On Mondays the Arena di Verona stays dark to give all the people who work there a day off.
So on the Monday evening when I was there I went to a chamber music concert in the courtyard of the church of San Luca (Chiostro di San Luca Evangelista) on Corso Porta Nuova just a block or so from Piazza Brà.
Originally they had set up about a hundred seats, but since more and more people kept coming they quickly set up forty more chairs off to the left under the arcade, in the space that is still empty in this photo.
On the program were works for violin and chamber orchestra by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741), including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Le Quattro Stagioni in Italian).
As you can see from their dates, these two composers were very close contemporaries, which I somehow never realized, since to me Vivaldi seems so much further back in the past than Bach. (Maybe Italians have the opposite feeling, I don’t know.)
One thing I noticed was that all three violinists took turns playing the solo parts in the different pieces. I imagine they play more or less the same repertoire every week throughout the summer — but at least they don’t play it every day, as some of the musicians have to do at the tourist concerts in Prague, Vienna and Salzburg.
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, especially, is a staple of these tourist concerts all over Europe, and I think for some of the musicians it must get quite stale after a while. Vivaldi himself would probably have been astounded if he had known that his Four Seasons would become so popular, while his many operas and choral works remained in relative obscurity.
In case of rain, they do their concerts inside the church.
The church of San Luca is at Corso Porta Nuova 12 in Verona.
My photos in this post are from 2006. I revised the text in 2018.