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Macerata Opera Festival


Macerata: from 20 July to 14 August

The 53rd edition of the Macerata Opera Festival turns its gaze toward the East. In 2017, the Festival directed by Francesco Micheli in the enchanting starlit setting of the Sferisterio features three of the most well-known masterpieces of the Italian repertoire: Turandot, Madama Butterfly and Aida. This year the programme is enriched by a new production: Shi (To be). The opera, inspired by the life of the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, born in Macerata, was commissioned to composer Carlo Boccadoro with libretto by Cecilia Ligorio. This production will inaugurate the Opera Season on Thursday 20th July in the intimate space of the Lauro Rossi Theatre.

The town of new productions

The big stage of the open-air theatre in the heart of Macerata will once again host performances of timeless stories and themes, enhanced by a blend of music and new expressive codes. In fact, over the last years, the success of the Macerata Opera Festival  has been largely due to the uniqueness of the Sferisterio’s stage space and  the remarkable vision and skills of its various creative teams, combining innovation and research of new interpretive forms.

Operas and Concerts at the Sferisterio

Co-productions: Macerata Opera Festival’s trademark


  • 19 and 28 July, 3 and 10 August
  • Jacopo Spirei
  • Carmen was completed by Bizet in 1875, with a libretto by Henri Meillac and Ludovic Halévynel.  The story evokes a red triangle of attraction, love and jealousy between Carmen, Don José and Escamillo. Continue reading (more...)


  • 20 and 26 July; 4 August
  • Emma Dante
  • Macbeth was written by Giuseppe Verdi in 1847, with a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. The lust for power casts a shade of bright red on the actions and events involving ruthless Lady Macbeth and the other protagonists, with a finale where Macduff wins, as per the initial prophecy. Continue reading (more...)


  • 21 and 27 July, 2 and 9 August
  • Federico Grazzini
  • Rigoletto, in turn, evokes a crescendo of violence and lust for possession that will lead the protagonist to become the Duke of Mantua’s fiercest enemy, after serving him for so many years. This happens after Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda is kidnapped, an event which ends in tragedy. Continue reading (more...)

    Il flauto magico

  • 20 and 29 July, 4 and 12 August 2018
  • The Magic Flute by Mozart is a Singspiel (i.e. an opera with spoken dialogues), with music and scenes touching upon humour and fantasy, but also drama and ethics. Its characters can be interpreted literally but also metaphorically: thus, the Queen of the Night Continue reading (more...)

    The debut of Ricci / Forte's work

    Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, a new co-production with the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, opens the Sferisterio opera season on Friday, July 21st. The original, irreverent duo of authors/directors Ricci and Forte (Gianni Forte and Stefano Ricci), the most acclaimed theatrical phenomenon of recent years, make their debut as opera directors. Scenes are designed by Nicolas Bovey, costumes are made by Gianluca Sbicca, and the expert conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi holds the baton. In the role of the ice princess there will be Irene Theorin, with her superlative dramatic voice, who has been acclaimed in the major theatres around the world for her excellent interpretations not only of this role, but also of further female characters in Wagnerian and Strauss’ works. She makes her debut at the Sferisterio along with Rudy Park (Calaf), Davinia Rodriguez (Liù), and Alessandro Spina (Timur). On stage on July 21, 29; August 4, 13.


    Maria José Siri is Cio-Cio-San

    The second title is another work by Puccini, which celebrates his love for distant, exotic lands: Madama Butterfly. This is a co-production with the Massimo Theatre in Palermo (Italy), directed by Nicola Berloffa with scenes designed by Fabio Cherstich and costumes made by Valeria Donata Bettella. Unlike the original opera, the action takes place in post-war Japan, a significant moment of cultural interconnection between the West and the East. After her successes in Norma last summer in Macerata and again the triumph for the opening of the new season of the Teatro alla Scala (Milan, Italy), with the same female role in Puccini’s opera, the soprano Maria Josè Siri returns to the Sferisterio. She will be on stage with tenor Antonello Palombi in the role of Pinkerton, Alberto Mastromarino, who is Sharpless, Manuela Custer is Suzuki, Nicola Pamio is Goro. The conductor is Massimo Zanetti. On stage July 22, 28; August 6 and 12

    The acclaimed Aida by Francesco Micheli is back

    The three-title 2017 opera season is completed with Verdi’s Aida in the well-known 2014 production directed by Francesco Micheli, co-produced with the Comunale Theatre in Bologna (Italy) and which was staged on the occasion of the fiftieth edition of the Macerata Opera Festival, with scenes by Edoardo Sanchi, designs by Francesca Ballarini, costumes by Silvia Aymonino and choreography by Monica Casadei. On the podium Riccardo Frizza, already acclaimed for conducting Othello in the summer of 2016 and one of the most famous interpreters of Italian opera worldwide. A special mention for the comeback of another successful female voice, Maria Pia Piscitelli, a well-known Verdi soprano of outstanding vocal and theatrical qualities. She is on stage with Stefano La Colla (Radames), Sonia Ganassi (Amneris), who played the same role in 2014, Stefano Meo (Amonasro), and Giacomo Prestia (Ramfis). On stage 30 July; 5, 11 and 14 August.

    cena 30 luglio – 5, 11 e 14 agosto.

    micheli @alfredotabocchini

    Oriental Bollani

    Stefano Bollani will be the protagonist at the piano of the concert on Sunday, 23 July (at 9:00 p.m.), which will close the first musical weekend of the Macerata Opera Festival, after the debut of the new productions: Shi, Turandot, and Madama Butterfly. Bollani, a pianist of rare eclecticism and great versatility, represents a great contemporary expression of today’s music, for his vocation of crossing genres – from classical repertoire to jazz – and for his live transformations of various sources of inspiration during his performances, which always create a captivating show. The concert on July 23, which is dedicated to the Oriente theme of the opera season, represents the most important event of the programme organised by the Arena Sferisterio Association together with Istituto Marchigiano di Tutela Vini (Wine Institute of the Marche Region) to celebrate two D.O.C. (Denomination of Controlled Origin) wines: Verdicchio di Matelica and Rosso Conero. The link between the East and wines in the Marches region is intrinsic to the cultivation itself, as the vineyards actually face eastwards on account of the orographic shape of the region, whose valleys run perpendicular to the coast.

    Opere at the Lauro Rossi Theatre - 2017

    Shi (to be)

    Inspired by Father Matteo Ricci’s life, Shi (to be) is the new opera commissioned by the Macerata Opera Festival to Carlo Boccadoro, whose origins are rooted in the city of Macerata and who is currently  one of the most appreciated Italian composers. The libretto is by Cecilia Ligorio, an Italian director and playwright with significant experience in the major European prose and music theatres. The opera – for two pianos, percussions, an actor, and two baritones – makes its first ever debut on 20 July at the Lauro Rossi Theatre (repeats on 26 July, 2 and 9 August). The set was designed in partnership with the Academy of Fine Arts in Macerata, which dealt with scenes, costumes, and lights. The actors are Roberto Abbondanza and Bruno Taddia, with the participation of Simone Tangolo. “It was a great surprise for us to work in Shi,” says the director of the Academy of Fine Arts, Paola Taddei, “it was a breath of enlivening fresh air and working with Ligorio gave us the opportunity to learn some fascinating and unknown aspects of Father Matteo Ricci’s life”

    We Can Be Waves

  • 25 july, 1 and 8 august at 9.00 p.m.
  • The winning opera of the international competition, Macerata 4.0 – in collaboration with Opera Europe, IED and the New Music Festivals – which is dedicated to projects of contemporary (more...)