The Story - Ravenna Festival

The Story

Timeline

2017

The noise of time

The noise of time

Paying a tribute to the October Revolution, a century later, means delving into its extraordinary energies, which expressed a deep yearning for Modernity, as well as into the searing disappointments and horrors that followed. It means to collect what remains beyond “the noise of time” – a title shared by Julian Barnes’s novel dedicated to Shostakovich and Osip Mandelstam’s prose. Between musical and artistic revolutions, the explosive vitality of Dante has been amplified in Inferno, with the open call to the citizens curated by Teatro delle Albe; while the new productions of the Autumn Trilogy have reached “the verge of the 20th century”,  shedding new light on the Italian Realism: Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, and Tosca. A dream comes true: the Roads of Friendship lead to Tehran, again with Riccardo Muti, again under the sign of the infallible common language of music

2016

Ho camminato sulla lunga strada per la libertà

Ho camminato sulla lunga strada per la libertà

Nelson Mandela is at the heart of the route leading to the conquest of freedom, a precious and fundamental right. Hence “Mandela Trilogy” by Cape Town Opera, bringing the South African music tradition on stage. But the longing for freedom strongly transpires from the overwhelming passion of the 100 Cellos as well: led by Giovanni Sollima, they invade the city, drawing the audience to myriad concerts and performances. And, inevitably, to the daily appointments dedicated to “Young artists for Dante”, a few steps away from the Poet’s Tomb, and to the “Vespers at San Vitale”. Then, from the most active Hungarian theatres, a Danubian trilogy pays homage to the operetta: the freedom of lightness.

2015

L’Amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle

L’Amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle

A truly Dantesque “journey” winded along new creations, entrusted to composers like Adriano Guarnieri, with the video opera L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle, and Nicola Piovani with La vita nuova, sung on a recital by Elio Germano, soprano and small orchestra. But the musical theatre was protagonist with the great Italian opera tradition as well: it was to Verdi’s last masterpiece, Falstaff, that Riccardo Muti dedicated his first Italian Opera Academy.

2014

1914: l’anno che ha cambiato il mondo

1914: l’anno che ha cambiato il mondo

The L’elisir d’amore and La Bohème were staged not in a theatre but…among the tables of a restaurant, in the irreverent and revolutionary interpretation of the young British company OperaUpClose.
Many events were held to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of World War I, culminating in the concert held at the foot of the Redipuglia memorial monument, a symbol of the pain and memory. The musicians of the nations that suffered the most were led by Riccardo Muti’s baton.

2013

Alchimie popolari “Una balera ai giardini”

Alchimie popolari “Una balera ai giardini”

The acrobatic illusionism of Momix was performed with the world premiere of Alchemy. Then Romagna’s folk dances held the stage, with those waltzes, polkas, and mazurcas born in the farmyards of our countryside. The music could be heard everywhere, from the “balera” in the park in a whirlwind of a “polka day”, then passing over to Strauss’s noble Viennese dances, but also to Trovesi and Coscia’s jazz and the estranging sound of Simone Zanchini’s accordion, coming together at last for a festive tribute to Secondo Casadei.
The collection of musicians was enhanced by the performance of one of the greatest cellists of our times: Yo-Yo Ma.

2012

Nobilissima Visione

Nobilissima Visione

Grand opening with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, on the podium of this extraordinary American group their musical director: Riccardo Muti. But, commemorating Romualdo of Ravenna, the festival’s theme covered the most remote spiritual paths of monasticism, and for an entire week the city was “invaded” by a small community of Tibetan monks from the ancient monastery of Drepung Loseling, and filled with the suggestive sounds of the mandala ritual. And the Roads of Friendship turned into a touching “Brotherhood Concert”, whereby different religious expressions came together.
The first of the Autumn Trilogy was reserved for Verdi: on stage, evening after everning, Traviata, Trovatore and Rigoletto, directed by Cristina Muti.

