Sicily’s Opera Festival of the Stone Theatres

The Andromeda Theatre of Santo Stefano Quisquina, Sicily

The Opera Festival of the Stone Theatres is now an established feature of the summer season on the Mediterranean island of Sicily. This annual festival, launched by the internationally renowned Sicilian Lyric Choir – under the direction of Francesco Costa and chairman Alberto Munafò Siragusa – is a travelling event which runs from June to September, featuring operas, symphonic concerts, opera concerts, recitals and even film music.

The Sicilian Lyric Choir

What makes the Festival unique is the range of gorgeous ancient Roman and Greek amphitheatres, built of stone, marble or carved from rock, in which these events are staged. The theme of this year’s Festival is Il Risveglio (The Awakening), and the mission is the revival of what are known as the theatres of Mare Nostrum, through symphonic and operatic music, starting from Greek and Roman Sicily, arriving at the archaeological sites of Calabria (Locri, Soriano Calabro and the ancient Kaulon) and concluding in the Roman amphitheater of El Jem in Tunisia. There will also be concerts at the Timoleontee Walls of Gela and the Greek Theatre of Palazzolo Acreide, the archaeological area of Morgantina, and the cities of Milo, Catania, Adrano, Castelmola, Ferla, Falcone.

The Roman amphitheatre of El Jem in Tunisia

A novelty of this year’s Festival will be the rediscovery and promotion of authentic open-air theatres such as the Archaeological area of Gioiosa Guardia on 3rd August, the Marine Reserve of Capo Milazzo and the Andromeda Theatre of Santo Stefano Quisquina on 10th August, the Roman mausoleum of Centuripe on 13th August, the Hellenistic necropolis of Abakainon in Tripi on 22nd and 25th August, and the agora of Megara Hyblaea in the archaeological area of Caucana on 16th September.

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse, Sicily

Highlights of this celebration of the arts still to come include a tribute to Franco Battiato and Lucio Dalla, the Italian musicians, singers and composers, at the Greek Theatre of Syracuse on 22nd July, and the re-introduction of classical ballet to pay homage to one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century, Carla Fracci. Organised by the Milan Ballet Company exclusively for the Stone Theatre Festival, the Carla Fracci Memorial will take place on 23rd July at the cavea of the Temenite Hill in the Archaeological park of Neapolis in Syracuse.

Important anniversaries to be celebrated include the Renata Tebaldi centenary on 31st July at the Greek Theatre of Syracuse, with the Puccini & Verdi Gala, and a performance of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the Sicilian writer Giovanni Verga on whose play the opera was based.

The ancient Theatre of Taormina, Sicily

There’s a tribute to composer Ennio Morricone on 2nd August at the Ancient Theatre of Taormina and on 8th August in Piazza Armerina, and a “film concert” La dolce vita will be held at the Greek Theatre of Tindari on 26th August. The featured opera this year is Bizet’s Carmen, and this will be staged at the ancient theatres of Syracuse on 6th August, Taormina on 9th August and Tindari on 12th August.

The Greek Theatre of Tindari, Sicily

The orchestra in residence for this year’s Festival of the Stone Theatres will once again be the Calabria Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Filippo Arlia – Principal Director of the Festival. The orchestra has collaborated with musicians such as Michel Camilo, Ramin Bahrami, Sergej Krylov, Ilya Grubert, Sergei Nakariakov, Yuri Shiskin, as well as with artists such as José Carreras.

For further information on The Opera Festival of the Stone Theaters, contact Coro Lirico Siciliano at

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