This year's edition of MITO SettembreMusica, which drew to a close on 19 September 2020, was definitely different to all other previous editions of the festival. The two host cities, Milan and Turin, both hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, came bouncing back, united in the name of great music. In terms of the numbers of concerts and attendance, it was a different festival altogether, with respect to previous years. But beyond the numbers, it marked a crucial step in our collective will to overcome the most hideous of obstacles, as never before. Yet there were many bright spots. Amazingly, 63% of all this year's performances were sold out. Seating was greatly reduced, but still, that's an important sign - that many more people would have liked to attend. A fact not to be taken lightly, considering the dictates of social distancing. But people did come out to enjoy the performances, and share in the unmistakable pleasures that live music affords, as ticket sales in both host cities attest to, with total admissions of 18,450. Lest we forget our fans who had the chance to enjoy many of those concerts via radio. Like never before, RAI, MITO's main media partner, lent its support to the festival, with live broadcasts of fifteen concerts on Radio3. Highlights from this year's edition, our fourteenth year, have been included in a documentary produced by Rai Cultura, entitled MITO 2020: Musica e Spiriti, broadcasted on Rai5.
The festival's artistic director, Nicola Campogrande, had this to say: 'Up until a few months ago, a festival like this would have been impossible to imagine. No full orchestras, no artists from outside Italy, reduced seating at venues, social distancing among performers, constant disinfection of the few venues available. But it was the gratitude on the part of our audiences that made it all worthwhile. Day after day, people's trust grew. The musicians gave it their all, in terms of passion and intensity. It all added up, making this year's edition of MITO a truly unforgettable one. The pandemic could not put a damper on people's yearning for live music. I like to think that this incredible edition of MITO is a sign, a positive sign, for the world of music as a whole.'
Anna Gastel, president of MITO, put it this way: 'All things considered, the outcome of this year's festival struck a positive note. The pandemic posed a slew of limits. Even so, the host cities cast their lots and won. The work done by the people at Fondazione per la Cultura di Torino and I Pomeriggi in Milan paid off, and made MITO SettembreMusica 2020 possible, in record time, featuring an all-Italian lineup of musicians. I'd also like to point out that, despite all the difficulties involved in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, our longtime sponsors continued their tried and true support, testimony to their commitment and belief that culture - with a capital C - is an indispensable part of our lives. Audiences reveled; their enthusiasm grew as MITO 2020 unfolded with performances the likes of which we may never see again. This year's theme, 'Spirits', proved to be especially appropriate, and touched upon a wide array of musical nuances and expressions.'
Francesca Leon, City of Turin councilwoman in charge of cultural affairs: 'For the city and for all the musicians involved, MITO SettembreMusica has always been the start of a new season. This year, we hope that it represents a new beginning, one that brings us back to making music, to listening to music. On the administrative level, we placed all our bets on the continuation of this festival, despite reduced capacity as far as attendance was concerned. The focus on Turin and its venues was especially important, a way to give people a message of hope. And the response from audiences provided all the positive feedback we were in need of.'
Filippo Del Corno, City of Milan councilman in charge of cultural affairs: 'What an extraordinary edition of MITO SettembreMusica this was. As preparations got underway, the COVID-19 emergency took hold. But despite all the difficulties, the festival materialized with a program featuring an all-Italian cast, which was absolutely beautiful. Thanks go out to artistic director Nicola Campogrande and all the musicians that performed for us.'
This year's all-Italian edition of the festival featured 460 musicians who, after months of lockdown, could hardly wait to return to the stage and perform live. They gave it their all to do their part to kickstart the reopening, inasmuch as these artists have been particularly penalized by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, this showcase was their first chance to get back into the groove following a long, drawn out period of inactivity. The festival's highlights included performances by the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra of Milan, conducted by Daniele Rustioni, featuring violinist Francesca Dego; performances by cellists extraordinaire Giovanni Sollima, Enrico Dindo and Mario Brunello; pianists Benedetto Lupo, Emanuele Arciuli, Filippo Gamba, Davide Cabassi, Filippo Gorini, and the duo comprised of Bruno Canino and Antonio Ballista; I Pomeriggi Musicali, led by Alessandro Cadario, featuring flutist Andrea Oliva and clarinettist Alessandro Carbonare; the Rai National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michele Mariotti; Giardino Armonico, featuring Giovanni Antonini; the dance performance 'TOCCARE, the White Dance'; the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring violist Sergio Lamberto and pianist Andrea Lucchesini; and the Teatro Regio Orchestra of Turin conducted by Sesto Quatrini, featuring pianist Giuseppe Albanese.
To relive special moments from MITO SettembreMusica 2020, head to our posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr, where you'll find pictures and videos of this year's concerts, along with interviews of many of the musicians that took part.
MITO SettembreMusica, which is funded by the Italian Ministry for Culture, Arts and Tourism, is a project realized by Fondazione per la Cultura Torino and the Milan-based I Pomeriggi Musicali. Additional funding is provided by the two host cities, Milan and Turin, along with funding from our indispensable partner Intesa Sanpaolo, behind us from the first edition of MITO SettembreMusica. Support also comes from Compagnia di San Paolo, and sponsors Iren, Pirelli, Fondazione Fiera Milano and Fondazione CRT.
Rai is Main Media Partner of the Festival (Rai Cultura, Rai5 and Rai Radio3); media partners are La Stampa and Swiss Radio-TV (Rete Due).
Posted 28 September 2020 by Laura Tori