The interview of the month

29 August 2023

The protagonist is Lorenzo Martinelli, Head of Stage Set Design.
Can you tell us about your professional experience before joining ROF?
I have practically no professional experience prior to ROF, in the sense that my adventure in the theatre began the same year I started ROF, in 2000. In 1999 I attended a theatre course in the municipality of Novafeltria, and at the end of the course there was an internship and... I did my internship at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, where I took part in the staging and then the performance of Strindberg's Il sogno, directed by Luca Ronconi.

What was your first contact with the Festival?
Shortly after my internship, the then technical director of the Festival, Mauro Brecciaroli, contacted me to take part in the ROF and I met Maestro Ronconi, who that year was staging La Cenerentola, one of the most beautiful operas in the Rossini repertoire in my opinion.That was my first contact with the Festival, in an edition that saw the emergence of Juan Diego Flórez as a star on the world opera scene, in a unique atmosphere, where the Festival was experienced entirely in the heart of the city. Several years have now passed since that distant year 2000, and in the meantime, having honed my experience and continued to work hard, I have become the Festival's Head Stage Hand, a role of great responsibility and prestige.

What is your favourite memory of your experience at the ROF?
It is now 24 years, or only 24 depending on your point of view, since my first Festival and I can assure you that the emotion on the evening of the premiere is always the same, when the orchestra tunes up before the Maestro enters the hall it is a unique, indescribable sensation and at the end of the symphony, when the curtain rises to reveal the stage to the applauding audience, the heart stops for a moment to contemplate these sensations.
Of course, in all these years there are so many memories that have filled my mind, starting with the many adventures I have had with my colleagues, the anecdotes linked to the various directors and masters who have made the history of the ROF, such as Maestro Pizzi, Maestro Ronconi, Maestro Vick, Maestro Martone, etc. etc. I don't think there is one memory more beautiful than another. In 2006, the first year of the Arena with two theatres in one... or Maestro Vick's Mosè in Egitto in 2011, but also the Il viaggio a Reims of the Accademia Rossiniana in Piazza del Popolo in a terrible year marked by Covid... all indelible memories that time can never erase.
Being a stagehand is a unique job, made up of dedication, hard work, passion, distance from loved ones and even loneliness... but it rewards you with emotions that can be found nowhere else in the world but on the stage... our only true home.