Macerata Opera Festival 2023

24 July 2023

The myth of seduction: from the fragility of Lucia di Lammermoor to the obstinacy of Carmen and Violetta

20 July > 19 August 2023, Sferisterio, Macerata, Italy

Lucia di Lammermoor, a rare gem for the Sferisterio, alongside its most famous production, La traviata, and the most performed title in the world, Carmen, make up the upcoming opera festival. 

New additions to the festival will be dancing and cinema around the eternal myth of the cigar maker, Verdi’s Requiem Mass with Teatro Comunale of Bologna, and the show “Don Juan”, which was awarded the “Danza&Danza”award.

Seduction and its many facets are the underlying theme of the artistic proposal of the Macerata Opera Festival 2023, presented by Superintendent Flavio Cavalli and Artistic Director Paolo Pinamonti, which will take place at the Sferisterio from 20 July to 19 August: five weekends of opera, literature, cinema, and music. From the fragility of Lucia di Lammermoor – who has been forced into marriage and pushed to make an extreme gesture – to the eternal myth of Carmen, who was killed due to her choices, and Violetta Valèry’s fevered desire for life, who gives up the man she loves for the sake of love and who, for almost two centuries, goes against all social conventions.

The Mayor of Macerata Sandro Parcaroli announced: “We are pleased and honored to present the full programme of the 2023 Macerata Opera Festival, after some previews were released in the city and promotional materials were designed specifically for the BIT (an international travel fair held in Milan). This is the result of the hard and constant work of the Arena Sferisterio Association, its new superintendent, Flavio Cavalli, and the commitment of its artistic director, Paolo Pinamonti, with the aim of creating a 59th Festival edition which will feature international artists and excellent shows, and which will bring to Macerata opera enthusiasts from all over the world.

Chiara Biondi, the Councilor for Culture of the Marche Region, highlighted: “The Sferisterio plays a major strategic role in the region. Once again, we will strongly support the festival as part of our cultural programme, which is aimed at promoting our region at its best thanks to the excellent quality of its events and following the successful results achieved last year.

Flavio Cavalli, Superintendent of the Arena Sferisterio Association: “I would like to thank Macerata, the governance bodies, the sponsors, all collaborators and employees for their warm welcome”. He continued: “I firmly believe that ensuring the economic sustainability of the festival is a major priority. For this reason, I worked in close collaboration with the artistic director in a spirit of full cooperation to increase our credibility and enhance the importance of the Sferisterio, where over 400 people work in the summer: one of the best economic assets in the area.


The Sferisterio Arena – built in Macerata in the first half of the 19th century to host the game with ball and bangle and then turned into a venue for opera performances not to be missed in the summer by all opera lovers – will host a new production of Carmen by Georges Bizet (20, 23, 28 July and 6 August) directed by Daniele Menghini; on the podium, the musical director of the festival, Donato Renzetti. The second title will be the most iconic production of Sferisterio, Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata by (22, 30 July and 5, 13 August) by Josef Svoboda and Henning Brockhaus. On the podium, Domenico Longo. The third title will be a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti (12, 14, 17, 19 August) entrusted to Jean-Louis Grinda with Francesco Ivan Ciampa on the podium.

A “festival within the festival” will be also designed around the myth of the Sevillian cigar-maker, the protagonist of Prosper Mérimée’s novel. In addition to Bizet’s opera, there will be two other unmissable events. First, the legendary flamenco show Carmen (4 August) created in 1983 by Antonio Gades and Carlos Saura and performed by the Compañía Antonio Gades. Then, two milestones of silent cinema: Carmen by Cecil B. DeMille and A Burlesque on Carmen by Charlie Chaplin (11 August), with live soundtracks and Timothy Brock on the podium. Also, there will be an event dedicated to Carmen, Carmen MOF – My Original Feelings, for secondary high schools; it is organised by the theatrical company “Fabiano Valenti” of Treia and designed by Francesco Facciolli and Fabio Macedoni (Lauro Rossi Theatre, 25-26 May). Don Giovanni, a character created in the seventeenth century by Tirso de Molina and then the subject of many adaptations over the centuries, is also linked to the myth of seduction and has inspired the dance show Don Juan (27 July) by choreographer Johan Inger (which was awarded the “Danza&Danza” award in 2020). The show is a co-production by the Arena Sferisterio Association with the National Dance Foundation / Aterballetto and a large group of other theatrical institutions.

The 2023 festival will also feature a symphonic concert, the masterpiece of sacred music by Giuseppe Verdi, the Requiem Mass (29 July). It is a co-production with the Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Bologna, which will also propose the same piece in Bologna (2 August, Piazza Maggiore) for the celebrations in memory of the massacre at Bologna Central Station. On the podium, Donato Renzetti, who will conduct the Bologna orchestra and choir as well as a quartet of vocal soloists: Eleonora Buratto, Clémentine Margaine, Antonio Poli and Roberto Tagliavini.

As always, the FORM-Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana will play for all performances (this year, it will also perform in the two dance shows and in the live performance of the soundtracks of the films dedicated to Carmen) together with Coro Lirico Marchigiano “Vincenzo Bellini” (which will also perform in the Carmen ballet) conducted by Martino Faggiani, Banda Salvadei and the Pueri Cantores “D. Zamberletti” choir conducted by Gianluca Paolucci, which will perform in Carmen.

Full programme and details:


The Macerata Opera Festival 2023 programme opens up to three, special events to be held at Teatro Lauro Rossi. Like a magnifying glass, these events will zoom on specific aspects of the current international music scene and stage the contemporary relevance of issues raised in operas.

Friday, 21 July (9 pm): the programme for the opening weekend is enriched by Francesco Micheli’s return to his much beloved Macerata with Lucia Off. The opera director, communicator and Artistic Director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo since 2015 will stage one of his most successful shows, inspired by Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti and originally designed for Bergamo, where the romantic composer was born. Donizetti’s masterpiece will be staged at the Sferisterio on 12, 14, 17 and 19 August.

Wednesday, 16 August: “A tribute to Sesto Bruscantini”. This bass-baritone from the nearby town of Civitanova Marche (1919-2003) walked the most prominent stages worldwide throughout his career. As a tribute to him, two events are planned, in collaboration with the WunderKammer Orchestra: a roundtable and a concert by Bruno de Simone, one of Bruscantini’s most prominent  pupils, to be held at Teatro Lauro Rossi at 9 pm.

Friday, 18 August: Elia Cecino, one of the most talented, young pianists in Italy, will be at Teatro Lauro Rossi (9 pm). He was recently awarded the first prize at the XXII Concurso Internacional de Piano de València “José Iturbi”, whose jury, chaired by Joaquín Achúcarro, also gave Cecino the special price for the best performance of a Beethoven concert, and best performance for Chopin’s selected music. With the support of this award and the Diputación de Valencia, Cecin will be in Macerata to perform music by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Bartók, Janàček and Prokof’ev.

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