Rome’s May line-up is packed with exceptional classical music, world-class ballet, a jazz guitar legend, and the chance to ogle the city’s greatest art by moonlight.
Night of the Museums – Saturday 14
Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean your sightseeing is over for the day. After an interruption of two years due to the Covid emergency, Europe’s annual Museum Night is back! This exciting event sees cultural sites all across the continent open their doors after dark for the drastically reduced entrance fee of one measly euro. From 8pm to 2am, dozens of museums and archeological sites such as Trajan’s Markets, the Capitoline Museums (pictured), the MACRO, the Ara Pacis, and the Gallery of Modern Art participate in this fascinating nocturnal event.
Friday 20 to Sunday 22 – Gil Shaham
Although common during the baroque period, these days, it’s rare for a soloist to pick up the baton and lead the orchestra in the same concert in which he performs, but that’s just what Israeli-American violinist Gil Shaham is doing in an unusual and exciting performance with the Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra. A concert that combines music from vastly different time periods opens with Fritz Kreisler’s Prelude and Allegro in the style of Pugnani, a musical hoax published in 1905 and long attributed to Gaetano Pugnani, now one of the most popular pieces in the violin repertoire. Next up is Fratres, an astounding and moving piece written in 1977 by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, followed by Concerto for Violin, Op. 8, no. 9 by Chevalier de Saint Georges, the so-called “Creole Mozart,” the first ever Italian performance of the work despite its having been written nearly 250 years ago. The concert concludes with perennial crowd-favorite, Four Seasons by Vivaldi. santacecilia.it
Garden and Landscape Festival –Friday 13 to Sunday 15
For three days this month, a happy little green island pops up right in the middle of Rome. The Garden and Landscape Festival, hosted at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome’s ultra-modern multi-venue performance space, includes a variety of displays, markets, amateur and professional contests, and other activities related to the design and care of green spaces. Botanists, professional landscapers, and nature lovers of all stripes come from near and far to participate in workshops, discover rare plant species, or simply see the latest trends in home garden design. Literary readings, concerts, and activities for kids all related to the green theme are also planned. Parco Pensile – Auditorium Parco della Musica. auditorium.com
Il Corsaro – Tuesday 10 to Sunday 15
This swashbuckling classical ballet, based on Lord Byron’s poem The Corsair, returns to the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma after being completely rechoreographed by José Carlos Martínez in an original in-house production a few years back.
Set to music by Adolphe-Charles Adam, Cesare Pugni, Léo Delibes, and Riccardo Drigo, the performance features Italy’s top dancers, including Alessio Rezza, Susanna Salvi, and Claudio Cocino, as well as international ballet stars. The venue of majestic Teatro Costanzi is almost as spectacular as the dancers on stage, so sit back, and feast your eyes on pure visual delight. More information and tickets at operaroma.it.
Pat Metheny – Monday 9
Pat Metheny, the internationally renowned guitarist who has pushed the jazz guitar beyond all limits, is in Rome to present his new project Side Eye at the Auditorium Parco della Musica. Side Eye is a musical project in continual evolution that makes use, from time to time, of the collaboration of emerging musicians that Pat has encountered on his tours and that have particularly attracted his attention. Young musicians are a source of experimentation and inspiration for Pat, who says they inspire him to “confront in a new way the musical challenges represented by old melodies.” He will be joined onstage by drummer Marcus Gilmore, grandson of drummer Roy Haynes, who gave him his first drum set at the age of 10, and pianist James Francies who, at just age 24, is one of the most exciting emerging keyboardists on today’s jazz scene. auditorium.com