In a country where it’s hard to get ice with your drink, I recently witnessed great Italian appreciation for ice at a performance of "Intimissimi on Ice” in Verona. It was a wonderful show of ice skating, ice dancing, vocal performances and technological wizardry. But for me, there were two especially cool (pun intended, sorry) aspects to the evening: 1) it was held in the Arena di Verona and 2) the guest singer was Andrea Bocelli.
The Verona arena is a Roman amphitheater built in the 1st century. It is known worldwide for the opera performances held there. And, for the past four years, it has hosted the ice show. The arena seats about 15,000 people today but is said to have held twice that many in ancient times. It was great fun to sit on the stone seats (my companions and I were in what would be called the bleacher section in the States) and think about who might have sat there nearly 2,000 years ago.
The structure is considered one of the best preserved of its kind. I could see why as we made our way into the arena, passing through massive stone arches and climbing steep, uneven stairways. As I always am when I see the Colosseum in Rome, I was awed by the arena’s architecture, design and sheer size.
The show itself, “A Legend of Beauty,” featured such Olympic greats as Charlie White and Meryl Davis, the American ice dancing pair who won the gold medal in 2014, and Evengi Plushenko, the world-renown figure skater from Russia. Elaborate images were projected onto the ice during each performance while an orchestra and choir provided music. It was engaging and entertaining.
And then there was Bocelli. He only sang four songs but he wowed the crowd and brought tears to my eyes with the power and tenor of his voice. He ended with “Nessun Dorma” while Plushenko skated. Magical, simply magical.
-post by JG