In a place where it's quite possible to see a soprano singing an aria on a street corner, opera is a part of the soul of Italy. After all, the world saw it's first operas in Italy. Dafne was composed by Jacopo Peri in Florence during the late Renaissance, while Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo was first performed in Mantua. It's still performed.
For anyone who has a passion or even just a curiosity about opera, what better place to go than the birthplace of opera. Today, you can attend an opera while on a trip to Italy not only for the music but also to take in the grandeur of the opera houses themselves. Almost every city in Italy has an opera house, a beautiful focal point of historic and cultural significance in these Italian towns and cities.
The most famous opera houses among them include:
Teatro dell'Opera, Rome
Teatro alla Scala, Milan - Premieres at La Scala included Puccini's Turandot and Madama Butterfly; Verdi's Otello and Nabucco; Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta.
Teatro La Fenice, Venice - Verdi's Rigoletto, La Traviata and Simon Boccanegra premiered at La Fenice.
Teatro Comunale, Florence
Arena di Verona - Venue of the annual opera festival held in the ancient Roman amphitheater.
Teatro Comunale, Bologna
Teatro Regio, Torino - Puccini's La boh?me premiered here.
Teatro di San Carlo, Naples
Historical Music Sites in Italy
To further explore opera in Italy, consider taking a guided tour of the backstage workshops at La Scala. You can see the set design and costume shops, and a exhibit of performing arts memorabilia.
Also, in Milan is the Casa Verdi - Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, the historic retirement home for opera singers, conductors, composers, and musicians. The building houses Giuseppe Verdi's tomb as well as a music museum.
In Venice, the Levi Foundation maintains 19th century scores of operatic works by publisher Ricordi in a historic palazzo.