Over 70 events and 1200 guest artists
from 2 June to 31 July plus the autumn programmes

The Ravenna Festival’s 32nd edition is a declaration of love that draws inspiration from the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death in Ravenna: for two months, from 2 June to 31 July, and with the autumn programmes, “Dedicated to Dante” features over 70 events, planets and satellites revolving around the sun of the Poet and his masterpiece but also following more eccentric orbits. After the May 9 preview with the Vienna Philharmonic, Riccardo Muti leads his Cherubini Orchestra on The Roads of Friendship to Yerevan for Tigran Mansurian’s Purgatorio, part of the triptych of new commissions that starts from Giovanni Sollima’s Inferno and reaches Valentin Silvestrov’s Paradiso in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe. Among the guest artists: Alessandra Ferri, Beatrice Rana, Accademia Bizantina, Kavakos, Dutoit, Daniil Trifonov, Capossela, Elio, Neri Marcorè. The Festival takes place in charming venues in Ravenna, Cervia, Russi, and Lugo – mainly under the stars – and confirms the choice of accessible pricing and streamed contents.

Also this year, Ravenna and its Festival are in the front line for the return to live music in Italy, on the one hand as the host of the two concerts opening the tour of the Vienna Philharmonic, performing for the first time before an audience in 2021; on the other, the summer programme opens on June 2, the Day of a Republic that can and must be founded on culture and music as well. In the dedication to Dante – whose life and work the Festival celebrates with new productions and commissions to composers, choreographers, and playwrights – the Festival fulfils its thematic, multi-genre, wandering nature, maybe because the great journey of the Commedia embraces all themes concerning the human experience.

This summer Riccardo Muti leads his Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra in other two concerts, one of them being the annual musical pilgrimage of The Roads of Friendship, returning to Yerevan after twenty years to rekindle a relationship that dates back to the Roman and Byzantine times when Ravenna boasted a thriving Armenian community. “The land of the screaming stones”, as poet Mandelstam described it, finds expression of its pained spirituality and musical tradition not only in the concert of the Naghash Ensemble and an Armenian mass but also in the commission to the most important composer of that borderland, Tigran Mansurian. The Rocca Brancaleone turns into an infernal citadel for Six études on Dante’s Inferno by Giovanni Sollima; at the composer-cellist’s side, the Cherubini Orchestra led by da Kristjan Järvi, the Choir of the Siena Cathedral “Guido Saracini”, and countertenor Raffaele Pe. O luce etterna, with which Valentin Silvestrov gives shape to the luminous evanescence of Paradiso, will be performed by the Kyiv Chamber Choir in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, shining with mosaics.
The summer programme opens with two premieres. The Festival is back in the Basilica of San Vitale with the chamber opera Teodora by Mauro Montalbetti, libretto and dramaturgy by Barbara Roganti; an itinerary through the existence of the Empress who is portrayed in mosaics in the Basilica. Alessandra Ferri celebrates 40 years of career in the role of Winnie, the aged ballet dancer Béjart imagined in 1998 for Carla Fracci: this re-staging of the Beckett-inspired L’heure exquise, a co-production with the Royal Ballet, will see Ferri buried in a heap of old pointe shoes. At her side, Carsten Jung (Hamburg Ballet), in the role which was Micha van Hoecke’s; Micha himself and Maina Gielgud, who was in the second cast, will instruct the performers.
The Basilica of S. Francesco, where the Poet’s funeral took place, hosts events dedicated to the music from the time of Dante or inspired by his poetry, including a talk by musicologist Piero Mioli. Some of the most important Italian early-music ensembles are featured – Odhecaton, La Fonte Musica, and Ensemble Micrologus – while the Vespers at S. Vitale have been turned into Dante Vespers, ranging from the troubadour tradition to new compositions, including a journey in the poetic bestiary of the Commedia, as narrated by Tiziano Scarpa.
The vastness of the poem and its ability to tackle the most diverse artistic languages is evident also in the projection of the masterpiece silent film Inferno (1911), with live music by Edison Studio and in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna; Flavio Caroli will focus on The paintings that shook the world after the time of Dante and Giotto. Another important premiere is the one featuring Arto Lindsay, a tribute to Carmelo Bene’s Lectura Dantis that in 1981, from the top of the Torre degli Asinelli, commemorated the Bologna massacre.

