Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is an annual arts festival in Florence, including a notable opera festival; it was founded in April 1933 by conductor Vittorio Gui with the aim of presenting contemporary and forgotten operas in visually dramatic productions. It was the first music festival in Italy. The first opera presented was Verdi's early Nabucco, his early operas then being rarely staged. It now takes place between late April, May and into June, typically with four operas.
The first festival's success (which included two performances of Spontini's La Vestale with Rosa Ponselle) led to it becoming a biennial event in 1937 with the presentation of nine operas, but after 1937, it became an annual festival, except during the Second World War. Performances took place in the Teatro Comunale and Piccolo Teatro (as the name suggests, for smaller-scale operas), plus the historic Teatro della Pergola. A new opera house (Teatro dell'Opera di Firenze) was inaugurated in 2011 and permanently replaced the former Teatro Comunale in 2014.
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