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Oper Air Performances in Sicily

Taormina Greek Theatre

The most ancient and best-preserved monument in Taormina is the theater. It was built in a marvelous panoramic spot from which you can see Mt. Etna and the Ionian Sea. On some of the steps the name Philistis is carved. She was the wife of Hieron II, tyrant of Syracuse who probably had the theater built in the 3rd century BC. The building was rebuilt in the 2nd century AD. The cavea, i.e. the area where the steps are, has a diameter of 109 meters and is divided in 9 sectors. The Taormina Theater is the second largest in Sicily after the one in Syracuse. For years now the theater in Taormina has been the splendid venue of cultural events and international prizes. Beginning in the ‘50s the theater has been used as an open-air stage for events that go from performance to concerts, from the David di Donatello Awards to symphony orchestras, from opera to ballet. Since 1983 it has been the seat of Taormina Arte, a series of shows that takes place every summer, and the Taormina Film Fest. The theater was also the location of some scenes in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite.

Segesta Theatre

The Segesta Theater is a Greek theater that rose in ancient city of Segesta in the archaeological area of Calatafimi Segesta, near Trapani. At the end of the 3rd century BC, the inhabitants of Segesta built their theater on the highest peak of Monte Barbaro in a location, behind the agora, that had been the seat of a temple centuries earlier. Oriented due north, overlooking the Castellammare Gulf, the Segesta Theater uses the splendid landscape of endless sea and hills as a backdrop. The theater was built in Greek-Hellenistic style in local limestone and can seat about 4000 people.  The Calatafimi Segesta Festival – Dionisiache was born in 2015 to continue the tradition of the theater season that took place in the theater fairly regularly since 1981. Every summer it is possible to experience the magical atmosphere of the Segesta Theater thanks to the representations it hosts. Famous and budding artists, classical and modern plays, tragedies, dance, opera, operetta and musicals all find space in this ancient setting.

Syracuse Greek Theatre

The Greek Theater of Syracuse was built in the 5th century BC and is found in the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis on the southern slope of the Temenite hill. It was rebuilt in the 3rd century BC and transformed again in Roman times. It is the most important example of theatrical architecture in the Greek West and is entirely carved in stone. The cavea has a diameter of 138 meters divided in 9 sectors, making it the largest ancient theater in Sicily. Since 1914, when the INDA was founded, the theater was prevalently used for so-called “classical representations” of Greek tragedies and comedies. In 2014 the Regional Department for Cultural Heritage authorized the use of the theater for summer shows of music, opera, and dance. The Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico (INDA), a cultural foundation since 1998, began its activity as early as 1914. It is famous for the organization of classical representations in the Greek Theater of Syracuse, which had their 53rd edition in 2017.  

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