From Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 June, a long weekend of concerts in the city’s venues

Amidst silk and spices, amber from the Baltic and ivory from India, along the trade routes of the Byzantine Empire travelled also a musical treasure: the Byzantine lyre, which, together with the Arab rebab, wrote the first pages of the history of stringed instruments in Europe. Nothing could be more natural, therefore, than that today Byzantine Ravenna turns into the capital city of the cello: from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 June, Ravenna Festival hosts the 100 Cellos led by Giovanni Sollima and Enrico Melozzi. The map of Celloland consists of theatres, cloisters, and basilicas, and is populated by masters of the bow, such as Mario Brunello and Massimo Polidori, and young virtuosi. Who, in four days of events, put their instruments to the test by tackling rough terrains, dizzying heights, and incandescent mixtures: from a ‘river concert’ on whose waves they navigate straight into the heart of the night to the morning and evening Disarming Concerts, from improvisations on sacred themes under skies of mosaics to the great final concert in the sign of Prog-Rock with an extraordinary ally, the legendary PFM – Premiata Forneria Marconi. The events have been made possible thanks to the support of Coop Alleanza 3.0. 

> Discover all the events

Why Ravenna? ‘For many reasons,’ explains Giovanni Sollima, ‘because we feel Ravenna’s love for music, because we share it, because the city has an incredible human dimension. For those who carry this instrument, an instrument that immediately makes a group because of its great ductility and that can interpret a very wide range of sounds, Ravenna is the ideal destination’. Six years have passed since the first adventure of Celloland in the city (and ten since the birth of the 100 Cellos in Rome, in the occupied Teatro Valle), but ‘Celloland has remained in the hearts of all those who participated in the past,’ says Enrico Melozzi, who shares the artistic direction of the project with Sollima, ‘and we are grateful to the Festival for allowing us to return to a city that has managed to enhance our ideas, a city so culturally alive to be a source of pride for Italy and Europe’.

The Disarming Concerts that will take place every day at 11 am and 7 pm, always in the National Museum with one exception, are a musical message in favour of global disarmament. Ambassadors for this are artists with luminous careers such as Mario Brunello, who will take up the piccolo cello (17 June, at 7 pm), and Massimo Polidori, first cello in the La Scala Orchestra, who will alternate with four young performers–Lysander Francescatti, Christian Barraco, Francesco Angelico and Gabriele Melone–in a musical relay race (17 June, at 11 am). But opening the Disarming Concerts series is Valentina Irlando, a young girl whose love of music defies the limits to which a rare muscular disease forces her. She is accompanied by pianist Yulia Moseychuk, and the morning is crowned by a solo performance by Alice Mirabella (16 June, at 11 am).

And more: Riccardo Giovine, first cello of the 100 Cellos, with Rosamaria Macaluso at the piano (16 June, at 7 pm); the ‘family’ duo of GuerzonCellos, father and son capable of offering surprising arrangements of jazz and rock songs as well as original compositions (19 June, at 11 am); the Ensemble Filo Barocco, within which Carlo Maria Paulesu’s cello meets Maria Luisa Montano’s flutes, Francesco Facchini’s violin and Marco Baronchelli’s lute (19 June, at 7 pm). The roll-call of the Disarming Concerts cannot miss the architects of Cellolandia: for the occasion, Giovanni Sollima will be joined by Carlotta Maestrini (18 June, at 11 am), while the Orchestra Notturna Clandestina created by Enrico Melozzi is expected at the Teatro Alighieri (18 June, at 7 pm).

And the nights? One more surprising than the other. The crowning glory of the first day will be the Concerto fiume (‘River Concert’) at the Alighieri Theatre: we start playing at 9 pm and continue one performance after the other, to stay up late in great company. Because, as the subtitle of the event suggests, How sad is prudence! On Friday 17, at 9.30 pm, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe will welcome Enrico Melozzi and Giovanni Sollima for Improvisations on sacred themes. The last appointment of Celloland, on Sunday 19, is at 9 pm at the Pala De André: with Let’s Prog! the powerful rock and classical elements of PFM – Premiata Forneria Marconi, half a century after their first album Storia di un minuto, will be launched into orbit propelled by the 100 Cellos.

Info and presales: +39 0544 249244 –
Tickets: 5 Euro for the Disarming concerts, 12 Euro (reduced rate 10 Euro) for Il concerto fiume, from 18 to 25 Euro (reduced rates from 15 to 20 Euro) in Sant’Apollinare in Classe, 25 Euro (reduced rate 20 Euro) for Let’s Prog at the Pala.