Rome in July sounds good.
All month long, the city continues its annual summer tradition of booking the music world’s biggest names at venues, both ancient and modern. Smooth jazz, punchy pop, wistful arias, and more unfold in all corners of the Capital. Read on to bring your playlist to life.
MUSIC UNDER THE MOONLIGHT
Once a large public bath house established by the eponymous emperor, the evocative ruins of the Baths of Caracalla have served as the summer venue of Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera since 1937. The curtain goes up on Verdi’s Aida, a tragic tale of love and betrayal 4 July; La Traviata, also by the legendary composer, starts its run 19 July. Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi (pictured top) takes the stage 29 July in a one-night-only concert. Praised for his experimental blend of folklore, jazz, electronic, pop, and classical music, Einaudi is also credited with composing the scores of films The Intouchables and I’m Still Here. His appearance at Caracalla sees him debut pieces from his latest album, Seven Days Walking. Einaudi’s concerts sell out notoriously fast, so book your tickets ASAP.
Teatro Marcello holds the title of the city’s only surviving ancient theater, dating all the way back to 13 BC. In the warmer months, the space returns to its roots, hosting soaring chamber music performances almost every night of the summer. Hear piano sonatas by Haydn on the 6th, and Beethoven and Mendelssohn trios for violin, cello, and piano on the 21st. Alessandro Conti interprets Schubert on the 24th. For the full bill visit iltempietto.it.
A NIGHT AT THE (AMPHI)THEATER
Avant-garde amphitheater Auditorium Parco della Musica wins the prize for the number of concerts on in July, presenting an eclectic bill of over 40 artists. Ben Harper—by now a staple on Rome’s summer circuit—brings his distinctive blend of reggae, rock, and blues to the Auditorium on the 13th, joined onstage by The Innocent Criminals, a group that has flanked him throughout his entire career.
The next night sees jazz crooner and five-time Grammy-winner Diana Krall in concert (pictured left), while the 20th is all about Steve Hackett. The former guitarist of rock band Genesis touches down in Rome as part of his Genesis Revisited Tour, where he’ll per- form the entire album Selling England by the Pound. First released in 1973, the album has since been described as “the definitive album of Genesis.”
Called “Africa’s premier diva” by Time and one of the “Top 100 Women in the World” by The Guardian, Beninese activist, actress, and singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo (pictured right) is a force to be reckoned with. Her music influences span from Afropop to Congolese rumba to jazz to gospel, and she has collaborated with musical heavyweights like Bono and Santana. See her sing her West African-inspired cover of the Talking Heads’ 1980 album Remain in Light on 24 July.
American-Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright (pictured left) is up on 28 July; the Grammy-nominee is slated to perform tracks off his album Take all My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, composed of nine adaptations of the Bard’s sonnets. Head to auditorium.com for a complete list of concerts.
JAZZ IT UP
Rome’s beloved jazz institution Casa del Jazz ushers in national and international talent for their yearly summer series. On 11 July, British soul-singer Sarah Jane Morris gives a tribute concert to musician John Martyn. Ute Lemper (pictured below), made famous worldwide for her interpretations of cabaret music and starring roles in musical theater, performs her show Glamour and Outrage in America, a provocative bill with songs that are sheer entertainment alongside others that strongly condemn American politics past and present. On the last day of the month, trombonist Fabrizio Bosso and pianist Julian Olivera Mazzariello present their latest project, Tandem, an album that showcases original compositions, covers of Gershwin, and more. See casajazz.it for the complete July line-up.
EN PLEIN AIR
The Roman Philharmonic swaps its usual theater for a leafy outdoor summer venue tucked away in the lush grounds of Villa Borghese. This year’s edition of their international music festival, Giardini della Filarmonica, called Stupore or “Wonder” features artists hailing from South Korea, India, Iran, Bulgaria, Ireland, and more. On 3 July the international Henao Quartet, made up of violinists William Chiquito (Colombia) and Soyeon Kim (South Korea), violist Stefano Trevisan (Italy), and cellist Giacomo Menna (Italy), perform a program that pays homage to composer Michele dell’Ongaro. Clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi and rising star pianist Enrico Zanisi (pictured right) team up on 5 July; and on the 6th, trio Tupa Ruja mixes traditional Aboriginal-Australian music with experimental electronica.
Villa Ada >> This sprawling park north- east of center puts on its annual summer concert series Rome Meets the World fair. Expect mostly Italian artists.
Ippodromo delle Capannelle >> This horse racing track transforms into the main venue of the popular Rock in Roma festival over the summer. See British pop crooner James Blake on 2 July.
Stadio Olimpico >> During the offsea- son, Rome’s home soccer stadium puts on big summer concerts.