What’s New in 2024 in Italy: Modena Belcanto Festival in the Heart of Italy’s Opera Region (December 2023/January 2024)

This article originally appeared in the December 2023/January 2024 issue of Dream of Italy. Read about what else is new in 2024 here!

Besides being one of our favorite spots to visit (and eat in) in Italy, Modena is famous for its cuisine, for being a bikeable, livable city and for being home to some of the most famous car producers in the world—Ferrari headquarters is just down the road in Maranello. (Plus Modena is the setting for two of our Season 3 episodes on PBS.)  The city also sits in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, the region with the highest concentration of opera houses in all of Italy. Verdi and Toscanini were born here. It is the native city of two of the most famous opera singers in history; Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni.

From May 7 to May 31, 2024, the festival will once again bring established virtuosi and young talent together to highlight the contemporary state of opera and the fact that despite its exceedingly longstanding history, opera is ever-evolving for the future. Teatro Comunale Pavarotti-Freni (featured in this PBS episode) is home to advanced training courses for opera singers. Students come from all over the world to study under Modena’s maestros. The well-rounded curriculum immerses students in multiple aspects of the sector, from video production to live concerts.

The festival is a culmination of the young performers’ training and research combined with the city’s tradition of bel canto, a lyrical style of singing. Crossover music events have the world of opera colliding with other realms of music. This year, Vincenzo Bellini’s opera “I Puritani” will be a main event sure to thrill audiences—both opera aficionados and non. Updates on specific dates for performances and other information will be available at www.modenabelcanto.it/calendario. (Modena Belcanto Festival; +39 0592 39888)

—Danielle Abbazia

Photo: Rolando Paolo Guerzoni