; and Nuit Dansée by Giorgio Mancini, choreography to the three movements of Philip Glass’ Tirol Concert for piano and orchestra, with music performed live. The latter is a new production. The performance is being staged for the first time in Italy at Terme of Caracalla after the tour with the Corps de Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera in Paris and Dubai. The main performers include étoile Rebecca Bianchi and first dancer Michele Satriano. On the podium of the Orchestra of the Fondazione there will be Alvise Casellati.

Also this year the ballet season is completed with the traditional Roberto Bolle and Friends event, which returns to Caracalla for two dates on 19 and 20 July.

 

CONCERTS

Walt Disney’s great animation finds a one-off date on 23 July for a symphonic concert that also includes the screening of some parts of the movie. After the success of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator last year, Timothy Brock returns to the podium at Caracalla with Disney’s Fantasia – Live in concert. On the big screen, again accompanied by the soundtrack performed live by the Orchestra dell’Opera of Rome, some of the highlights of Fantasia (1940) and its sequel Fantasia 2000, two of Disney’s most famous animation movies, are presented. Among the well-known animation sequences set to classical pieces are Dukas’s L’apprenti sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), the suite from Stravinsky’s L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird), the suite from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the orchestral version of Debussy’s Clair de lune, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and other famous symphonic pieces.

On 30 July, Wayne Marshall, in the double capacity of pianist and conductor, will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Alongside the famous piece, composed by Gershwin when he was only 25 years old but already capable of an extraordinary synthesis of sophisticated music, jazz and blues, Marshall – who is one of the American composer’s most accomplished interpreters – will perform a selection of pieces from Porgy and BessAn American in Paris and the overture from the musical Girl Crazy. Also on the programme is included the suite Three Dance Episodes from Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town.

 

MOVIES

Also dedicated to Puccini is the Piccolo Cinema Puccini film festival, curated by Giuliano Danieli, with three evenings being held at the Teatro del Portico. On 27 June, the great composer will be commemorated through Paolo Benvenuti’s Puccini e la fanciulla (2008) and the old film Un giorno con Puccini (circa 1918), restored and released by the Cineteca of Bologna. The evening of 1 July is instead dedicated to three interpretations of the story of Madame Butterfly, with the Italian premiere of Madame Butterfly’s Illusion by Wagoro Arai (1940, from the National Film Archive of Japan), Aria by Pjotr Sapegin (2001) and M. Butterfly by David Cronenberg (1993). Finally, on 4 July there will be two films inspired by the opera Tosca: a fragment, restored by the Cineteca of Bologna, of Alfredo De Antoni’s Tosca (1918) and Avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma by Carmine Gallone (1946) starring Anna Magnani, made available by the CSC – Cineteca Nazionale, with which this successful cooperation which started last year has been renewed. Composer Vincenzo Ramaglia has been commissioned to write the soundtracks for the two silent movies featured in the programme. All evenings will be enhanced with the introductions by the Centro Studi Giacomo Puccini of Lucca.

 

THEATRE

Two theatre performances are hosted at the Teatro del Portico. On 29 June and 2 July Massimiliano Finazzer Flory pays his tribute to Puccini with Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amoreWaiting for Giacomo Puccini, a staged reading with live musical interludes that combines Puccini’s centenary with that of the first radio broadcast. In the show, the radio, a fundamental instrument of interaction between Puccini’s music and the people, becomes the means through which to retrace the life and work of the composer from Lucca. On 17 and 20 July, instead, again at the Teatro del Portico, Valerio Magrelli is on stage with Romantici&Co, an investigation into the theme of Romanticism and its evolution from the 19th century to the present day.

 

CONTEMPORARY CIRCUS

New in the programme of Caracalla 2024, on 25 and 26 June, again on the occasion of Puccini’s centenary, the blucinQue company brings to the Teatro del Portico Puccini Dance Circus OperaPer coro di corpi e strumenti. The protagonist of the performance is a chorus of performing women, whose moving in space is structured in aerial and earthy choreographies accompanied by Puccini music, with electronic interplay. Women who hold each other up, fall and get up again, each time bringing out characteristics, signs and personalities of five protagonists of Puccini’s operas: Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, Turandot and Mimì.

JAZZ

There is also room for jazz at the Teatro del Portico, with two concerts scheduled on 18 July and 5 August, and three evenings of Late night jazz on 31 July, 2 and 3 August. The latter are scheduled at a time that allows the audience to attend the opera, staged on the same evenings just before the jazz nights.

POP MUSIC

The unmissable appointments with pop music begin in early June. On the stage of the Teatro Grande are Fiorella Mannoia on 3 and 4 June, Francesco De Gregori and Checco Zalone in a duo on 5 and 9 June, Ornella Vanoni on 6 June, Samuele Bersani on 7 June, Il Volo on 8 June, John Legend on 10 June, Pooh on 11 and 12 June, Biagio Antonacci on 13 and 14 June, Antonello Venditti on 18, 19 and 21 June, and Umberto Tozzi on 20 June.

INSTITUTIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

The organisation of a Festival implies the interaction of a large number of players, and for the Caracalla Festival 2024 the Teatro dell’ Opera’s network of important institutional partnerships is renewed and enlarged, first of all with the Soprintendenza Speciale of Rome and then with  CSC-Cineteca Nazionale, Cineteca Nazionale of Bologna, the Centro Studi Giacomo Puccini of Lucca, the National Film Archive of Japan, and Casa del Jazz.

 

BIGLIETTI 

Tickets from 10 to 120 euros on sale at the box office of the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome and on Ticketone from 12.00 noon on Tuesday 2 April.

This year, the Festival’s rich programme is also enhanced with exclusive guided tours at sunset. It will only be possible to purchase tickets in combination with the Opera or Ballet performance scheduled for the same evening. For more details on the initiative please contact: promozione.pubblico@operaroma.it

 

Credit: Creative project and stage settings for Tosca and Turandot by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas.