A Survival Guide to the Verona Opera
Verona’s magnificent Roman Arena is the setting for the annual Festival of Opera. This attracts audiences from all over the world who come and listen to famous operas sung in the open air and in a setting where people have gathered for over 2000 years. The tickets are snapped up quickly but there are ways to enjoy one of the best cultural events in Europe.
1. Plan Your Journey
The programme for the Verona Opera Festival runs from June through August and is published online around a year in advance with more detail as performers are confirmed. This will give you the dates that you need to plan a journey.
2. Get a Ticket
There are organised tours which include the Verona Opera and it is also possible to buy tickets direct from the opera booking office. Seating is organised with the more comfortable and expensive seats in the stalls and the cheaper arena places on the marble stone seats where many Romans sat before. If you book a ticket online do it via the official Verona Opera Booking Office (www.arena.it ). The ticket will either be mailed to you or be kept at Door 16 at the Arena, and on production of your receipt the very helpful staff will give you your ticket. Once you have a ticket, do be aware that there are no refunds or replacements under any circumstances so guard it well. There are also some unreserved seats at the top of the arena each night and so joining the queue late afternoon to try and get one is another option.
3. Dress Code
For those sitting in the arena casual to smart clothing is fine to wear. It can get cold at night so you may want to consider a pullover. In the stalls there is a formal dress code and whilst some people wear evening attire with black tie, a smart outfit is fine. This is not the place to wear jeans or shorts but the one skirt in your backpack will be ok. In general people are more interested in the music than what people are wearing.
4. Your Comfort
If you choose to sit in the arena you will be sitting on marble stone for three or more hours so you either need to rent or buy a cushion from one of the many vendors outside the arena. There are very few bathrooms in the arena with massive queues during the interval so be careful that you do not overdo it on coffee or beer beforehand. People in the arena do take food and drink in to enjoy before the performance and there are snacks and drinks on sale. If you are sitting on the arena seats don’t forget to pick up the free candles as you go in. These are traditionally lit as the first notes are played each evening and it really is a magical atmosphere.
Finally if you get the chance to go, do take the opportunity and enjoy it. You don’t have to be an expert on opera and it is a wonderful atmosphere.