Orchestra variations

Together with the concerts led by Riccardo Muti – The Roads of Friendship and another evening with his Cherubini (featuring Beethoven’s Die Weihe des Hauses and Schubert’s “Great”), the symphonic section includes Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone for a Romantic programme of Mendelssohn and Schumann. While the Cherubini is led by Leōnidas Kavakos, also as a violin soloist with viola player Antoine Tamestit for Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante K. 364, the 50th anniversary of Stravinsky’s death inspire the programme featuring Charles Dutoit and the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. Roberto De Simone proposes an unexpected approach to Stravinsky’s legacy: in Les noces or Lo ‘Ngaudio, performed by Ars Ludi led by Marcello Panni, the vocal triumph is no longer in Russian but in the Gargano-area dialect.
Dante is not alone among the tributes paid by Festival, then; the events also celebrate musicians who, however belonging to different genres and epochs, have left an indelible mark. In the same manner, the stratified identity of the city is always close to the heart of the Festival, also with The Golden Pall of St. Mark by the Cappella Marciana, on the occasion of the 1600th anniversary of the foundation of Venice, in the very fortress the Venetians built in Ravenna.
The concert of La Stagione Armonica, conducted by Sergio Balestracci and the Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae performed by Odhecaton within In templo Domini, the series of liturgies in the basilicas, pay tribute to the French-Flemish composer Josquin Desprez for the 500th anniversary of his death. Among the guest vocal ensembles, also the Swingles and the Corsican A Filetta with Ensemble Conductus.
The Festival dedicates to Astor Piazzolla, together with an evening in Lugo, his “operita” Maria de Buenos Aires (directed by Carlos Branca, music direction by Jacopo Rivani, with Davide Vendramin’s bandoneon) and Romance del Diablo, featuring saxophonist Marco Albonetti and the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana.
Vinicio Capossela and the Orchestra Maderna led by Stefano Nanni perform Bestiario d’Amore, inspired by the 13th-century Li Bestiaires d’amours by Richard de Fournival, a bestiary worthy of Dante’s imagination.
For the only piano recital of this year, star player Daniil Trifonov chooses Prokofiev, Debussy, and Brahms. The chamber ensembles of the Cherubini perform in places in town and the surroundings for La musica senza barriere (The Music Without Barriers), which brings music to those who cannot get access to a theatre or a concert hall.

A dancing Festival

The dance programme which starts from L’heure exquise features the ebullient Don Juan created by Johan Inger for Aterballetto: the Swedish choreographer unleashes grace, invention, and irony to mediate on the myth forced to deal with gender equality and the end of machismo. Stravinsky’s Love, curated by Daniele Cipriani, brings on stage soloists Beatrice Rana, Massimo Spada, and Andrea Obiso together with ballet stars (Vladimir Derevianko as Stravinsky to introduce the pieces, Sergio Bernal, Ashley Bouder, Davide Dato, Simone Repele, Sasha Riva…), while the Progetto RIC.CI presents La rivolta degli oggetti by La Gaia Scienza, a 1976-work inspired by Mayakovsky and today entrusted to Fattore K., with Gianni Dessì’s set design. The Paradiso inspires the collaboration between gruppo nanou and Alfredo Pirri, who present the first draft of the choreography whose debut is scheduled for 2022.

The theatre, mirror of the world and the city

Since the pandemic has made it necessary to postpone the “public call” for the Commedia to 2022, Verso Paradiso is the stop before the conclusion of the theatre triptych by Marco Martinelli and Ermanna Montanari. Chiara Guidi of Societas Raffaello Sanzio presents Exercises for voice and cello on Dante’s Divina Commedia, while Chiara Muti and Elena Bucci delve into the map of lights drawn by the Poet in Lumina in tenebris.
Other featured plays are Sylvie e Bruno by Fanny e Alexander, loosely based on the novel of the same name by Lewis Carroll; Il defunto odiava i pettegolezzi by Menoventi, inspired by Serena Vitale’s work on Mayakovsky’s death, and Confini by ErosAntEros, an international co-production on the thorny issues of the European Union.

