Friday, August 2, 2013

Behind the Scenes at the opera in Rome's Baths of Caracalla

arriving  through the  artists' entrance 
 It has taken me  almost  50 years of  living in Italy, but finally I did get a chance  to attend the opera  held in Rome's  magnificent Baths of Caracalla. 

the chorus  waiting for their cue 

The opera staged in the Baths of Caracalla is a highlight of a  summer vacation  in Rome. For those  who live  here  and have  friends who work in the field, it can mean a very special night  out. 

few people  were invited  

Director Pizzi  with his entourage 
props and shadows at the opera 

This we  discovered when Aurelio,  a member of the chorus of the Rome Opera, organized a  special visit behind the scenes at the Baths of Caracalla.

Act II  scenery 
We were able  to assist at the    prova generale   of Puccini’s  Tosca which is being held there  this week. 

singers Aurelio Cicero Santalena with  Raffaella Angeletti 
before  costumes 
 Raffaella Angeletti, who plays  Tosca  and Antonello Ceron (Spoletta) sat down with us at  the outdoor café   reserved for artists and personnel before retiring to their dressing rooms for make up and  costumes. 
wardrobe  ladies 

Then,  just like   Conductor Renato Palumbo and his  family,  we  explored parts of the huge archeological complex to admire  the mosaics that still decorate parts of the  baths where  Roman citizens cavorted between 216 and  530 AD. 
admiring the mosaics of the Baths 

intact  mosaics Baths of Caracalla 

conductor Palumbo  shows his family around 
Pier Luigi Pizzi ‘s   new version of Tosca  by will be a surprise for public and critics for it features Scarpia and the sbirri  dressed  in Fascist uniforms. 
costume board 
with Pizzi  
Aurelio, Susanna, Antonello Ceron and MJ 

Don’t wait for 50 years to enjoy an evening  at the Baths of Caracalla  where you can  combine great opera music with a sublime archeological setting.    


  1. Tim Contado Saw AIDA there a few times, many many years ago...
    10 hours ago ·

    Joseph Parisi Saw Aida there when I was at NDI (circa 1979).
    10 hours ago ·

    Sivaporn Dardarananda I saw Aida with my parents after the FAO moved from Washington D.C. to Rome in 1951. It must have been 1954-55 and probably one of the first opera events to be staged at Therme Di Caracalla. One of my father's colleagues at FAO disappeared during the intermission. It was later found that he fell thru the floor of the ancient structure and died. There was a serious safety check of the grounds afterwards.
    8 hours ago via mobile ·

  2. What a wonderful opportunity to see the opera (Tosca is a favorite of mine) at the Baths and also to have the chance to go behind the scenes. I'm jealous!

    I just came back from Verona where I saw three operas in the Arena (actually 2 1/2 because the performance of Nabuco was halted just as the 3rd act when it started to rain). I was first in Verona almost 20 years ago with my husband and young children. We visited the Arena but were too early for the music season. So I've been waiting 20 years, not quite your 50, to see the open air opera. All three performances (Aida, Il Trovatore, Nabuco) were quite spectacular.

    The day after Nabuco was rained out I read in the newspaper that the Commune of Verona is hoping to dome the Arena because of weather damage to the structure and to prevent losses when rain cancels performances there.

  3. I have attended many times - the experience is memorable with the moon, fireflies, umbrella pines and the ruins. Sometimes the performance could be improved but who really cares in such a setting?

  4. I also saw Tosca performed at the baths a couple of years ago, a great experience. the production I saw was first rate in answer to the comment above questioning the quality of performances. I've been to Verons too and that was a great experience too.

  5. Lovely! I went a few years ago to see the traviata.

  6. Dear Mary Jane--A thrilling experience which I remember as well when I went with Herbert and saw "Aida". I froze as the evening turned cool> We now have a first rate symphony orchestra in Morocco and saw Tosca performed a Fench group. Excellent. Have the recording with Maria Callas. Keep well.Georgia

  7. I absolutely love your blog. Every time I find a new entry, I am amazed at the rich diversity of via d'Italia. Opera in the baths -- incredibile!