GIUSEPPE PENNISI describes what looks like
being a busy musical summer in Rome


In the last few days, mostly through press conferences, the three major musical institutions in Rome - Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Roman Philharmonic Society - announced their programs for Summer 2020. This is an important re-opening, after months of lockdown, fully in line with regulations on social distancing and other public health measures.

Teatro dell'Opera will be the first European opera house with a fully fledged program. Operas, a ballet and concerts will be performed in the open air in the Circus Maximus, deemed more appropriate to the regulations than the usual Baths of Caracalla location. As the photo shows, work is proceeding busily to transform the Roman Circus into a summer opera house.

The Circus Maximum in Rome being equipped to become a Summer Opera House
The Circus Maximum in Rome being equipped to become a Summer Opera House

The program will start on 16 July and end on 12 August 2020. It will open with a fully staged new production of Rigoletto (with Daniele Gatti in the pit, stage direction by Damiano Michieletto with his creative team, and Luca Salsi, Rosa Freola and Iván Ayón Rivas in the three main roles). There will be concert perfomances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia (with Stefano Montanari in the pit and Davide Luciano. Giorgio Misseri and Chiara Amarù in the main roles) as well as of Die lustige Witwe - The Merry Widow, with Stefano Montanari in the pit and Nadja Mchantaf, Markus Werba, Hasmik Torosyan and Juan Francisco Gatell as protagonists).

The ballet features the world debut of Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons) on Vivaldi's music with choreography by Giuliano Peparini. It is, no doubt, an impervious task as well as a major challenge to dance a love story (as depicted in the libretto) and keep social distancing. We will see.

The Summer season will end with two gala concerts with Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov in arias and duets by Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Cilea, Giacomo Puccini, Mikhail Glinka, Antonín Dvořák, Pietro Mascagni and Umberto Giordano. The Teatro dell'Opera orchestra will be conducted by Jader Bignamini.

The Santa Cecilia Academy program will take place open air in the cavea of the institution, extending from 9 July until 25 September and featuring a homage to Ludwig van Beethoven. The music director of the Academy, Sir Antonio Pappano, will conduct all nine symphonies in five concerts. Other concerts will include a trip through Latin American music, Orff's Carmina Burana and a Mozart program. A dense schedule in September includes another full Beethoven program with Alexander Lonquich both as a conductor and as piano soloist, a Pappano concert of French symphonic music and a Pollini piano concert.

The Roman Philharmonic Society started its Summer program on 21 June, the international day of the music feast, with a double bill: in the morning two concerts to acquaint young children (age 0 to 3) with the world of music and in the evening the Trio Kanon in a Chopin program. Until 12 July, children's programs and chamber music will alternate. The 12 July concert includes two first performances by Marcello Panni and Lucio Gregoretti. The Sala Casella is quite small and strict social distancing rules will be applied.

A concert in Sala Casella. © 2015 Barbara Andolfi
A concert in Sala Casella. © 2015 Barbara Andolfi

After 12 July, there will be the usual international festival organized by the society in cooperation with embassies and foreign cultural institutes in the lush gardens. The details are being worked out.

Copyright © 25 June 2020 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy





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