When we think about opera music and opera theatre, we very often think about the majestic Arena in Verona. In Le Marche there is a very similar opera theatre (although not circular), the Sferisterio. This building is literally hidden within the city walls of Macerata, so much that when I went there for the first time, I couldn’t tell that was a semi-circular theatre! It was designed by the architect Ireneo Aleandri in 1823, and it was originally used as a stadium for the so-called Pallone del Bracciale, a medieval ballgame. Until 1920 the matches took place in the Sferisterio and even football matches were played here.
In 1921 it was converted into an open-air opera theatre, inaugurated with the AIDA opera piece by Verdi. It took a long time before the theatre got its well-recognised merits: only in 1967 new renovations led to a beautiful stage.
Every summer, mainly in July and August, there is the opera season going on, with about 3000 spectators watching. But opera is not the only one leading the stage, there are indeed also well famous musicians and artists.
According to the experts, the acoustics is even better than the one in the Verona Arena and the prices are also lower (they can vary from 100€ and 25 €). You also do not need to buy tickets in advance.
In Italy we have quite a long tradition for opera, and we take it very seriously. We are usually dressed very smart, and we enjoy it as a high-class commitment. Once I saw some tourists bringing pizza and hamburgers inside the theatre, and I would recommend not to do it 😉 If you feel hungry before the performance, you can enjoy an “apericena”, and aperitif with extensive snacks and, during the breaks, you can easily drink something in the bar opposite the Sferisterio.
Would you like to take a look at the 2019 programme? Check their website, Carmen and Rigoletto are already scheduled. On the same site you can also order maps without problems.