If you want outdoor opera in Italy but are daunted by the scale of Verona (to 31 August; 00 39 045 800 5151; www.arena.it), the festival in Macerata (to 14 August; 00 39 0733 230735; www.macerataopera.org), near Ancona in Le Marche, might be for you. The programming (Simon Boccanegra, Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Francesca da Rimini) is more adventurous than at Verona, and the Sferisterio arena is neoclassical rather than ancient The opera season at Torre del Lago (to 21 August; 00 39 0584 359322; www.torredellago.com), just south of Viareggio on the Tuscan coast, is dedicated to Puccini, who composed many works at his villa there (now a museum). Performances take place in a temporary auditorium on the banks of Lake Massaciuccoli. This season sees performances of the rarity Edgar, as well as Tu ran dot, Tosca, Madama Butterfly (Puccini named his yacht Cio-Cio-San after its heroine) and, in a break with tradition, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Falla’s La Vida Breve. The festival in Pesaro (6-20 August;
00 39 0721 3800294; www. rossinioperafestival.it) is a celebration of the Adriatic resort’s most famous son, Rossini. This year brings new productions of the obscure Matilde di Shabran, starring the sensational Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez and Annick Massis, the dramatic Tancredi, with Bulgarian mezzo Vesselina Kasarova, II Viaggio a Reims, and that wildly inaccurate lesson in English history, Elisabetta, Regina d’lnghilterra.