2011

Fabula in Festival

Once upon a time… fairy tales took shape and came to life in the exciting and grim Cinderella by Matthew Bourne, and then in the explosive and joyful Impempe Yomlingo, Mozart’s Magic Flute turned into a musical and imbued with the rhythmic physicality of an orchestra of African marimbas. The Roads of Friendship arrived in Africa, at the Ururu Park of Nairobi.
Meanwhile Kent Nagano, Zubin Mehta and Claudio Abbado returned to the podium.

2010

Ex tenebris ad lucem

Tenebrae, video-scenic cantata for recorded voices, ensemble, and live electronics, marked a new commission for composer Adriano Guarnieri (the first had been in 2007 with Pietra di diaspro) directed by Cristina Muti: bold experimentation of the visual and auditory space. But the visionary streak emerged also in Demons, Dostoyevsky’s masterpiece staged by Peter Stein: an unforgettable eleven-hour show.
The first “trekking concert” was created as well, a pathway among pinetrees and glades, archaeology and nature filled with songs, music, and dance.

2009

…lâ ilahâ illâ… Quando ti sento arrivare il mio cuore danza, le mie braccia si aprono

Dance and theatre became prayer and ritual in the name of the Sufi mystic poet in Robert Wilson’s new piece, Rumi. In The Blink of the Eye, and through the absolute mastery of the body of Buddhist monks from the Shaolin Temple, guided in Sutra by choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. And with the Basilica of San Vitale as a background, different religions intertwined in the charm of Voices in prayer, sounds and songs mixed in with thoughts and words by Massimo Cacciari. An exceptional duo for a grand finale: the prophet of funk, Herbie Hancock, and the most prodigious piano talent of the new generation, Lang Lang.

2008

Erranti, erotiche, eretiche

Wandering, erotic, heretical… the female figure is evoked in all artistic expressions: from the most beloved operatic repertoire, Traviata (directed by Cristina Muti Mazzavillani), to the most superb étoiles of our time, Sylvie Guillaum and Svetlana Zacharova; from “portraits of women” including those outlined by Elena Bucci (the insane hunger of knowing by Juana de la Cruz), and by Ermanna Montanari (the proud Rosvita), to the imaginative encounter between Norma and Medea.
One of the most performed musicals in the world, Cats, thrilled the entire audience at the Palafiera of Forlì.

2007

La pietra di diaspro “quando il cielo si squarcerà'”

The collaboration with the Salzburg Whitsun Festival was launched, a five-year project to rediscover the “Neapolitan School”. Under the direction of Muti masterpieces which had been forgotten for centuries were once again heard in the beautiful library of the conservatory in San Pietro a Majella, starting with Il ritorno di Don Calandrino (The Return of Don Calandrino) by Domenico Cimarosa.
And for the first time choreographer Matthew Bourne, with Swan Lake, chose Ravenna as the exclusive stage for his exciting productions.

2006

Mozart? Mozart!

The edition dedicated to Mozart opened with one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, the New York Philharmonic: two concerts, on the podium Lorin Maazel and Riccardo Muti. And among the “soloists” who took part in this edition there was the most acute and “intellectual” of pianists, Alfred Brendel, with the pure energetic talent of dancer Roberto Bolle. But, as usual, the “classical” dimension is not enough to describe the Festival: Eugenio Barba, transcultural pioneer, examined the theatre archetypes of all time – Don Giovanni and Hamlet.

2005

Il deserto cresce…viaggio tra simbolismo e utopia

The voice of the muezzin echoed among the stones of the majestic Roman amphitheatre of El Djem, Tunisia, and Riccardo Muti lowered his baton, letting the religious call die down before returning to direct the Mephistopheles: “moments like this – he would later state – transcend different religions and cultures”, and underline the true meaning of the Roads to Friendship.
For the first time the “resident” orchestra, the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, perfomed at the Festival.

