Sunday 9 May the Alighieri Theatre reopen to the public for two concerts at 5 pm and 8 pm
presales from 30 April, 9 am

“We’re still here and we believe in the message of music,” said Riccardo Muti when conducting the New Year’s Concert in the empty Musikverein. Five months later, the Maestro and the Vienna Philharmonic come together before an audience for the first time this year: it happens in the small great city of Ravenna, the first destination of the Wiener tour which will then reach Florence and Milan. Sunday 9 May two concerts, each for 250 people, will reopen the doors of the Alighieri Theatre for the preview of the Ravenna Festival’s 32nd edition. Both musical programmes feature Mendelssohn’s Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, but the concert at 5 pm will be completed by Schumann’s Symphony no. 4, the one at 8 pm by Brahms’s Symphony no. 2. The event is made possible by the support of Eni, at the Festival’s side as the main partner also for this new edition, whose programme will be announced Saturday 8 May, the day before the concert in the Alighieri Theatre. After all, in the year when the Festival will be dedicated to Dante, Muti will be the one at the head of his Cherubini Orchestra and the Maggio Fiorentino Chorus for the solemn concert (Ravenna, 12 September) ending the national celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death; the concert will be performed also in Florence and Verona to join the three “cities of Dante” through music. 

Also this year, Ravenna and its Festival are at the forefront for the return to live music in Italy, this time paying homage to a tradition that has seen the Wiener Philharmoniker among the most frequent foreign guest orchestras – as always led by Muti, of course, in the name of that deep connection which binds the Italian conductor to the Austrian musicians, a friendship born in 1971 and strengthened through fifty years of concerts in Vienna and Salzburg, tours around the world and records. The first participation of the Wiener to the Festival dates back to 1992 for the third edition; over the year, the Philharmonic has enriched the Festival’s programmes with unforgettable events, such as the Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy.

It is hard not to look for a message in the choice of the Overture Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage), even though Mendelssohn, in this Op. 27 composed in 1828, does not illustrate Goethe’s diptych from which he draws inspiration but rather creates his own musical world, independent from the poem. However, the cantabile but static violin theme opening Calm Sea evokes the immovable sea weighed down by an enigmatic and dreadful silence; followed, in the second part, by the luminous promise of a destination that grows closer. But, beyond the possible sympathies with the common feelings of these hard months, the two programmes – one completed by Robert Schumann’s Symphony no. 4 in D minor Op. 120 and the other by Johannes Brahms’s Symphony no. 2 in D major Op. 73 – are most importantly a tribute to Vienna and its history, which is also the history of the Western music, a unique heritage which finally returns to stage.

The solemn concert on September 12 marks the end of a journey all around Dante that began in Ravenna last September, in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella; a feat generously shared with the sister-cities Florence and Verona that – on 13 and 15 September respectively – will host the same concert. Thus Muti, ambassador of the “Bel Paese” for his consistent commitment to the protection and promotion of Italy’s cultural and musical heritage around the world, will bear the message of love for Dante and his work.

Tickets from 40 to 130 Euro (presales from Friday, 30 April):
• Alighieri Theatre Ticket Office, Mon-Sat 9-13 (only by appointment or by phone +39 0544 249244)
• online
• IAT tourist info-point in Ravenna and Cervia
• La Cassa di Ravenna Spa (all branches)
The presale service entails a 10% increase in the rates.