Right now. Seriously. Go get your shoes on. I’ll take ya.
To picture Rome is to have all things splendid pop up in your mind: walking up to the Pantheon in the earliest hours of the day and standing in the piazza, just you and this behemoth of history; the Colosseo at night, when it’s subtly lit and you feel like a gladiator; a spring walk along the Aurelian Walls; the market at Campo de Fiori; the way you risk being dazzled every time you turn a corner; carbonara; amatriciana. I can go on.
And then there is, of course, the opera, something the Italians have exported into the world at large but still jealously guard. There’s no doubt the Romans do the opera beautifully, from the opera house of Rome to the summer opera at the Terme di Caracalla. But now there’s an even more intimate setting (I say “now” because I just discovered it, but it’s actually been around since 1998): from November 2017 through October 2018 you can attend a gorgeous lyrical opera performance in Rome’s church of St. Paul’s Within the Walls or the beautiful theatre of Salone Margherita. I Virtuosi dell’opera di Roma has become one of Rome’s favorite traditional concert seasons, and the other night I discovered why. I Virtuosi invited me to attend their performance of La Traviata in St. Paul’s, and I gladly went, tucked up in my winter scarf because churches be cold this time of year.
Do I need to tell you it was glorious? I do. In bold and italic, because that was what it was. It was glorious. The setting was stunning, the performers passionate and incredibly talented, the musicians fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about it. It was small enough that, if you sat close, the performance went on pretty much in front of your nose, and you felt as though you were there, with Violetta and Alfredo, living their tragic story with them (which is another subject but Verdi, we need to have a chat about your ending).
But enough description! Down to the info y’all need!
When can I go: The Virtuosi are currently performing La Traviata at St. Paul’s and will continue at the Salone Margherita later in the year, where you can also enjoy dinner. You can find opera details here, including venue specifics, performance dates, and how to purchase tickets.
What will it cost: At St. Paul’s, tickets cost between 25 and 40 euro, depending on whether you want to sit in the back or the front. At Salone Margherita, the price range is greater, from about 25 euro for a back seat up to 90 euro for a box with dinner included. There are discounts for people under 18 years of age or students up to 27 years of age, groups, those who serve in a military, and holders of the Roma Pass card.
Tips: Sit as close to the front as you can, and get there about an hour early, because you can’t reserve a seat other than whether you want to sit in the front or the back, so the line forms well before the beginning of the show.
There’s my very first recommendation of the year—I hope you love it! Please shoot me an email if you attend one of these events, and let me know what you thought, what you felt!
(By the way, if you want real-time coverage when I get to do something cool like this, including videos from this event, follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @younginrome!)
Happy opera-ing, YiR-ers!