The Artistic Direction - Ravenna Festival

The Artistic Direction

Franco Masotti

Artistic Director

Angelo Nicastro

Artistic Director

Was born and lives in Ravenna. After studying philosophy and composition in Florence, in the early 1980s he began to pursue the American ‘New Music’, particularly with visual arts and the use of new technologies. Together with his brother, Roberto, and Veniero Rizzardi, he organised the international exhibition entitled “Sonorità Prospettiche. Suono/Ambiente/Immagine” (Perspective Sounds. Sound/Environment/Images) (Rimini, 1982), the first analytical sampling of artists measuring themselves up with music.

Between the 1980s and 1990s he devoted himself to research in the field of computer graphics and founded Studio RKO Video together with Fabrizio Varesco and organised, together with Claudia Ricci, the first exhibition in Italy dedicated to digital images (“Computer image: International festival of digital images”, Rimini, 1987).

In 1982 he started working with the Aterforum festival in Ferrara whereby he organised monographic exhibitions on musical minimalism and on Cage, Kancheli, Pärt, Werner Herzog and music, Meredith Monk, Robert Ashley, etc.. He won the Abbiati Award for special projects for the exhibition-installation entitled “Glenn Gould in video” (1991).

He collaborated with magazines such as Scena, Alfabeta, CD Classica, Musica Viva, Auditorium, and Giornale della Musica. He edited, among other things, the copy of Letter to a stranger by J. Cage and My Music by P. Glass for Edizioni Socrates (Rome), and numerous twentieth-century and modern musical theatre voices in Dizionario dell’opera (Dictionary of Opera) published by Baldini & Castoldi.

Since 1998 he is co-Artistic Director of the Ravenna Festival, whereby he edited several special projects including the review “Transcaucasia”, dedicated to the music of Armenia and Georgia and “Un’Idea del Nord” (An Idea of the North), on the musical horizons of Baltic and Scandinavian countries. He is also responsible for organising the editions of the festival, particularly handling the catalogue-book published every year. He taught “History and aesthetics of twentieth-century artistic languages” at the Conservatory of Perugia.

Born and raised in Romagna, he obtained his classical A levels at the Dante Alighieri Lyceum of Ravenna, diploma in Viola at the Conservatory of Bologna, and graduated with a degree in Philosophy from the University of Bologna, with a thesis on musical education.

He carried out an in-depth study of the string quartet with prof. Enzo Porta improving his skills at the Fiesole Music School directed by Piero Farulli.

In 1983 he founded the Accademia Bizantina, to which he devoted himself as a musician, artistic director, and coordinator, quickly turning the academy into one of the most accredited Italian ensembles at an international level, and establishing close collaborations with great artists. A particularly intense collaboration was with composer Luciano Berio, who was also an honorary president of the Accademia.

Up until 1998 he organised a great number of concerts with the Accademia Bizantina, held during festivals and in important concert halls both in Italy and abroad in addition to numerous recordings for Denon, Frequenz, and Arts. In addition to his artistic endeavours he also taught Viola and String Quartet at the Istituti Musicali Parificati.

In 1998 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Ravenna Festival and of the Opera and Dance Seasons at the Alighieri Theatre in Ravenna, creating and developing several projects.
In particular, he coordinated the project on the “Scuola Napoletana” desired by Maestro Riccardo Muti, aimed at the rediscovery and promotion of eighteenth-century Neapolitan musical, operistic, and holy heritage. The outcome of the collaboration between Ravenna Festival and the Pfingstfestspiele of Salzburg, the project paved the way to numerous productions held in other major European theatres such as the Paris Opera and the Opera Real in Madrid.

He is regularly invited to judge international opera competitions, and holds seminars and masters for artistic training courses.

Since 2012 he is Artistic Director of the Fondazione Renata Tebaldi, which promotes the international opera competition named after the great soprano.

He collaborates with the Italian Opera Academy inaugurated by maestro Riccardo Muti in 2015.