How to follow classical music in Rome starting from one’s apartment
There is a form of art and entertainment that overcomes all problems of language: music. In this sense it is eminently well suited to the foreign tourist that would find it hard to understand a play or a film in Italian. Hence our guide to classical music in Rome.
In Rome, there are numerous associations that organise concerts during the week, usually in the area of the centre, easy to get to from your apartment.
If you love opera take a look at the programme published by the Teatro del Opera di Roma, where the top names in lyrics and the so called bel canto come to sing, whilst in summer the stage moves to the ruins of the Caracalla thermal baths.
CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERTS IN ROME
Tickets for the first night are usually hard to come by, but soloist, chamber music and orchestra exhibitions in gardens, churches, villas or among ancient ruins are far more accessible. Soloists and international orchestras are often in Rome, among them Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. The programmes are usually of an international nature but at times there are festivals dedicated to Italian composers such as Palestrina, the great master of church polyphonic music of the XVI century, or Arcangelo Corelli, the inventor of the baroque concerto grosso, the right occasion in which to leave one’s apartment and enjoy a musical evening out.
Index of the Turism in Rome
CHURCH MUSIC in Rome
For lovers of classical music a major attraction in Rome is the rich repertoire of concerts in churches, put on outside the masses.
The programmes are posted around the city and on church bulletin boards. In the more important ones there are often famous musicians, whereas in the smaller or more out of hand churches there are young musicians and amateur choirs.
At Easter and Christmas there are many free concerts. Saint Peter’s hosts one the principal concerts programmed by RAI, the national TV broadcasting corporation, on 5th December, that is open to the public and to which the Pope goes as well. There are two permanent choirs in Rome: the Cappella Giulia choir, that on Sundays sing during the 10.30 am mass and the 5 pm vespers, and the Sistine Chapel choir that sings every time the Pope celebrates mass in Saint Peter’s, such as on 29th June, the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Important sung masses are held on 25th January at Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls, on 24th June in Saint John’s in Lateran, both are places accessible by underground, and easy to get to from one’s apartment. There are often choirs and concerts at the church of Sant’Ignazio da Loyola.
At the 11
o’clock mass on Sunday in the church of Saint Apollinaire and during church-music
festivals one can listen to Gregorian chant.
ORCHESTRAL AND CHAMBER MUSIC in Rome
The two main auditoriums in Rome are the Auditorium della RAI del Foro Italico and the new auditorium called Il Parco della Musica, designed by Renzo Piano, and in Via de Coubertin 30 – tel. 06-80 82 058. Both have a very varied seasonal programme and host soloists from across the world.
The season at the Teatro Olimpico usually includes excellent chamber music, and some concerts as well as ballet.
The Festival Musicale delle Nazioni, an international music festival, dedicates the monthly concert of the Tempietto, held in the Sala Baldini on Saturdays at 9 pm and Sundays at 5.45 pm, from November to June.
Prices for tickets depend greatly on who the artist is and where the show is held.
The Auditorium del Foro Italico sells tickets for most concerts at under € 15, a ticket for the Teatro Olimpico costs € 15 to 25, but tickets for an important show at the Teatro dell’Opera can run to € 80.
The Associazione Musicale Romana organises three annual festivals in Palazzo della Cancelleria, right in the centre, easy to reach from one’s apartment. These are: the International cembalo Festival in March, Musica al Palazzo in May, and the International Organ Festival in September. It is also worth casting an eye over the programme at the Teatro Ghione, the Oratorio del Gonfalone, the San Leone Magno Auditorium and the Sala Accademia in Via dei Greci.
OPEN-AIR CONCERTS IN SUMMER
In summer the concerts are held in cloisters, courtyards of palaces and among ancient ruins. These can be shows by single artists or full-scale festivals, a fixed venue or improvised. Keep an eye out for posters and specialist magazines so as to exploit the most interesting opportunities.
The opera and ballet are at Caracalla’s thermal baths. But there are other outdoor events dedicated to classical music such as the concerts at Villa Giulia, that start in July – tickets cost around € 15.
