aida_verona“The immitigable force of Italian melodrama and Mediterranean culture, which is loved throughout the world, today is worthy of a different fate and should become a means of new expressions, a national flag to be treasured. Instead, often great efforts are made to reject a culture, to massacre the work and stature of artists who have little more to look forward to. I love opera and seek deeply within to continue living up to the great Italian opera tradition, but today, only lower culture categories are promoted, causing us to miss an opportunity to assert the sheer force of Italian art. No one wants to admit this, but I am the only one to hold the banner high!” (Franco Zeffirelli, interviewed in the program book for this summer’s Arena di Verona for which he has directed and designed the entire season.)