And there was evening and there was morning: by choosing the words that mark the passing of the days of Creation in the Book of Genesis as its title, the Ravenna Festival’s 35th edition aims to reflect on the effects of climate change on our planet, adopting sustainable processes for the live events, but also on the value of creativity as a resource for inclusive and multicultural communities. Riccardo Muti leads the Vienna Philharmonic for the opening concert on May 11, while – one year after the flooding in Romagna – the Festival brings free concerts to the affected areas. Guests of the summer programmes include Simon Rattle, Kirill Petrenko, Accademia Bizantina, Eleonora Abbagnato, Sergio Bernal, the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, the Philip Glass Ensemble, Giovanni Sollima, Mario Brunello, Paolo Fresu and Omar Sosa, Ian Bostridge, Hildur Guðnadóttir… Once again this year, the Festival boasts over one hundred performances and features more than a thousand artists, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Emilia-Romagna Region and the Municipality of Ravenna, the main partner Eni and the sponsors.

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Anima Mundi
The soul of the world is collapsing, as proved by the destruction of ecosystems, the depletion of resources, and climate change… The search for a new balance concerns live events as well. On four weekends between May and June, Romagna in fiore is a series of free events in the name of solidarity and sustainability, held in the areas affected by the flood in May 2023 and featuring Italian artists. While in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe Ottavio Dantone leads Accademia Bizantina in Haydn’s Creation, overflowing with wonder before the beauty of nature, the Qatsi Trilogy by Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass, presented with original music performed live by the Philip Glass Ensemble, is a look at the relationship between man and the world (and a Ravenna Festival production including a world premiere). The theme of global warming is close to the heart of Lo sciamano di ghiaccio (The Ice Shaman), a new work of multimedia theatre dedicated to the life of the Inuit. American singer ANOHNI with her band the Johnsons invites us to change our approach to social structures and relations within the biosphere.

Anima Hominis
In many religions, the deity is also the first artist, a creative force that shapes the world; such an experience is renewed on a scale with every art practice. The Classis Museum hosts the Call to the Arts, with which Cristina Mazzavillani Muti invites young people to engage in a variety of languages, under the artistic direction of Michele Marco Rossi and Anna Leonardi. Participation is also the keyword for the Aristophanes’ Pluto which Marco Martinelli brings back to life with teenagers from the Naples area, for the Grande Teatro di Lido Adriano with the Indian fables of Panchatantra, and for the Don Chisciotte ad ardere by Teatro delle Albe / Ravenna Teatro. Creativity and talent can also offer a chance to overcome obstacles and discrimination. With Nina, Fanny & Alexander celebrate African-American singer Nina Simone, while the Marian Consort performs works by Vicente Lusitano, probably the first published black composer in 17th-century Europe. The Festival’s multicultural programme includes She, Elle, Lei with Almar’a, the Mediterranean women’s orchestra, with Ginevra Di Marco and the BabelNova Orchestra; in Russi, the alternative country of Calexico and The Long Night of BalFolk to dance from the north to the south of Europe; at Villa Masini, The Music of the Soul featuring Albanian jazz artist Elina Duni and French-Syrian Naïssam Jalal and A piedi nudi sulla terra, an installation conceived by Elio Germano, with Folco Terzani’s words, classical Indian music and asram rituals.

