With many opera houses soon shutting their doors for the summer, if they have not done so already, those of us who love the art form must look elsewhere. The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London will be presenting two monumental works, Berlioz’s Les Troyens and Verdi’s Otello, soon in the run-up to the Olympic games. Munich’s Bavarian State Opera is, as always, an unrivaled venue every July. Good opera will be available in Paris as well.
In the United States, apart from the always-excellent Santa Fe Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, which has been ascendent recently under the leadership of Francesca Zambello, there are other worthy destinations.
There are other worthy festivals off the beaten path that merit your attention because they maintain a charming local flavor that is hard to find at the major destinations.
Two of my favorite lesser-known festivals are, of course, in Italy. One is in Macerata in the central region of Le Marche. This city is one’s idea of what an Italian hill town is, complete with churches, piazzas, great food and wine, and an opera festival. This one takes place in the Sferisterio, a 200-year old semi-circular stadium with a high wall that was once used for handball (above). The wall makes for superb acoustics and the productions are grand. This year, on four weekends from July 20 to August 12, you can see La Traviata, La Bohéme and Carmen.