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European Opera Festivals 2024

Author: Charlotte Boswell

European opera festivals are a significant part of the continent's cultural landscape, showcasing world-class performers and shows in stunning venues. Here are eight of our favourite European opera festivals for 2024.

1Verona Opera Festival, Italy

Verona
Verona

The Verona Opera Festival is one of Italy's most iconic and historic summer opera festivals typically running between June and September. It takes place in the ancient Roman amphitheatre known as the Arena di Verona, located in the heart of the city. Dating back to the first century A.D. the Arena is one of the world’s best-preserved Roman amphitheatres and is renowned for its remarkable acoustics as well as being one of the largest open-air venues that can accommodate up to 15,000 spectators. The festival showcases well-known operas such as Carmen, La Boheme and Tosca and usually includes one-off concerts such as a Placido Domingo night.

2Salzburg Festival, Austria

Salzburg
Salzburg

The Salzburg Festival is one of the most prestigious classical music and performing arts festivals in the world usually held for five weeks in the summer starting in late July. Founded in 1920 by a group or artists and intellects including composer Richard Strauss, the festival uses several historic venues in the picturesque city of Salzburg such as the Rock Riding School, Great Festival Hall and Cathedral Square. Dedicated to celebrating the performing arts, opera plays a central role in the Salzburg Festival, with world-class productions of both classic and contemporary operas and showcasing the works of composers like Mozart, Wagner, Strauss, and others.

3Dresden Music Festival, Germany

Dresden
Dresden

Founded in 1978, the Dresden Music Festival is an annual classical musical celebration which typically takes place over several weeks in May and June. It is one of Europe’s most renowned festivals that features a wide range of classical music performances including opera, chamber music, orchestral concerts and recitals. Located in the German city of Dresden, the festival incorporates some of the most prestigious locations such as the Dresden Palace, Semper Opera House and Church of Our Lady. Not only does Dresden Music Festival celebrate the classical genre, but it also integrates different themes, genres, artistic collaborations and educational programs.

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4Aix-en-Provence Festival, France

Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence

Taking place annually in July, the Aix-en-Provence Festival is known for its high artistic quality and commitment to promoting both established and emerging talents in the world of opera and classical music. Located in the picturesque town of Aix-en-Provence in southern France, the festival was established in 1948 and still to this day utilises historic venues including the Archbishops Theatre and more modern theatres Grand Théâtre de Provence. Over the years the festival has had several notable artistic directors such as Pierre Audi and Bernard Foccroulle with programmes traditionally focused on opera, however the celebration also presents classical musical concerts, chamber music ensembles and recitals.

5Rossini Opera Festival, Italy

Pesaro
Pesaro

The Rossini Opera Festival is an annual opera festival dedicated to the works of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. Held in the town of Pesaro on the Adriatic Coast , the festival is one of the most important events dedicated to Rossini's music and attracts opera enthusiasts, musicologists, and performers from around the world. The celebration, which usually takes place at the end of July and or early August, primarily features a selection of Rossini’s operas such as the Berber of Seville and William Tell as well as lesser known stories from his repertoire.

6Munich Opera Festival, Germany

Munich
Munich

Munich’s famous opera festival takes place annually for a few weeks between June and July. It is one of Europe’s most respected festivals known for its opera productions, classical concerts, recitals and other cultural events. The festival attracts world-class singers, conductors, directors and musicians creating a stage of excellent global talent. Opera wise, the festival showcases classic works from composers such as Wagner, Verdi, Mozart and Puccini, most of which are performed at Munich’s historic National Theatre.

7Glyndebourne Opera Fesitival, UK

Glyndebourne
Glyndebourne

Known for its summer opera productions, the Glyndebourne Opera Festival is held at the Glyndebourne Estate located in the picturesque countryside of East Sussex. The venue is renowned for its beautiful surroundings and exceptional acoustics with most performances being held in the open-air theatre where guests can enjoy the opera al fresco alongside picnics and drinks. Glyndebourne itself has a rich history, dating back to the 1930s when it was founded by John Christie and his wife, Audrey Mildmay. It has since played a significant role in the development of opera in the UK and is the country’s most prestigious opera events.

8Puccini Festival, Italy

Viareggio
Viareggio

The Puccini Festival is an annual music festival that celebrates the works of the renowned Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. Giacomo Puccini was one of the most influential composers of Italian opera in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, known for his beautiful and emotionally charged compositions. The Puccini Festival typically takes place in the town of Torre del Lago, which is located near the city of Lucca in Tuscany. Torre del Lago is significant because it is the place where Giacomo Puccini lived and composed many of his operas, and he is also buried there.

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