Director Stefano Poda is also in designing the sets and costumes for AIDA
Arena di Verona
The audience at the 2023 Verona Arena Opera Festival celebrated its centennial edition with style. Running from 16 June to 9 September, this landmark season featured 49 performances, eight opera productions, and five special events. It recorded the highest box office revenue ever, reaching an impressive €33,048,000. Notably, there was an increase in attendance by 59,584 spectators compared to 2022, totalling 402,722 attendees. This underscores the festival's international appeal, with attendees hailing from 125 countries worldwide, aside from Italy.
The festival's televised opera broadcasts on Rai1, Rai3, and Rai5 also garnered significant viewership. The inaugural performance of Aida on 16 June, broadcast on Rai Cultura on Rai1, was watched live by almost 1,800,000 viewers, with over 13% average share. This newfound interest in Aida was further confirmed by Google Trends, with searches for the term in Italy increasing by a staggering 430% during the festival's first week compared to the average number of searches for the same term over the last five years. The ticket sales for this new production were remarkable, with all 20,000 available seats for the 16 and 17 June performances selling out. The 17 June show even achieved the second-highest revenue in the festival's history, surpassed only by Plácido Domingo's Gala in 2009.
The festival also attracted substantial national and international media attention, with 285 accredited publications and broadcasters and a total of 1,434 appearances. The 100th edition of the festival generated over 6,000 articles and features across various media channels, including web, print, radio, and TV. The international coverage was particularly noteworthy, with significant media presence in leading publications in France and German-speaking countries.
The festival featured an exceptional number of special events that received acclaim, notably the debut of Juan Diego Flórez in a Gala performance and the performance by the Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro alla Scala under the direction of Maestro Riccardo Chailly.
The 2023 edition also saw unprecedented success in social media engagement for the Arena. By the end of the Festival, the Facebook and Instagram channels had reached nearly 47 million users, accumulating 16,000 hours of video views. The Instagram page alone reached over 12 million accounts, marking a 166% growth compared to 2022.
During the 100th Opera Festival, the Arena successfully implemented its innovative accessibility and inclusion project “Arena per tutti” (Arena for All), developed in collaboration with Accessibility Partner Müller. This initiative allowed over 700 people with disabilities to enjoy the performances.
The 100th Edition of the Festival at Verona Arena took place under the double patronage from both the Veneto Region and the Ministry of Culture, with the latter providing an extraordinary contribution of €1 million to commemorate the one hundredth year of opera seasons at the Arena.
In the words of Deputy Minister for Culture Gianmarco Mazzi, “The Ministry of Culture is delighted with the results of the 100th edition of the Verona Arena festival. Fondazione Arena represents a fantastic model of international calibre, both artistically and organisationally. My thanks go to all the staff, President Damiano Tommasi, and General Manager Cecilia Gasdia, the only woman leading an opera foundation, who has successfully devoted her entire artistic and professional life to the world of opera”.
Mayor of Verona and President of Fondazione Arena, Damiano Tommasi, shared, “I would like to remind everyone that the year began with the shocking fall of a star, something that none of us could have imagined or predicted. But we consolidated our loyal audience and ability to attract the best talent in Bel Canto. This is what we must build upon for the future of opera at the Arena. Regarding the goal of continually attracting new spectators, the new production of Aida was certainly a good indicator: initially, it threw several enthusiasts off kilter, but in the end, the risk paid off. We were also very pleased with the Zorba il Greco dance evening at the Teatro Romano, which opened a new chapter in Fondazione Arena's activities compared to the recent past, inspiring us to include dance performances in the 2024 calendar. In this case as well, I believe that teamwork outside the arena was key to success. The city's interest and the interest in this amphitheatre need to transcend personal interests without compromising the quality of what we offer. As President of Fondazione Arena and Mayor, I can say that if these are the results we’ve achieved, despite the challenges we’ve faced, we will surely go from strength to strength in future years. I am certain that we will succeed because these results, figures, and responses will only benefit our city”.
Cecilia Gasdia, General Manager of Fondazione Arena, expressed her gratitude by saying, “At the end of this truly unique season, I want to extend my thanks to all the staff at Fondazione Arena. Among all the people behind the enormous production effort required to put on the 100th edition of the festival, those with perhaps the most impact were the 1,421 staff members who made it all possible. I would like to thank everyone who renewed their trust in the Festival: the audience, our sponsors, the 67 columns, the media, members of the Boards of Directors who participated in this edition, President Damiano Tommasi, and Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano, who allocated an extraordinary contribution to this year’s festival. We curated this edition with responsibility, care, passion, and dedication, and were ready for the commitment required, thanks to the collaboration of all. I can proudly say that it was a celebration, not only for the Arena and Verona but for everyone involved”.
Stefano Trespidi, Deputy Artistic Director of Fondazione Arena, summed it all up, “2023 has been a record-breaking season for us: artistically, production-wise, in terms of spectators, and revenue. The satisfaction is immense, commensurate with the enormous effort we put in. We put on the festival’s 100th edition for the workers and the city of Verona. Now we can say for certain that we succeeded in our endeavours, whose results we share with you today, thanks to the workers and the entire city”.
The exceptional nature of this special edition is also reflected in the support received from private sponsors, to whom the Fondazione Arena extends its utmost gratitude. Long-standing partners are joined by several new brands for the 100th edition of the festival. Among our historical sponsors, the Fondazione Arena di Verona would first and foremost like to thank UniCredit, which whom we have collaborated for more than 25 years, along with Calzedonia, Pastificio Rana, Volkswagen Group Italia, DB Bahn, and RTL 102.5. Joining the cohort of official sponsors this year were Forno Bonomi, Metinvest/Saving Lives, Genny – providing new uniforms for our front-of-house team – and Müller, which will fund accessibility projects for people with disabilities. Our official partners also included historical brands such as Veronafiere, Air Dolomiti, A4 Holding, Casa Sartori, SABA Italia, SDG Group, and Cultural Partner Palazzo Maffei, joined by Acqua Dolomia, Sanagol and Mantova Village. We also extend our gratitude to the businesses, individuals, and professional associations who make up the 67 Columns Membership for Verona Arena, founded by Gianluca Rana from Pastificio Rana, and Sandro Veronesi, patron of the Calzedonia Group, which is now in its third year.
Looking ahead, Fondazione Arena di Verona has announced plans for summer 2024 and 2025. The extensive programme for the 101st Opera Festival in 2024 features seven opera productions, five special evenings, and one ballet from 8 June to 7 September. The programme includes special tributes to Giacomo Puccini on the centenary of his passing and Gianfranco de Bosio on the centenary of his birth. All dates are now available for purchase on www.arena.it,, through the TicketOne platform, and on Verona Arena's social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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