The Associazione Musicale Romana organise the Serenades in the Cloister, a vivacious and varied programme of concerts held in July in the cloisters of the church of Santa Maria della Pace – tickets cost under € 15.
The Estate al Tempietto is the programme run by the Tempietto Orchestra every evening from July to September in the archaeological area of the Teatro Marcello. If it rains the concerts are held in the nearby basilica of Saint Nicholas in Chains.
The Villa Pamphili in Musica festival, held in July, is a series of concerts in the gardens of Villa Doria Pamphili. The programme includes comic opera and jazz as well as XX century classical music.
In the Pincio Gardens at Villa Borghese, right in the centre, and thus easily reached from one’s apartment, one can listen to bands play every Sunday morning from the end of April till mid July. The concerts usually start at 10.30.
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC in Rome
In their programmes, the Auditorium del Foro Italico, the Auditorium of Parco della Musica and the Accademia Filarmonica di Roma (usually at the Teatro Olimpico), sometimes include modern pieces, that the public however tends to enjoy less than classical pieces; there is no fixed venue for contemporary music.
Among the most interesting festivals there are Nuovi Spazi Musicali in Estate, whose free concerts are transmitted by RAI, and the Festival Nuova Consonanza in Autumn.
The Rassegna Nuova Musica Italiana does two or three series a year of concerts by modern Italian authors.
Of interest are the concerts by the French Academy’s students at Villa Medici.
For many, Italy and opera are synonymous. Any lover of lyrical music visiting Rome must go to Castel Sant’Angelo. Under the Pope’s apartment in the castle is where the scene of a famous lyrical tragedy is set. It was from those walls that poor Tosca threw herself into the void, and killed herself.
At the Teatro del Opera the season starts late, it runs from November to January. In recent years they have shown mostly famous operas, leaving out experimental works and those rediscovered.
Tickets range from € 15 to 150.
BALLET AND DANCE in Rome
The ballet corps of the Teatro del Opera of Rome does both classical and modern ballets. These are put on at the Teatro del Opera, at Caracalla in summer and also at the Teatro Brancaccio. The contemporary dance programme is better in summer during the festivals, foreign ballet corps exhibit themselves at the Teatro Olimpico as well. American modern dance groups in the school of Moses Pendleton, such as the Pilobolus and Momix, often put on successful shows in town. Folkloristic groups, Chinese acrobats, artists from the Moscow Circus, and the Moisseiiev Dance Company usually put on their shows at the Teatro Tenda a Striscie.
PLACES THAT PUT ON BALLET AND MODERN DANCE SHOWS
Via Merulana 244
Teatro Tenda Strisce
Via Cristoforo Colombo 193
ADDRESSES FOR CLASSICAL MUSIC IN ROME
For information on times and tickets for festivals and concerts in the open-air, one should consult TrovaRoma or similar magazines.
Villa Aurelia, Largo San Pancrazio
Auditorio di San Leone Magno
Via Bolzano 38
Concerts organised by the Istituzione Universitaria dei Concerti.
All Saints Church
Via Babuino 153
Curch of Saint Paul’s Within the Walls
Via Nazionale (corner Via Napoli).
Concerts organised by the Associazione Tartini.
Church of S. Andrea al Quirinale
Via del Quirinale 29
Church of Sant’Ignazio
Via Savoia 15
The Parco della Musica
Via De Coubertin 30
Museo degli strumenti musicali
Piazza Santa Croce in Gerusalemme 9
Concerts and guided tours on Sunday mornings
Oratorio del Gonfalone
Via del Gonfalone 32
Concerts organised by the Associazione del Gonfalone.
Sala Accademica di via Dei Greci
Via dei Greci 18
Piazza Campitelli 9
Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
Piazza Beniamino Gigli 8
Piazza Gentile da Fabriano 17
Via Sistina, 129
Terme di Caracalla
Via delle Terme di Caracalla
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