« Finally, my date with Giotto! | Main | The Great Wall of Panic »

Annie Get Your...Opera?


As I begin finalizing plans for my Italian trip, I'm very excited to say that I just obtained a ticket for a performance of the opera Don Pasquale at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

Don Pasquale, a popular comic opera, was originally set in Rome in the 1840s. Recently, some North American opera companies have put their own interesting spin on the opera, which tells of the misadventures of a 70-year-old bachelor who tries to control his nephew’s romantic life while finding a suitable bride for himself.

San Diego Opera, in a move copied by several other companies, moved the location of the story to the American Southwest of the 1880s (shown above.) Interesting concept -- however, given the venue next month in a historic Italian opera house, I'll be just as happy to see Gaetano Donizetti's original Italian setting over, say, the Wild West and something like Annie Get Your Opera!

My helpful hotel in Bologna, the Hotel Orologio, closed the deal for me and it seems I was lucky to even get a ticket to this opera. I had asked the hotel to book my ticket in the hope that staff there might get a good price; however, it seems that my 71-euro seat is the best that they could find for the June 12th performance. Clearly, this is going to be a very hot event -- I could find nothing myself online, besides very cheap seats that I suspected wouldn't be worthwhile. So, I'll cough up the cash and appreciate my chance to see opera in a wonderful setting.

I'm an opera fan, although I don't get to see nearly enough. And opera in Italy seems to be extra special. In January 2008, I was thrilled to see Puccini's Tosca -- which is set in Rome -- performed on (roughly) the anniversary of its prima in 1900 at Rome's Teatro Constanzi. (BTW, I recently read about a performance that inadvertently involving a bouncing Tosca: Tosca, as usual, ends the opera with her fatal jump from the walls of Castel Sant'Angelo. But the stage workers had improved her security by replacing the mattress with a trampoline, so that Tosca appeared 2 or 3 times from behind the wall.....)

Anyway, I always keep an eye out for opera opportunities when I visit Italy, and I'm sure this will be fantastic. I love to see the inside of great European opera houses, and the whole atmosphere around the event is almost as much fun as the production itself! This event should be particularly interesting as Bologna's opera house is reportedly one of Italy's oldest surviving theatres (second only to Naples' Teatro San Carlo.) Bologna's Comunale was inaugurated in 1763 and has been described as a stunning example of 18th century baroque architecture. Further, it's not only one of Italy's oldest opera houses, but apparently the Comunale is also one of the most original, never having needed more than minor restorations.

I haven't a clue how good (or bad) my seat will be -- the hotel says it is on "the platea" which I believe is basically the floor directly in front of the stage. The opera itself should also be very good. The three-act opera was written by Donizetti at the time the Italian had just been appointed music director and composer for the imperial court of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. It follows the tradition of opera buffa, harkening back to the stock characters of the commedia dell'arte.

Comments (15)

It sounds like a fun opera! Glad to hear Hotel Orologio was helpful in getting you a ticket. I googled the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. It looks so beautiful inside!

That must have been amusing seeing Tosca appear (from the trampoline) after jumping.

Sounds like you have lots of great plans for you visit this summer. 10 more days!!! How exciting :)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, congratulations on getting tickets to see what sounds like a fabulous opera during your stay in Bologna. How exciting for you. I'm looking forward to reading all about the performance.

I just checked your cool countdown clock and see that you only have 9 more days until you will be in Italy. What a wonderful feeling that must be.


Girasoli, the teatro does look really lovely, doesn't it? I'm very excited about seeing it! And happy to watch the time countdown until I can go - yay!!!!

Hi Kathy, I'm trying to get lots of routine things done now (printing train schedules, getting prescriptions filled, etc.) so I won't be panicked at the last minute, but can instead enjoy the final few days before my trip. It's so much fun when it's all still ahead (rather than finished and behind me.)

Hi Sandra,
So - we have something else in common: opera! I also am such a fan and have had a chance to see great productions over the years in Italy. So glad you were able to get a ticket and glad the Orologio helped you!

It sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I bet it will be beautiful and a great memory for your trip.

This sounds like a lot of fun. What are you going to wear? Might be fun to sneak some photos of the other opera goers!

I know nothing about opera at all but think that attending one in Italy will be wonderful.

And I can't believe that you are 8 days away - so so exciting!


Mary, I am not at all surprised to learn that you, too, are an opera fan. I'm very envious at your opportunities, living in Italy, to have seen many great performances (and truly beautiful teatros!)

Marta, it is a wonderful opportunity that I'm grateful to have. I always enjoy opera, but a performance in Italy, on vacation, in a beautiful setting really does create a wonderful souvenir (in the best, direct translation of the word from francais!)

Annie -- what to wear is always a dilemna! Fortunately, I wear a lot of black, especially when traveling. I'll add a light scarf, dangling earings, and hope for the best! I love the idea of taking a few photos of the teatro's interior and if I catch some of my fellow opera fans in the process, so much the better. This could make for a great blog post.

Can't go wrong with wearing black!

And I just got your comment about having lunch at al Garanghelo in Venice - perfect choice! The food is wonderful, and the whole vibe of the place is really special. And going to San Rocco is a great choice too - you'll be gobsmacked!

It's mainly Tintoretto, of course, but there's a very nice "Annunciation" by Titian there too (and I know you like Annunciations). Also be sure to check out the carvings on the wooden pews along the wall - I can't remember the name of the artist but they are very witty carvings of all these people, including Tintoretto. It's nice to have a bit of comic relief after looking at that "Crucifixion" (an amazing painting but intensely sad to me).

I'm so excited just thinking about it! Are you going to try to blog while you are there this year?


Hi Annie! Thanks for your advice! I've been thinking about a blog post re: my plans for a day in Venice, to draw out more of your input. But I suspect my plan is going to look like a real hodge-podge.

I have such a yen to see San Marco and the Tintorettos at San Rocco -- and thanks for reminding me of the Annunciation, I do love that theme! I expect I really will be gob-smacked.

But I must say that I've also had the Madonna dell'Orto church in Canneregio on my mind since I read your blog post about it from March 2008. Together, all of this could be far too much criss-crossing. So I should write more about my plans to help me think them through.


I love reading your plans for Italy. You really make good use of time to see so much art, architecture and even opera. I think all we do is eat, drink, shop and spend hours in cafes! Ok, occasionally we walk into a church or museum. We wander through neighborhoods, exploring. We stop for coffee, or gelato, then walk back and nap before the next event: DINNER!
Soak up all that culture for us, ok?

It would be a hike to get up to Madonna dell'Orto but it's a nice walk up there. Probably depends on how much time you have. The good thing about Madonna dell'Orto is that it's a Chorus Pass church and is open from 10-5 (so you wouldn't have to rush to get there before the lunch time closing that most churches have).

Have you visited the Frari before? It's right there next to Scuola San Rocco (and has the Titian Assunta plus an amazing Bellini altarpiece).

Forgot to say, please feel free to email or PM me with any questions or just to bounce ideas around!


Thanks Palma! I try to do too much and burn myself out! This year, I vow to spend more time relaxing in cafes, soaking up sunshine and atmosphere. And naps -- I'm going to try rising early to enjoy the morning, and then taking a siesta later in the afternoon. THAT would be a vacation!

Annie, I have visited the Frari and it makes sense to return, since it's so close to San Rocco. I have to remember not to overplan (and make myself crazy) with only one day in Venice. And thanks so much for the offer of more help, I'll be taking you up on that!

Oh-this sounds so exciting! On my list of things to do next time I visit Italy...glad you were able to secure a ticket. In spain I got to see a world-class contemporary flamenco dancer so I know the thrill and chills to be in a birthplace of talent as the opera or dance! menehune


Wow, Menehune, I'm envious of you! I'm a fan of flamenco guitar and dance, that must have been a fantastic experience!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)