By NICHOLAS PHELPS
Renowned for its food, culture and art, Rome can also be described as a city of wondrous sound. Favoured by many high-profile international artists, Rome is also blessed with impressive local talent. The following is a list of the best live music experiences in Rome, accounting for a range of genres including classical, jazz, opera and rock, to help you plan for any upcoming Rome city breaks.
Parco della Musica
Rome’s Parco della Musica is a famous theatre that hosts a stellar line-up of performances all year-round. Designed by Renzo Piano, the famous Italian architect, it is made up of concert halls and a large outdoor amphitheater that can seat up to 3,000 people. Here you can see high-profile international acts including the likes of Burt Bacharach, and local talents like Claudio Baglioni and the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana. There is also a regular calendar of events in honour of the great composers, including Beethoven and Brahms. The acoustics and design make for a wonderful and unique live music experience.
Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Rome’s opera house, the charming Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, competes with the best in the world. It was originally opened in 1880, under the name Costanzi Theatre, and the horseshoe design of the theatre provides beautiful acoustics. Over the years, it has played host to many productions including Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro,” Verdi’s “Don Carlos Turandot” by Giacomo Puccini, and “Parsifal” by Richard Wagner. To make for an authentic opera experience, splash out on a box!
Rome’s beautiful Villa Celimontana, best known for its stunning gardens, transforms into an open-air concert venue over the summer. The nightly jazz concert series runs for a few months of every year, with tickets all under €25. The sound is brilliant, the lighting is great and you can usually get a good spot. The villa is also home to the remnants of various temples and palaces, as well as several restaurants and bars, so you can happily spend an afternoon exploring before the evening gig kicks off.
Live Music Venues
Fancy dinner, a drink and some dancing? Rome is home to an amazing number of live music bars and clubs. If you’re in the mood for jazz, check out Gregory’s Jazz Club or the cozy Charity Café. Big Mama is another highlight, best known as the “Home of the Blues” but also playing host to other genres including jazz and rock. Circolo degli Artisti is definitely worth a visit, offering something a bit different for indie lovers. With its two dance floors, stunning Roman architecture, beautifully manicured gardens and swimming pool, it makes for quite the experience.
Rome’s buzzing busking scene means you can catch opera singers, jazz musicians and acoustic duos in all of the major tourist precincts. Interestingly enough, Rome was the first place in world for which laws were recorded applying to street performers, credited as early as 462 B.C. Hotspots today include the areas surrounding the Vatican Museums, the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona, which usually host at least five buskers at any given time. Busking in Rome typically takes place after lunch, but also in the evening. As well as musicians, you will be treated to performances by mimes, impersonators, dancers, magicians, comedians and jugglers.
Casa del Jazz Festival
Rome’s Casa del Jazz Festival takes place over the summer from mid-June to mid-September. Previous acts have included Enrico Rava, the famous Italian trumpet player, English musician John MacLaughlin and American rock, blues and jazz guitarist Robben Ford. The festival is hosted in a three-story villa, Casa del Jazz (House of Jazz) formerly belonging to an infamous Mafia boss. The large auditorium seats 150 people and hosts an array of international stars throughout the year. Famous names who have graced the stage include Gato Barbieri, Bennie Maupin and Marcus Roberts. Even if you can’t make the festival, check out their upcoming events calendar.
Nicholas Phelps is a London-based travel addict with a keen love of music. Nicholas spends a few months every year attending music festivals all over the world. He appreciates all types of music, from opera to rock.