The XXXVIII edition of the Rossini Opera Festival, which will take place in Pesaro from the 10th to the 22ndAugust, was presented to the press this morning at the Rome offices of ENIT – the Agenzia nazionale del Turismo.
The programme of the event, the only international Festival dedicated to Gioachino Rossini, includes four operas and a rich diet of concerts, lectures and various initiatives.
The ROF 2017 will be inaugurated on the 10th August at the Adriatic Arena with the first performance of the critical edition of Le siège de Corinthe, conducted by Roberto Abbado and staged by Carlus Padrissa of the Catalan group La Fura dels Baus. Abbado will conduct the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale of the RAI, appearing for the first time in Pesaro, and the Chorus of the Teatro Ventidio Basso. The cast consists of Nino Machaidze and, all making their Pesaro débuts, Luca Pisaroni, John Irvin, Sergey Romanovsky and Carlo Cigni, who will be joined by Xabier Anduaga, Iurii Samoilov and Cecilia Molinari, all young talents formed in recent years at the Accademia Rossiniana.
The Adriatic Arena will also house Pier Luigi Pizzi’s 2002 production of La pietra del paragone, re-elaborated to fit the new stage. Daniele Rustioni will conduct the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale of the RAI and the Chorus of the Teatro Ventidio Basso. The singers include Gianluca Margheri and William Corrò, both appearing at the ROF for the first time, as well as such ex-pupils of the Accademia Rossiniana, now well-known and experienced artists, as Aya Wakizono, Aurora Faggioli, Marina Monzò, Maxim Mironov, Davide Luciano and Paolo Bordogna.
The third opera on the bill, Torvaldo e Dorliska, will be given at the Teatro Rossini, a revival of the successful 2006 staging by Mario Martone. Francesco Lanzillotta will conduct the Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini and the M. Agostini Chorus from the Teatro della Fortuna. The title roles will be sung by Dmitry Korchak and Salome Jicia, supported by Nicola Alaimo, Carlo Lepore, Raffaella Lupinacci and Filippo Fontana.
The last opera on the bill, at the Teatro Rossini, is Il viaggio a Reims, sung by pupils of the Accademia Rossiniana “Alberto Zedda”; Michele Spotti will conduct the Filarmonica G. Rossini. The rest of the programme will include several concerts (Luca Pisaroni; Margarita Gritskova; John Irvin, Sergey Romanovsky and Michael Spyres; Ildar Abdrazakov; Rossinimania), lectures and various other events. The Festival will close on the 22ndAugust with the Stabat Mater at the Teatro Rossini (with Daniele Rustioni conducting the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale of the RAI and the Chorus of the Teatro Ventidio Basso, with Salome Jicia, Enkelejda Shkoza, Dmitry Korchak and Erwin Schrott as soloists), which will be transmitted live in video in Piazza del Popolo.
At the Press Conference, which was preceded by a video tribute dedicated to Alberto Zedda, lately Artistic Director of the ROF and Director of the Accademia Rossiniana, Gianni Bastianelli, Executive Director of ENIT, took the chair: “The image of Italy is indissolubly tied to music, to opera, to our immense spiritual heritage. Italian opera is known all the world over and it is identified with the genius, the passion, “the art of living” and the cultural identity of our country.
Among its objectives, ENIT has that of reinforcing and promoting abroad, in a tourist key, the offer of festivals of music and live performance, even beyond the borders of the USA, Canada, Japan, Northern and Central Europe, where these are already appreciated. We have achieved this by reaching an agreement of collaboration with Agis, Federculture and Italia Festival, and confirm this firmly today by supporting the Rossini Opera Festival; ambassador of culture, art and beauty to Italy and to the world.”
The turn now came of the General Administrator of the ROF, Gianfranco Mariotti: “The special features of our Festival are the strictest attention to musicological accuracy and the widest welcome to theatrical expression. This year’s Festival will lean heavily on stage direction. The operas in the repertoire cover the entire range of Rossini’s production, passing from the serious genre (Le siège de Corinthe) to the semi-serious (Torvaldo e Dorliska) and arriving at the opera buffa (La pietra del paragone). The same formula will be repeated in 2018 when we shall propose Ricciardo e Zoraide (new production), Adina (new production) and Il barbiere di Siviglia (a revival of Luca Ronconi’s 2005 production). The Festival is named after Alberto Zedda, as is the Accademia Rossiniana. Furthermore, the closing performance, the Stabat Mater, will be preceded by the Religious Prelude from the Petite messe solennelle, orchestrated by Zedda himself.”
