GIUSEPPE PENNISI reports on the
gradual reopening of Italian summer festivals


Gradually and with great caution, in Italy summer festivals are reopening. The Rome Opera House, the Ravenna Festival, the Verona Arena Festival and other institutions have outlined programs that are being considered by the Ministry of Culture to ensure that they are consistent with health protocols. We will give you the details as soon as ready.

Two quite different festivals are paving the road: a very well-known international festival, the Rossini Opera Festival (ROF), and a festival known in Italy mainly at the regional level in Sicily but which has brought its performances abroad and that in 2017 was awarded by the International Opera Award: the Festival of the Coro Lirico Siciliano.

The 2020 ROF will be held from 8 to 20 August. A new production, La cambiale di matrimonio, will be offered at the Rossini Theatre on 8, 11, 13, 17 and 20 August. The orchestra will play in the auditorium and the audience will watch the show from the 99 boxes. The opera will be conducted by the tenor Dmitry Korchak, making his debut as conductor at the ROF, leading the Rossini Symphony Orchestra. The cast is Carlo Lepore as Tobia Mill, Dilyara Idrisova as Fanny, Davide Giusti as Edoardo Milfort, Iurii Samoilov as Slook, Alexander Utkin as Norton and Martiniana Antonie. Laurence Dale will be responsible for the stage direction and Gary McCann for sets and costumes. The opera is in co-production with the Royal Opera House in Muscat, where it will be staged in January 2021. Along with La cambiale di matrimonio, Rossini's cantata Giovanna d'Arco, performed by Marianna Pizzolato, will also be proposed. The show will be streamed and screened in Piazza del Popolo, in line with the tradition for the ROF's final evening.

A 2013 Rossini Opera Festival concert in the Piazza del Popolo
A 2013 Rossini Opera Festival concert in the Piazza del Popolo

After a history of major concerts - Marilyn Horne, Montserrat Caballé, June Anderson, Luciano Pavarotti - this year, Piazza del Popolo will be the venue for the opera I viaggio a Reims, scheduled for 12 and 15 August, in the production staged every year by Emilio Sagi as part of the activity of the Rossinian Academy 'Alberto Zedda'. The cast will be made up of ex-academicians who have already started an international career. Also in Piazza del Popolo, there will be six concerts held by some of the leading Rossinian performers of today: Olga Peretyatko on 9 August, Nicola Alaimo on 10 August, Jessica Pratt on 14 August, Juan Diego Flórez on 16 August, the trio of bassi buffi Alfonso Antoniozzi, Paolo Bordogna and Alessandro Corbelli on 18 August and Karine Deshayes on 19 August. The orchestra will be the Rossini Symphony Orchestra, led by young conductors such as Michele Spotti, Nikolas Naegele and Alessandro Bonato.

In a few years, the Coro Lirico Siciliano has established itself on the musical, theatrical, operatic and symphonic scene. Formed by artists from all over Sicily, it gives concerts, operas and other performances with great success, as judged by audiences and critics. It has also undertaken the intense work of research, enhancement and export of Sicilian music at both national and international levels, as well as rediscovering the most important Sicilian composers with the execution of lesser known or unpublished works. It has been awarded, among others, the Sicilian International Prize 'Il Paladino', the Belliniano Prize 2015, the Prize of the Academy of Fine Arts of Catania, the Ambassador of the Belcanto Award 2016 and in 2017 the International Opera Award. It has toured extensively in China and France. A feature of its festival is to operate in stone theaters - Taormina, Syracuse and Tindari, halfway between Messina and Palermo - very large Greco-Roman structures with excellent acoustics and where the necessary social distancing can be put in place.

Coro Lirico Siciliano. Photo © 2011 Domenick Gilberto
Coro Lirico Siciliano. Photo © 2011 Domenick Gilberto

This year in Taormina and Tindari, La traviata, Cavalleria Rusticana and several concerts will be performed.

Copyright © 17 May 2020 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy





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