2004

Illuminazioni sulla via di Damasco

Philip Glass, together with musicians from five continents, took inspiration from the stars of Orion, the constellation visible all year round from every part of the planet. And the Festival’s vocation of embracing different cultures and artistic forms took shape in La Galigo by Robert Wilson: the ancient Indonesian poem tells the story of the creation of the earth and the divine mystery was mirrored by the magic of colours and hieratic gesture of sixty extraordinary performers.

2003

Ravenna visionaria “pellegrina e straniera”

A truly “Saison Russe” was on stage: the innovation of the Russian theatre, Helikon, and of its founder Dmitry Bertman invaded the Alighieri, with four works – from Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Queen of Spades to the sensual Lady Macbeth in the Mtsensk District of Šostakovič, from the funny eclecticism of Stravinskiy’s Mavra to the timbric virtuosity of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Kashchey the Deathless. And Russian is also the Festival’s dancing heart with the Kirov Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

2002

New York: 11 settembre

In New York’s wounded heart, on the edge of Ground Zero, where the blind terror struck every human certainty, in an absolute and unnatural silence, the notes of Verdi’s Va ‘pensiero resonated: Riccardo Muti led the Chorus of La Scala, the Musicians of Europe United, professors of leading European orchestras, and many members of the New York Philharmonic.
The Roads of Friendships arrived in the States as well, but one of the most emblematic American voices arrived in Ravenna, Bob Dylan.

2001

Dalla via dell’ambra alla via della seta… in compagnia del grande bardo

The infinite expressive resources of opera were staged with the transgressive interpretation by Eimuntas Nekrošius (Otello) and with the virtual technology of Cristina Mazzavillani Muti’s first directorial experimentations (Capulets and Montagues). Pierre Boulez was back as well, while James Levine and Jeffrey Tate took the stage in Ravenna for the first time.

2000

Cantastorie, gitani e trovatori

The new millennium Festival opened with a huge party: bright lights and amazing fireworks lit up the city, sounds and traditions of Romagna intertwined with southern ones, far into the night. This paved the way to a multi-faced programme: from Paisiello’s masterpiece, Nina o sia la pazza per amore, with Muti conducting on the podium of the La Scala complex, to Lou Reed’s memorable concert.

1999

I pellegrinaggi della Fede anno III Verso Gerusalemme

With Pagliacci, Riccardo Muti completed the “verismo” diptych that he had begun a couple of years before with Cavalleria Rusticana. The same extraordinary creative team set the stage with Liliana Cavani as director, Oscar award-winning Gabriella Pescucci, and Dante Ferretti for costumes and scenery. But the Festival also moved toward renewed spirituality, along an unprecedented “via dei canti” (song pathways), from the perfection of the Hilliard Ensemble to the mysterious sounds of the baganna, the Ethiopian harp…searching for the “genius vocis”.

1998

I pellegrinaggi della Fede, anno II Donna Mater, voci erranti del mondo

With Pagliacci, Riccardo Muti completed the “verismo” diptych that he had begun a couple of years before with Cavalleria Rusticana. The same extraordinary creative team set the stage with Liliana Cavani as director, Oscar award-winning Gabriella Pescucci, and Dante Ferretti for costumes and scenery. But the Festival also moved toward renewed spirituality, along an unprecedented “via dei canti” (song pathways), from the perfection of the Hilliard Ensemble to the mysterious sounds of the baganna, the Ethiopian harp…searching for the “genius vocis”.

1997

“La via dei Romei” I Pellegrinaggi della Fede

At night, on a military plane, Riccardo Muti and the Orchestra of La Scala flew over the Adriatic, crossing over to Sarajevo, the Bosnian city wounded by the war, scattered with smouldering rubble and debris, calling for help and asking to be listened to. Thus Le Vie dell’Amicizia (The Roads to Friendship) were created, “bridges of brotherhood” casted every year to unite peoples and cultures through the power of music. That strength that emanated from the unique and unmistakable gesture of Carlos Kleiber, in one of his rare and precious concerts.