Any summing-up of the XXXIX Rossini Opera Festival must perforce start from reviewing a very special year, 2018, during which, as an inherent part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the death of Gioachino Rossini, the intense promotional activities undertaken by the Festival for many years now all over the world has been carried on, especially in Embassies, Consulates and in Italian Cultural Institutes.
Thanks to the collaboration with the Comitato per le Celebrazioni rossiniane and with the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, recitals, masterclasses, lectures and cycles of video projections have been held and will soon be held again in Jakarta, Crakow, Tirana, Valona, Pristina, Hanover, Nicosia, Strasbourg, Lima, Berlin, Wolfsburg, Astana, Amsterdam, Marseilles, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Riga, Sydney, Garmisch-Panterkirchen, Athens, and Kuala Lumpur. The high water mark of our promotional activity was realized with the presentation of the 2018 Festival programme in the UNESCO building in Paris last June.
Looking at some of the figures achieved by the event, we find our end-of-August estimates confirmed: the box office registered 18.260 ticket purchasers and an intake of 1.391.137 Euros, the highest figures in the history of the Festival. The percentage of foreigners attending is calculated as 67%, with no fewer than 45 nations represented, led by France, Germany, The United Kingdom, Japan, The USA, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain and Russia.
The number of younger members of the audiences has increased: 753 in the under-26 group, thanks to the special reductions such as the Biglietto Giovane [Young Folks’ Ticket] for the performances at the Adriatic Arena (30 Euros for the under-26, 1 Euro for the under-14 accompanied by an adult), the subscription Easy Rof for students of the G. Rossini Conservatory and the availability of a certain number of reduced-price tickets for all the Festival performances, thus anticipating the intentions of the recent ministerial directive encouraging the access of young people to opera.
However, the interest of the young towards the ROF is not only the result of our ticket-pricing policy: the seventh edition of Crescendo per Rossini, the didactic activity organized by the Festival within the entire scholastic circuit of the region, has involved 54 classes in 19 institutes (from Infants’ School to University) and a total of about 1.300 young people. Among these, more than 400 were present at the ante-dress rehearsal of Il barbiere di Siviglia on the 7th August.
Articles about the ROF have been published by journalists coming from 25 countries all over the world (not including Italy): Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Vatican City, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, England, Mexico, Peru, Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, the USA, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Venezuela.
The Rai-Radiotelevisione Italiana has been a constant support to the ROF. Thanks to our collaboration with Rai Cultura, a documentary has been made for the series In scena, which will be broadcast on Rai5 on Thursday 4th October at 9.15 p.m.
Furthermore, Rai5 dedicated to our Festival all its operatic programmes transmitted during the month of August, ending with Ricciardo e Zoraide, the inaugural opera of the 2018 Festival. Rai Radio3 broadcast live the first nights of the three principal operas in the repertoire (Ricciardo e Zoraide, Adina and Il barbiere di Siviglia, the two first also transmitted on the Euroradio circuit), as well as the concluding Petite messe solennelle.
The two performances of Il viaggio a Reims were broadcast live in streaming on the Festival website, on the YouTube channel and on the Rossini Opera Festival Facebook page, reaching a total of more than 18.000 viewers. A notable increase in interest in the ROF was shown on the principal social networks: in just the last three months our followers through Facebook and Instagram increased by 40% and 140% respectively.
The fortieth Rossini Opera Festival (11th – 23rd August 2019) will offer two new productions: Semiramide (conductor: Michele Mariotti; stage director: Graham Vick) and L’equivoco stravagante (conductor: Carlo Rizzi; stage directors: Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier). The programme also includes a revival of Demetrio e Polibio, staged n Pesaro in 2010 by Davide Livermore, conducted by Paolo Arrivabeni. As always, our programme will be completed by the Festival Giovane, which will present Il viaggio a Reims (and also Il viaggetto a Reims dedicated to children), as well as a varied series of concerts, lectures and different initiatives, with the addition of a special Gala Concert to celebrate the 40th edition of the Festival.