Rome opera house turns film set to open its new season

Teatro dell'Opera di Roma opens new season on Italian television.

The Teatro dell'Opera di Roma will open its season on 5 Dec without an audience in Teatro Costanzi but with one at home, thanks to streaming on Rai 3.

The two performances of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia are scheduled for 5 Dec on Rai 3 and New Year's Eve on Rai 5.

Rome's opera house continues to think big during the difficult covid-19 times and its opening opera for the 2020-2021 will be a new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia directed by Mario Martone and conducted by the opera theatre's music director Daniele Gatti, who according to tradition opens the Rome opera season.

To comply with the covid-19 health regulations the opera house is pulling out the seats in the stalls, turning the space into a stage and transforming Teatro Costanzi into a film set.

It is difficult to imagine now that Il Barbiere di Siviglia was a disaster when it debuted in 20 Feb 1816 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. Since then it has become a favourite in most opera repertoire, which could be why the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma has chosen it to open its 2020-2021 season.

Mario Martone is a highly respected film, theatre and opera director. He headed Rome's Teatro Argentina (where Il Barberie di Sivilgia was hissed and booed on its opening night) and was the inspiration behind the city's innovative Teatro India. One of Martone's most famous films is Amore Molesto based on Elena Ferrante's novel of the same name.

In opera he tends to go for traditional interpretations, unlike the more adventurous Damiano Michieletto, the director of the very contemporary rendering of Rigoletto during Rome opera theatre's summer season at Circo Massimo. But the idea that Teatro Costanzi will be transformed into a film set makes it a promising start for the opera season in Rome, especially in these difficult times for the arts.

The Teatro dell'Opera website also has plenty for opera fans, not least the photos of Mozart's Zaide staged there in Oct conducted by Daniele Gatti, as well as an interview with the director Graham Vick.

The website also has the digital theatre schedule for the operas and ballets it is screening from its repertoire. From 19-22 Nov it is streaming Bizet's Carmen, both the opera and the ballet (with Rebecca Bianchi and Amar Ramasar dancing).

Photo Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

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