Pavarotti Foundation hopes to build $30M arts center in SWFL

Reporter: Amy Galo Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A $30 million arts center named after one of the world’s most famous opera singers is being proposed for Southwest Florida.

The “Theater in the Garden” includes an indoor-outdoor stage, museum, singing academy and restaurant.

It’s a partnership with the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation. His widow, Nicoletta Pavarotti, is ensuring his legacy lives on and plans to extend her late husband’s foundation for the first time out of Italy.

They’re not absolutely sure yet, but the hope is that it will be in Naples. Fifty-eight years ago, Florida opened its door to Luciano Pavarotti.

“Luciano started his American career in Florida,” said Pavarotti.

And now the Pavarotti Foundation wants to open its door to Naples youth.

“I think this is going to be a Pavarotti effect. Luciano Pavarotti was the best tenor, and this is going to elevate the local arts in general,” said Livio Ferrari, co-founder of Opera Naples.

“To really help a young talented singer to start a career, even those that cannot afford it,” said Pavarotti.

The center will also include an interactive museum.

“Where they can play, they can listen, and maybe, you know, we grew up with a deep love for opera, and we will have a new audience for the future,” said Pavarotti.

A state-of-the-art 900-seat indoor theater and outdoor amphitheater will also have a garden.

“A beautifully, perfectly acoustically designed theatre,” said Ferrari.

It’ll be the first of its kind outside of Italy, and Naples Mayor Tersa Heitmann hopes it finds its home within city limits.

“Opera brings people together, it fills your soul and your spirit, and our community enjoys the art,” said Heitmann.

The current renderings for the art center were created with a 17-acre property on Bayshore Drive in mind. However, that location hasn’t been finalized.

Ferrari said the land is owned by Collier County, and the county has shown interest in the project.

Those interested in supporting the Development of the Theatre in the Garden or donating are encouraged to contact Robert Kovacevich, Development Director, at

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