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Cultural Aperitifs

Free entrance

Organized by Associazione Sferisterio Cultura

Philosophers, artists, journalists, musicologists and historians discuss the themes of the current season’s operas

By Cinzia Maroni

The cultural aperitifs were first organised in 2006 by the former Sferisterio Opera Festival, which transformed the opera season into a major cultural event in which the aperitifs represented the crown jewel and the aperitifs were then re-launched and confirmed by the Macerata Opera Festival. The Associazione Sferisterio Cultura, which was born in those years precisely to enhance the role of Sferisterio as a cultural engine for the territory, organises the cultural aperitifs (which are curated by Cinzia Maroni) in collaboration with the Municipality of Macerata and with the  Sferisterio Association.

Opera meets other approaches not only to attract a wider and more varied audience than just the melomaniacs, but also to offer a better understanding of opera itself, within which many disciplines are interrelated and blend harmoniously. For this year the same format is followed: first, the cultural event in which the protagonists make their specialist expertise available to give an original analysis of the festival’s theme and of each opera of the season at 12 a.m. at the Antichi Forni, then the cultural aperitif offered by professionals from Macerata and various wineries from the Province of Macerata.

The operas of the 2017 festival have been discussed during three winter events with musicologists Gabriele Cesaretti (AIDA on March 10), Cristiano Veroli (TURANDOT on March 17), and Alberto Batisti (Madama Butterfly on March 24), proving to be an enormous success with the public and critics alike.

The ORIENTE festival will set the theme for this year’s Cultural Aperitifs.

As usual, three leading musicologists Enrico Girardi (Corriere della Sera) Angelo Foletto (La Repubblica) and Carla Moreni (il Sole 24ore), together with the directors of the new productions, Ricci-Forte (Turandot) and Nicola Berloffa (Madama Butterfly), and conductor Riccardo Frizza (Aida) will be the protagonists of the opera premieres.

On the day of the SHI premiere, Alberto Batisti, director of the Sagra Musicale Umbra, the oldest Italian music festival, will examine the complex relationship between Jesuits and music together with composer Carlo Boccadoro and director Cecilia Ligorio.

Lawyer Marco Mellone, a comparative law expert, will take the themes which emerge from Madama Butterfly libretto as his starting point to address the issue of matrimonial relations between people from different countries (“Better wed over the mixen than over the moor?” On July 28).

Adriano Fabris, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Pisa, will explore the intimate relationship between Puccini and Eastern culture and music (Puccini’s Tao on July 29).

An old friend of the Aperitifs, Andrea Panzavolta, will start from Turandot and recall Oedipus and Homer, while focusing on the issue of riddles: answering them is not always a good idea! (Solve or live with the riddle on August 4).

Writer Giulia Caminito, a new voice of Italian narrative, and philosopher Lucrezia Ercoli, director of the POPSOPHIA festival, will discuss the relationship between Italians and colonial Africa through the story of a family saga in the horn of Africa (the Great A on August 5).

Philosopher Massimo Donà, Professor of Metaphysics and Ontology of Art at the San Raffaele University of Milan will address the themes of Eastern philosophy in the artistic expressions of the great 20th-century painters, from Matisse to Van Gogh (The Eastern myth in the West at sunset) on 6 August. Philosopher Cesare Catà (August 11) will discuss the ritual death of the hero from Radames to Mishima, starting from Butterfly’s hara-kiri. Pierfrancesco Giannangeli, theater expert, will explore Pirandello-style Butterfly (August 12).

Finally, Francesco Micheli will take stock of the opera season (Western karma on August 12).

Guest star Stefano Bollani on July 23 at the Sferisterio and on the same day also at the Cultural Aperitifs with the theme ORIENTALE.

Once again this year, the Antichi Forni set is designed by the Academy of Fine Arts of Macerata, thanks to Professor Matteo Catani and his students.

Our slogan Chi sa solo d’opera non sa niente d’opera (Who knows only opera does not know anything about opera) is still valid and up to date.

For the full programme and for the history of Cultural Aperitifs visit

Various conferences are available on the Sferisterio Cultura Youtube Channel.le youtube Sferisterio Cultura.

On festival weekends, at 12.00 p.m.

Antichi Forni (Piaggia della Torre)

The Cultural Aperitifs, in collaboration with the La Tela Textile Museum and Paolo Trillini, will host the presentation of the Capsule Collection  “weaving / quaking. Clothes as metaphor”

The dates

  • thursday 20 JUL ore 12:00

    "Musica e Gesuiti fra due secoli e tre continenti"
    Alberto Batisti, Carlo Boccadoro, Cecilia Ligorio

  • friday 21 JUL ore 12:00

    "Orientalismo fiabesco e italico melodramma"
    Enrico Girardi, Gianni Forte e Stefano Ricci

  • Saturday 22 JUL ore 12:00

    "Kimono e Tailleur"
    Angelo Foletto e Nicola Berloffa

  • friday 28 JUL ore 12:00

    "Moglie e buoi dei paesi tuoi?"
    Marco Mellone

  • Saturday 29 JUL ore 12:00

    "Il Tao di Puccini"
    Adriano Fabris

  • Sunday 30 JUL ore 12:00

    "Principesse rivali tra cieli azzurri e pietre fatali"
    Carla Moreni e Riccardo Frizza

  • Friday 4 Aug ore 12:00

    "Sciogliere o sopportare l'enigma?"
    Andrea Panzavolta

  • Saturday 5 AUG ore 12:00

    "La grande A"
    Giulia Caminito e Lucrezia Ercoli

  • sunday 6 AUG ore 12:00

    "Il mito dell'Oriente nell'Occidente al tramonto"
    Massimo Donà

  • Friday 11 AUG ore 12:00

    "La morte rituale dell'eroe"
    Cesare Catà

  • Saturday 12 AUG ore 12:00

    "Pirandellianamente Butterfly"
    Pierfrancesco Giannangeli

  • Sunday 13 AUG ore 12:00

    "Occidentali's Karma"
    Francesco Micheli

Photo by Luna Simoncini