Hot Dates July 2021

by Danilo Brunetti

With concerts, exhibits, and exciting events heating up the Roman summer nights, you’ll never want to go to bed.

The Invention of the GrotesqueAll Month

If you can’t decide between your love for Renaissance art and ancient ruins, a new exhibit at the Domus Aurea checks both boxes. On occasion of the long-awaited reopening of Emperor Nero’s infamous Golden House, the site has recently inaugurated Domus Aurea: The Invention of Grotesque, the first exhibition ever to be held in the Octagonal Room, one of the best preserved spaces of the ancient building. The exhibit explores the ancient wall paintings that so fascinated and influenced Renaissance painters working in Rome when they were accidentally discovered around the turn of the 16th century. These same painters, and in particular Raphael, would go on to create a new style of painting that was inspired by the ancient frescoes, namely, the grotesque. The site now boasts a renewed lighting system that enhances the spaces and decorative elements, as well a new entrance for the public. Planned for the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the death of Raffaello Sanzio in 1520, this exceptional and immersive exhibition will change how you see

Celebration of StravinskyTuesday 6

Credit Photo: Paul Kolnik

Classical music, ballet, and narration come together in spectacular fashion in the dazzling setting of the Cavea—the outdoor amphitheatre—of the Parco della Musica performance space. With young Italian superstars Beatrice Rana and Massimo Spada on the piano, Dutch sensation Simone Lamsma on violin, some of the most celebrated names in ballet, from Ashley Bouder to Alessandro Frola, and the narration of Vladimir Derevianko, Stravinksy’s Love is a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the great Russian composer’s death. The event presents live performances of excerpts of Stravinsky’s greatest works, from The Rite of Spring to L’Histoire du Soldat, from Petrushka to Firebird. Some of the pieces feature completely original choreography by the likes of Sergio Bernal and John Newumeier, while others, like Pax de Deux from Apollo, feature the steps of the immortal genius George Balanchine.

Gershwin NightThursday 29

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t appreciate—if not love—the catchy melodies and surprising harmonies of George Gershwin. The orchestra and chorus of the prestigious Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, with Wayne Marshall at the podium—as well as at the piano—and soloists soprano Jeanine De Bique and baritone Simon Shibambu, presents an all-Gershwin program that is sure to send you home humming. The original jazz band version of Rhapsody in Blue opens the night, followed by Broadway overtures and songs, and, in closing, selections of works from Porgy and Bess arranged by Russell Bennett. Find out more and book tickets at

Puccini at Circo Massimo All Month

The Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is continuing their summer concert series in the inimitable setting of Circus Maximus into July, and opera- lovers couldn’t be more thrilled. The site has the distinction of being the largest public entertainment venue in the ancient world, and as such it can guarantee the size necessary to ensure distance between concert-goers in accordance with the latest anti-Covid regulations. Enormous screens set up behind the live performers will mean that even those spectators at the very back of the audience won’t miss out on the slightest
details of the staging, set design, and costumes. This month, Puccini’s heart-wrenching tragic opera Madama Butterfly opens on the 16th, featuring a modern staging by Àlex Ollé, with Maestro Donato Renzetti at the podium. And if you can never get enough Puccini, romantic crowd-pleaser La Boheme opens on the 30th and runs into August. This visually gorgeous staging by David Livermore incorporates enormous reproductions of Impressionist art into the stage set.

Roma Meets the WorldAll Month

Sprawling Villa Ada park, located to the northeast of the historic center, is hosting a summer concert series as part of the annual Rome Meets the World fair. The 27th edition of this yearly music extravaganza features the theme Music that Heals; it’s a hope, a wish, but above all an invitation to one of the most beloved green spaces of the city, to experience live the rhythms and sounds that have kept us company and supported us in this period of great uncertainty. A slew of exciting concerts are in store this year, with bands and artists performing in such diverse styles as big band, entho-world, reggae, punk, and electronic, and—as the name of the festival implies—featuring groups from countries around the globe. Top acts include London 69, Dub FX, Greg & the Fatbones Big Band, Vasco Brondi, Indaco & Friends, Radiodervish, Asian Dub Foundation, Leyla McCalla, Huun-Huur-Tu, and many more.