Riccardo Muti opens the 2021 Arena di Verona Opera Festival


in concert form

150th anniversary of the 1871 première in Cairo


Maestro Riccardo Muti will conduct Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida in concert form on two extraordinary evenings: 19th and 22nd June.

The King – Roberto Tagliavini

Amneris – Anita Rachvelishvili

Aida – Sonya Yoncheva

Radames – Francesco Meli

Ramfis – Riccardo Zanellato

Amonasro – Luca Salsi

 A messenger – Riccardo Rados

The High Priestess – Benedetta Torre


General Manager and Artistic Director Cecilia Gasdia is overjoyed and honoured: “On 24th December 1871, Cairo Opera House hosted the world première of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida and commemorating that extraordinary event at the Arena di Verona was a recurrent thought from the very first day of my mandate. 

The participation of Maestro Riccardo Muti is the most sublime marvellous way of paying tribute to this masterpiece, on the 120th anniversary of the death of Giuseppe Verdi, with two evenings that will go down in history as milestones for the Arena di Verona and its spectators.

I am deeply grateful to Maestro Riccardo Muti, who decided to put his trust in us all, generously proposing this exceptional Aida in concert form to ensure the appropriate respectful concentration on the music, and agreeing to return to the Arena di Verona with his immense art 41 years after his only appearance at the Verona amphitheatre with a rare, unforgotten and unforgettable performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa di Requiem on 7th August 1980, a unique evening that was dedicated to the victims of hunger and violence throughout the world and was held just five days after the massacre of Bologna on 2nd August 1980, assuming the value of a moving tribute to the victims of the tragic event.

The city of Verona, the workers of the Fondazione Arena and its immense public are preparing for the return of the Maestro with great trepidation and gratitude”.

 “As President of the Fondazione Arena di Verona, having the great Riccardo Muti conducting is one of those extraordinary events that fills me with pride”, emphasizes the Mayor of Verona Federico Sboarina. “From when I asked the Fondazione to raise the artistic quality three years ago, we have had many great artists and conductors, but having the Maestro at the Arena is certainly a really unique emotion. His participation in the inaugural evening of the 2021 Arena Festival is without doubt an honour for the Arena’s spectators, who, thanks to him, will be able to attend a performance of Aida in concert form, which has never been held at the Verona amphitheatre before. Muti and the Arena is a combination of two internationally famous names in the world’s largest open-air theatre. For Verona, this is an extraordinary opportunity we are offering our large important public, and enables us to ensure a top-grade celebration for Aida, the emblematic opera of our Festival seasons, on the 150th anniversary of its first performance, in Cairo in 1871. The ultimate opera experience, with an artist who during his long career has enchanted audiences in the world’s most important theatres. Heartfelt thanks go to Maestro Muti who, 41 years after his first and, until now, only appearance at the Arena, has accepted General Manager Gasdia’s invitation, resulting in one of the most sublime moments in the history of our Festival since 1913.” 



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