Music, One and Many
After the opening concert at the head of the Vienna Philharmonic for Mozart’s Haffner Symphony and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, Riccardo Muti leads his Cherubini Orchestra in a tribute to Ferruccio Busoni, with clarinettist Simone Nicoletta, and in the Roads of Friendship concert for Giovanni Sollima’s Stabat Mater on verses by Filippo Arriva. In memory of those who have lost their life in the attempt to cross the Mediterranean, this year’s Friendship project includes Non dirmi che hai paura, a new performance about Somalian athlete Samia Yusuf Omar, also a victim of the tragedy of migrants. First-time guests Kirill Petrenko and Simon Rattle lead respectively the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, to celebrate Bruckner’s 200th anniversary, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe with mezzo Magdalena Kožená. The 16th-century Loggetta Lombardesca cloister hosts tenor Ian Bostridge for a tribute to Lord Byron, the Philharmonic Five of the Vienna Philharmonics, the Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet, and Michele Campanella with the Quartetto Indaco. Guest pianists include Filippo Gorini and David Fray, the latter performing with violinist Renaud Capuçon. Le Poème Harmonique presents the reconstruction of a 17th-century carnival featuring music, circus, and theatre, whereas La Stagione Armonica performs in both Orazio Vecchi’s Amfiparnaso and a tribute to Luigi Nono. First time in Ravenna for Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, Oscar winner for the score of Todd Philipps’ Joker; this is the second of three events held in the Pavaglione in Lugo, which also hosts acclaimed Sicilian duo Colapesce Dimartino with the Orchestra La Corelli, and an evening with John De Leo Jazzabilly Lovers, Rita Marcotulli and Enrico Rava. The Trebbo in musica 2.4 in Cervia includes Laura Morante‘s homage to Puccini, a talk with Pupi Avati, Margherita Vicario backed by La Corelli, Ethiopian music with Maqeda, Food featuring Paolo Fresu and Omar Sosa, a talk with Riccarda Casadei to celebrate Romagna mia, and the Orchestra 014 ‘s homage to film music composer Piero Piccioni.

And There Was Light: Music in the Basilicas
The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe hosts, in addition to the Creation with Accademia Bizantina, the Messa per Sant’Apollinare with the Cappella Marciana led by Marco Gemmani. The Basilica of San Vitale is the stunning backdrop for the concerts of the Marian Consort and the Irini Ensemble, the latter performing in a programme dedicated to the (failed) attempt to reunite the churches of East and West in the late 15th century. In the Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista, Dilexi composed by Danilo Comitini and dedicated to the Roman empress Galla Placidia makes its debut; in the same basilica, Porpora’s oratorio Il trionfo della Divina Giustizia ne’ tormenti e morte di Gesù Cristo, with the Ensemble Dolce Concento led by Nicola Valentini. The Sunday liturgies of In templo domini features Italian and foreign ensembles, while the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra hosts De Rerum Natura, a cycle of literary and musical digressions on the work of Lucretius.

A Festival that Dances
The Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon pays tribute to Merce Cunningham with Cunningham Forever (a diptych of Beach Birds and Biped), while Les étoiles gala curated by Daniele Cipriani features Eleonora Abbagnato, and Spanish dance star Serge Bernal presents SeR for the first time in Italy. Also premiering are Virgilio Sieni and Mario Brunello’s Un amico dedicated to Ezio Bosso, and redrum by gruppo nanou, a homage to Stephen King’s The Shining and Stanley Kubrick’s film. The RIC.CI Project curated by Marinella Guatterini tackles Fragili film / Solo agli specchi by Marianna Troise. The spaces of the Classis Museum will be inhabited by MicroDanze by Aterballetto, 6-7 minute dance performances.

The Theatre, a Mirror of the World
The Grande Teatro di Lido Adriano continues its journey through non-European literature with Panchatantra, a reinterpretation of traditional Indian fables with the involvement of dozens of young people and adults. Marco Martinelli’s four-year project to bring Aristophanes’ comedies back to life, commissioned by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, reaches its third year of life. Don Chisciotte ad ardere also continues with Marco Martinelli and Ermanna Montanari of Teatro delle Albe/Ravenna Teatro, with original music by Leda. In Nina by Fanny & Alexander, award-winning American soprano Claron McFadden inhabits the voice, successes and frailties of the African-American singer and activist Nina Simone. Music is also part of the dramaturgy in Stravinsky’s classic Histoire du soldat, brought to the stage by the Figli d’Arte Cuticchio, Mimmo Cuticchio and the soloists of the Cherubini Orchestra, as well as in the aforementioned Non dirmi che hai paura, which includes music by Peter Gabriel and Jill Gabriel, under licence from Real World Music Ltd. The show, based on the book by Giuseppe Catozzella, is directed by Laura Ruocco.


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