The Festival in Cervia-Milano Marittima

Also this year, Cervia-Milano Marittima hosts Il Trebbo in musica. The special series of events, combining music and words in the Arena dello Stadio dei Pini and Piazza Garibaldi, includes Dante-inspired events: from Aldo Cazzullo, the author of A riveder le stelle (Mondadori, 2020) on stage with Piero Pelù, to Neri Marcorè and the Orchestra Corelli giving voice to the female characters of Dante’s universe, to Convivio with Ambrogio Sparagna, Peppe Servillo, Mario Incudine, and the choir “Libere note” led by Catia Gori. This will also be the last stop of the Creative Caravan tackling The Dante’s Way from Florence to Ravenna.
Marco Belpoliti, the author of Pianura (Einaudi, 2021) talks about the landscape of this region, followed by a concert featuring Giovanni Lindo Ferretti and the CCCP e CSI iconic repertoire. Speaking of Italian singers-songwriters, Cervia also hosts Vi raccontiamo Lucio Dalla, by and with music critics Ernesto Assante and Gino Castaldo and the Stefano Di Battista Jazz Quartet; the story of the friendship between Fabrizio De André and Gigi Riva in Amici fragili by Federico Buffa; the tribute to Enzo Jannacci performed by Elio, another icon of the Milanese spirit and the most ingenious and enlightening humorous song.

The Festival in Lugo

In the Pavaglione in Lugo, the Quinteto Astor Piazzolla joins the Orchestra Filarmonica Salernitana G. Verdi for a tribute to Piazzolla for the 100th anniversary of his birth. Ennio Morricone is celebrated, one year after his death, by a concert featuring Tosca and the Roma Sinfonietta led by Paolo Silvestri. The Corelli Orchestra will be led by film score specialist Timothy Brock, who signs the music for the projection of Buster Keaton’s The General. With a talk and the projection of the film of the same name by Francesca Molteni and Mattia Colombo, Openings deals with architectural and immaterial thresholds.

The Festival in Russi

At Palazzo San Giacomo the Dante anniversary inspires a focus on the word, verse, and rhyme…and rap music, including a talk and a concert featuring Italian rapper Rancore preceded by genius loci Moder. Russi also hosts the tribute to the Italian Progressive Rock with Uno nel tutto, which reinvents the experience of the Progetto Uno (born from the meeting between two members of the disbanded Osanna with Vince Vallicelli) through the contribution of Enrico Gabrielli (Calibro 35) and Roberto Dell’Era and Stefano Pilla (Afterhours).

Autumn Trilogy

The Dante itinerary will culminate in the Autumn Trilogy – The Dance, The Music, The Word: this year Cristina Muti’s project comprises Metànoia (1-5 September) by and with Sergei Polunin; Faust rapsodia (1-3 October), that combines Schumann’s music and Goethe’s verses with the direction of Luca Micheletti and the musical direction of Antonio Greco; Dante’s brightest verses performed by Elio Germano (11-13 October) with Teho Teardo, directed by Simone Ferrari and Lulu Helbaek in Paradiso XXXIII. The solemn concert on 12 September concludes the national celebrations; after Ravenna, Riccardo Muti, the Cherubini Orchestra, and the Maggio Fiorentino Chorus perform also in Florence and Verona, thus joining the three Dante-cities through music.

It is possible to buy a maximum of 2 tickets per event, in consideration of the limited number of seats in compliance with the current social distancing regulations. The pre-sale service entails a 10% increase in the rates.
Also this year, the Festival protects the safety of the audience, artists, and staff, updating the rules applied in 2020 in compliance with Italy’s current regulations.

Ticket pre-sales (summer programme)
From Thu 13 to Sat 15 May
Reserved to the holders of the FONDAZIONE RAVENNA MANIFESTAZIONI 2020 vouchers, only by phone (+39 0544 249244) or from the Theatre box office, Mon-Sat 9-13 and 15-19.

From Mon 17 May
Multichannel pre-sales:

  • Alighieri Theatre box office ph. +39 0544 249244 (Mon-Sat 9-13 and 15-19 / from 30 May also Sundays and holidays 9-13)
  • www.ravennafestival.org
  • La Cassa di Ravenna Spa
  • IAT Ravenna Piazza San Francesco 7, ph. +39 0544 482838
  • IAT Ravenna Teodorico via delle Industrie 14, ph. +39 0544 451539
  • IAT Cervia via Evangelisti 4, ph. +39 0544 974400
  • IAT Milano Marittima piazzale Napoli 30, ph. +39 0544 993435

Ticket pre-sales (Autumn Trilogy)
From Monday 12 to Sunday 18 July
Metànoia and Faust rapsodia pre-sales reserved for those who bought a ticket for the same events in 2020, only by phone (+39 0544 249244) or from the Theatre box office.

From Monday 19 July
Multichannel pre-sales for the events of the Autumn Trilogy.