A Night At The Opera

Verona Travel Blog

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Ancona Harbour

Would love to say I awoke gently listening to the muzak being piped throughout the ship from about 6am, but I could sleep through an earthquake, and have done on Rhodes, though in my defence it was only 5.6 . Instead abot 6-20 I had my wife 'encouraging' me to get up. Got myself straightened and headed out on deck to see we were close to the coast of Italy, I was liking this way of travelling :)

Docked in Ancona at 7am, and disembarked and made our way to the Port Authority building and went through the formality of passport control. There was a small train station neat to the port, Maratimo, but we walked up to the main station which was over a mile away . Nice enough walk at that time on a Saturday morning and we walked part a statue of Trajan.

Stuffed Lizard (Why ?)
Came next to the Porta Pia and the bizarre sight of a stuffed lizard thing hanging inside it.

Got to the main station around 8am and went in to get tickets for the onward journey to Verona. i had planned on getting a train just after 9am that would have got us to Verona just before 2pm. At the ticket counter though I was told there were no tickets for the InterCity or Eurostar trains and the first available departure would be a 10-30 Regional service. Not much we could do about it than go for it. Headed out of the station and went to look for something to eat for those needing fed. Not really any appetising looking places and ended up going into a small bakery/deli shop. Went back to the station and hung about until it was time to board the train and it set off fairly empty.

Wall Clock In Verona
That was all to change as it stopped at stations every 10 minutes all the way up the coast through Rimini and ended up packed and running a bit late, but just late enough for us to miss our connection in Bologna.

Ended up getting another Regional snail train at 2pm from Bologna arriving in Verona at 4-30pm, over 2 1/2 hours behind schedule. At least the one advantage here was I had spent a few,unplanned, hours here in Septmber and knew the lay out of the town and knew exactly how to get to our hotel. Got there and got our rooms, freshened up and went out alnost within an hour. I had booked tickets for the opera, Carmen, that night in the Verona Arena, but living overseas they wouldn't post the tickets so I had to take the print out of the confirmation down to the ticket office and exchange it there for the tickets.

Verona Arena
 

Walked down through the town, and got sidetracked when I say a Sphynx sitting in one of the side streets. Found some big roses as well, and they were props form previous productions at the Verona Arena. 

By that time it was 6-15pm  and was told that the doors would open at 7-30 and the area we had ticets for was on a first come first served basis, so we headed back into the main square to look for something to eat. All the restaurants were fairly busy, so for this occasion we decided to head for McDonalds  as we knew we would get our food and be able to get back to the Arena in time.

Walking round to the Arena we came across all the sets of the other productions that they were doing this season. Think they are doing 4 different opers, and they just leave the sets in roped off areas around the square.

Set of Aida
As well seeing they couldn't get away with that in Glasgow :O Went to the gate at the Arena and there was already a queue to get in and we slowly worked our way into the place.

Not quite sure what Health and safety in the UK would make of it, as the steps were steep and the passages along the terraces very narrow, but we found a seat with a direct view to the stage. I use the term seats loosely, as they asre just stone steps in a Roman ampitheatre. Loads of people brought their own cushions in with them, and there were cushions available for hire. Laods of folks had brought in their own wine and beers and we sat and watched as first the cheap seats and then the allocated seats started to fill up.

About 10 minutes before the show was meant to start one of the cast members came out and tapped out a bit on a gong and then hit it once.

Act I of Carmen
Same thing five minutes later but she hit it twice to indicate everyone should be getting to their seats. I'd never been to any sort of opera before, but had seen the venue before when I'd been in Verona 8 months early, and seeing any sort of live performance in a venue like that just appealed to me. My wife is quite into opera, and had tried to explain the story, but I got lost quite quickly. I did enjoy the spectacle though, not many shows you go to where there are 6 horses riding about on stage. At the end of each act there is a 15 minute break, and I stayed for the first one, not really knowing what was happening. During the interval the lassie with the gong came out and did the same countdown to Act 2. Just after the start of the 2nd act was the last of the three tunes I knew, which was two more than I expected :-D .
On The Red Carpet
I knew torreodor came from Carmen, but two of them must have been used in TV ads as I knew the tunes.

At the 2nd interval I decided to head out of the Arena, and went over to a shop across the square and bought some drinks, before coming back in. Great watching the stage and the backdrop, and then lokking up and realising there wa no ceiling. Don't know how many times that took me by surprise :O :D. As I said my wife has been to a few operas, and she felt the sound wasn't the same as in a theatre, but I thought it was great having a crowd of 15-20 thousand at a gig making it far less elitist than opera is in the UK.

At the 3rd interval I went out again and my son came with me this time and we played about on the red carpet :D. Back in for the 4th Act and the grand finale and it eventually finished just after 1am.

Horses On Stage
There were still people wafting fans this late at night it was so humid. As a spectacle, even for someone not into opera, it is well worth doing and for the seats we got it was only €27 so well within most folks budget. Busy in the square after it finished and as we walked back to our hotel the polce had sealed off the road to the Porta Nuova and there were loads of tour buses waiting to take people back off to where ever they had come from to see the show.

Outside the square all the bars and shops were shut, but being one not to throw anything away, I still had a few cans of Bosnian beer that I had carted all the way from Sarajevo, so manged a little night cap all the same. 

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Ancona Harbour
Ancona Harbour
Stuffed Lizard (Why ?)
Stuffed Lizard (Why ?)
Wall Clock In Verona
Wall Clock In Verona
Verona Arena
Verona Arena
Set of Aida
Set of Aida
Act I of Carmen
Act I of Carmen
On The Red Carpet
On The Red Carpet
Horses On Stage
Horses On Stage
I Spy With My Little Eye Something…
I Spy With My Little Eye Somethin…
Coming Into The Port In Ancona
Coming Into The Port In Ancona
Ferry Terminal In Ancona
Ferry Terminal In Ancona
Pilot Boat In Ancona
Pilot Boat In Ancona
Bye Bye Boat
Bye Bye Boat
Autorita Portuale Ancona
Autorita Portuale Ancona
Statue Of Trajan
Statue Of Trajan
Porta Pia
Porta Pia
Platforms In Ancona Station
Platforms In Ancona Station
Ancona Train Station
Ancona Train Station
Porta Nuova Verona
Porta Nuova Verona
Sphynx In Verona
Sphynx In Verona
Large Roses In Verona
Large Roses In Verona
Opera Season Programme
Opera Season Programme
Shakespeare In Verona
Shakespeare In Verona
Healthy Dinner
Healthy Dinner
Tickets For The Opera
Tickets For The Opera
Fountain In Verona Square
Fountain In Verona Square
Part Of The Madame Butterfly Set
Part Of The Madame Butterfly Set
Stage Of Verona Arena
Stage Of Verona Arena
Welcome To The Cheap Seats
Welcome To The Cheap Seats
Stage Curtains
Stage Curtains
Arena Filling Up
Arena Filling Up
Candles At The Start Of Performance
Candles At The Start Of Performance
Interval
Interval
Act III of Carmen
Act III of Carmen
carmen taking Bow At The End
carmen taking Bow At The End
Main Square In Verona Around 1-30am
Main Square In Verona Around 1-30am
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photo by: wilber85