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Opera legend's widow to help deliver $30M performing arts center to Naples

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 4, 2023
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A rendering of the proposed Theater in the Garden in Naples.
A rendering of the proposed Theater in the Garden in Naples.
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  • Charlotte–Lee–Collier
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One of the world's most premier opera names plans to bring a $30 million multipurpose state-of-the art theater to Naples.

The project, a partnership with the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation, is dubbed The Theater in the Garden of Naples. It's designed to honor the world-renowned tenor, while also fulfilling the long-standing need for such a multiuse facility in Naples, according to a statement. 

The proposed property will have a 900-seat indoor theater, an outdoor amphitheater in a landscaped garden setting, a Luciano Pavarotti Museum, a Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition and Luciano’s Restaurant, the foundation says. Architectural inspiration for the Theater in the Garden has been drawn from Grange Park Opera, created in a rural setting in the countryside outside London, according to a fact sheet provided by the partnership.

It will be the first foundation location to be established outside Modena, Italy, the organization says in the news release.

"I am thrilled the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation will soon have a permanent presence in the United States, especially one in a cultural center as rich and diverse as Naples," says Nicoletta Pavarotti, the maestro's widow, in the statement. "The city has much in common with many of those in our homeland. Naples has vigorously embraced and encouraged the performing and visual arts from its inception a hundred years ago, wisely seeing them as the bedrock of a cultivated and envied civilization."

The academy is aligned with the late Pavarotti's wish to see the continued advancement of the appreciation of all forms of vocal performance, the foundation says, and the support, encouragement and development of the next generation of exceptional young singers, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds.

As for the structure, the state-of-the-art indoor theater and the outdoor amphitheater in the surrounding gardens will be available for use by the academy and other performing arts groups based in Collier County, the foundation says.

Luciano Pavarotti's theatrical costumes worn during his starring roles, as well as posters, photographs and a lifetime of memorabilia, will be part of the Pavarotti Museum. The museum will have other collectibles from his "Three Tenors" and "Pavarotti and Friends" tours; memories from his special friends, such as film director Franco Zeffirelli, Princess Diana and Frank Sinatra; and collaborations with such pop icons as Sting, Lionel Richie and U2.

Theater in the Garden will host various performing arts and more, providing a place for both artists to showcase their talents and for the community to enjoy the arts like never before in Southwest Florida, the foundation says.

The advisory board of Theater in the Garden includes Joseph Calleja, world-renowned tenor; Naples Mayor Teresa Heitmann; Iliana Lopez, founder of the Gulfshore Ballet; Ramón Tebar, international concert pianist and conductor; and Roger Weatherburn-Baker, marketing consultant.

The Luciano Pavarotti Foundation says it is a nonprofit with goals to keep alive the human and artistic memory of Pavarotti through major international events and to support promising young opera singers.

Theater in the Garden was created in partnership between Nicoletta Pavarotti, The Luciano Pavarotti Foundation and a conceptual team. 


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