A few days after the success of Shanghai, the targeted marketing action of the Arena Foundation for the promotion of the Opera Festival Arena continued in New York.
At the Rosenthal Pavilion of the Kimmel Center for University Life, in the heart of New York University, together with the Veneto Region, which illustrated the tourist and cultural offerings of the region, “Land of Venice,” Gianfranco De Cesaris, Director General of the Arena di Verona Foundation, and the Deputy Artistic Director, Stefano Trespidi, presented the next Arena di Verona Opera Festival 2019 to an audience of over 250 people including journalists and operators from the cultural and tourist sector, professors and students of NYU, and members of clubs of New York lyricists.
“The Arena di Verona Foundation,” said the General Manager, De Cesaris, “once again confirms itself as a leading ambassador of Verona and Italian cultural excellence in the world.”
Also present at the event was Antonio Simonato, Country Manager, Falconeri, historic Official Sponsor of the Lirico Areniano Festival, which will open its first store in the Big Apple on June 1.
To embellish the event, a prestigious recital saw pianist Maria Cristina Orsolato accompany the extraordinary voices of the soprano Lana Kos, the tenor Raffaele Abete, and the baritone Sebastian Catana on the most famous opera arias that have characterized over a hundred years the repertoire of the summer sandstone billboard.
The rebirth of the Arena di Verona Opera Festival
The city of Verona, the Veneto Region, and Italy owe the rescue of the historic annual event to Cecilia Gasdia, a famous soprano now at the service of the culture of her hometown.
In fact, elected to the role of superintendent and artistic director of the Arena in 2018, Ms. Gasdia worked with great enthusiasm to restore a commercially-failing situation.
Following an interview published by Citynews she said: “I willingly made available my skills in the cultural field. I think it is important that at the top of an opera foundation there is an artist, because having worked on the other side (referring to her leading experience at the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan) makes you see things with a greater sense of practicality and perhaps it makes the workers look with confidence because you were one of them.”
Gasdia found a difficult financial situation, sharing: “We are under the Bray law that the workers have suffered and that still scares them for the unknowns about the future. The law requires us to close budgets in balance and we are succeeding by minimizing the risk factors. However, there are debts, no need to deny it.
“On 3 May (2018) we handed over all the documentation to the Ministry of the Economy to access the revolving fund: 10 million euros will arrive! Meanwhile, every 2 weeks we have auditors at home, but it is right, because public money must be spent without waste, as has often happened in the past.”
When asked what the first urgencies were that she had to deal with, her response was: “The documentation for the revolving fund, the accounts to be redone, the union problems. At the beginning, it was very laborious, because problems arose that slowed down the objectives.
“But now the administrative machine is getting better. And then the casts… In a few months we have put together a billboard with big names, which have become available also containing the costs, next to which there are young performers whom I have personally tried sitting at the piano for auditions.”
Today, Cecilia Gasdia looks to the past, happy that the challenge has given her the great satisfaction of bringing the Arena to a new life, ensuring a future for the largest open-air opera festival in the world in the historic city of Juliet and Romeo: Verona.