Ernesto Palacio, Artistic Director of the ROF, then added: “The operas in the repertoire have only been heard twice at the Festival. Le siège de Corinthe will be offered in the new critical edition, with a lot of previously unpublished music, edited by Damien Colas. La pietra del paragone will also be given in a new version, revised according to the critical edition to be published by the Fondazione Rossini. Altogether no fewer than 14 of the singers come from the Accademia Rossiniana and 11 will be making their first appearances at the Festival. Also making their débuts are La Fura dels Baus with Carlus Padrissa and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale of the RAI, as from this year the main orchestra of the Rossini Opera Festival. As for 2018, the bill foresees 3 new productions: Ricciardo e Zoraide will be sung by Juan Diego Flórz and Pretty Yende, conducted by Giacomo Sagripanti and directed by Marshall Pynkoski, making his first appearance at the Festival; Adina will be conducted by Diego Matheuz and produced by Rosetta Cucchi; Il viaggio a Reims in the version by Babilonia Teatri. There will also be a revival of Ronconi’s Barbiere di Siviglia.”
Oriano Giovanelli, President of the Fondazione Rossini, declared for his part: “We are happy to carry on this work of re-discovering Rossini’s music together with the Rossini Opera Festival. This year of 2017 has been a very delicate one for the Foundation because of the loss of both Alberto Zedda and Philip Gossett, two columns of international musicology who have been fundamental in the history of the Foundation. This year we have organized an international conference with 18 participants coming from 16 international universities. The 2017 ROF is offering the new critical edition of Le siège de Corinthe and the reappraisal of La pietra del paragone, besides a new series of listening guides to the operas on the bill.”
Carlus Padrissa, director of Le siège de Corinthe, explained the basic idea of his production: “Le siège de Corinthe centres on the theme of war. A constant theme in the history of man which in the production is concentrated into the war for water. Water symbolizes life, and lack of water is therefore lack of life. The lack of life forces peoples to make war against one another. Motives for the outbreak of war might differ: power, religion, money. The production will be placed outside the limits of any particular time so that it might represent the eternal nature of the conflicts dividing humanity. This is the first time we have produced a Rossini opera, even though the Fura is as old as the ROF, and it has been made possible thanks to our long familiarity with Maestro Zedda at Valencia. We come from electronic music, but we have found a common rhythm in Rossini.”
Francesco Lanzillotta, conductor of Torvaldo e Dorliska, stated:” To perform Rossini in Pesaro is not the same as performing him anywhere else, it is a special emotion. Torvaldo is a rare opera but I do not understand why, given its enormous musical value and the presence of some truly splendid musical numbers. The story is of French origin and its theme is rebellion against tyranny. Another interesting aspect of this opera is the semi-serious genre, and the character of the Duke, whose fundamental nobility and lack of grotesque features are made plain by the music.”
The meeting was closed by the Mayor of Pesaro, Matteo Ricci, President of the ROF: “Our thanks to ENIT whose hospitality we have enjoyed and with whom we are currently enjoying a fundamental partnership to advance our project of spreading Rossini on a planetary level, in this very year in which we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of his death. The ROF has shown that Italian quality and beauty are the best visiting card for our country abroad. A special law is under consideration for the Rossini celebrations that would inaugurate a four-year cycle in which the story of our country will be told to the world by 4 witnesses, beginning with Rossini (2019 Leonardo Da Vinci; 2020 Raphael; 2021 Dante). The presence at the ROFof the national symphony orchestra of the RAI seals the partnership with the state broadcasting unit, the media partner of the Rossini Celebrations Committee.”
The meeting also featured comments by Paola Carrubba, Sovrintendente of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI; Maestro Michele Antonelli of the Filarmonica Gioachino Rossini, and Domenico Fagnano of the Intesa Sanpaolo bank.