Παρασκευή, 21 Μαρτίου 2014

Ravenna Festival 2014

1990-2014: Celebrating 25 Years of Festival

On the evening of 1 July 1990 – nine o’clock had just struck when Riccardo Muti raised his baton on the podium of La Scala Theatre Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir, and Movement I, Adagio – Allegro spiritoso from Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 in C major, K. 425, known as the Linz Symphony, resounded within the ancient Venetian walls of the Brancaleone Fortress. This was the birth of the Ravenna Festival: an adagio building up into an inexorable crescendo that celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014. It is an important milestone for both the Festival and the city which hosts it and finds in it its most significant voice and expression. Ravenna is now at a crucial moment as a candidate city for European Capital of Culture 2019: after a pre-selection round with 21 applicants, Ravenna is one of the six short-listed cities. This result can be undoubtedly ascribed to the city’s varied and often unsuspected energy, but also to the Festival’s important contribution: with its 25 years of activity, it has transformed the former capital of the Western Roman Empire into the modern capital of music, dance and drama. Moving from the city’s ‘historical’ theatres, the Fortress and the more recent Pala Mauro De André, the Festival has gradually invaded the city, entering churches and other outstanding buildings and re-discovering several surprising new spaces which were often brought back to life and returned to public fruition (see for example the Sulphur Warehouse, the complex of St. Nicholas and the old target-shooting space at the City Dock, to name just a few). The Festival was recently extended to the rest of the year, well beyond the limits of the original summer months, with the brilliant idea of the ‘Autumn Trilogy’, whose formula quickly met with the favour of a large audience, local and international, contributing to a substantial increase in the flow of tourists and giving the city a new dimension as a ‘round-the-clock City of the Arts’. And think of the several topics the Festival has proposed, discussed and thoroughly examined: from the strictly musicological themes of the first glorious years (‘Around Rossini’, ‘Bellini and Wagner’) to more visionary themes that projected Ravenna - subject and object at one and the same time - into a new Mediterranean, oriental, apocalyptic, visionary or desolate landscape of the soul. And this is how we came to our new theme, centred on the memory of a fateful year marked by terrible events: 1914, the year that changed the world.

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