The interview of the month

22 November 2023

Daniele Vimini, deputy mayor of Pesaro, has been president of the ROF since April 2018. How has the event changed over the years?

The ROF has its own glorious history, which has made it one of the leading music festivals at international level. In 2017, Superintendent Ernesto Palacio took over from ROF founder Gianfranco Mariotti (who had been in charge for 37 years) and followed his artistic line, facing moments of enormous general difficulty (the pandemic, international instability and ongoing conflicts) with a firm pulse and clear ideas. Throughout all this, the Festival has remained firmly on track, but has also been able to turn its gaze more towards new scenarios. Let me explain: until a few years ago, the main objective was to bring the world to the ROF, that is, to devote all our energies to attracting audiences to Pesaro thanks to the performances staged during the summer. Since 2018, starting with the Rossini150 initiatives (the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the composer's death), the ROF has launched a new series of activities (recitals, video projections, master classes, events, exhibitions, conferences) in the cultural institutes and Italian diplomatic missions around the world, spreading knowledge about Rossini, his music and the Festival that brings it back to the stage. In short, not only the world at the ROF, but also the ROF in the world".

Two aspects on which the Festival has worked a lot in recent years are the seasonal adjustment and the internationalisation of activities: what results have been achieved? "I will start with internationalisation, an aspect I already mentioned in the previous question. The results of the activity I mentioned are quite obvious: a growing awareness of the ROF throughout the world, even among less loyal audiences. And the creation of valuable relationships with cultural institutions of all kinds. To give just two recent examples, we have forged close links with Daegu and South Korea, and we are now preparing to return to Shanghai, where last year an exhibition on the Festival was held for three summer months in the Chinese megacity's metro, to sign an agreement with the Conservatoire. As for deseasonalisation, this is an objective that I have always considered a priority, both as President of the Festival and as Deputy Mayor, in order to strengthen the Festival's ties with the territory. The celebration of Rossini's non-birthday, in February, and the commemoration of his death, in November, are now fixed dates in the city's artistic programme and are entrusted first and foremost to the ROF. The Festival itself has decided to hold more activities in July, especially in the historical villages around Pesaro.

What role has the Festival played in the awards won by Pesaro in recent years (UNESCO Creative City for Music and Italian Capital of Culture 2024)? "Mayor Matteo Ricci always says that without the birth and international success of the Festival, the city would not have been able to achieve the prestigious goals it has in recent years. Both recognitions reward a city that has devoted a significant part of its investment to music and culture in general, and has reaped even greater economic and promotional benefits in return. The city hosts national and international events and is preparing to restore theatres that will make the historic centre even more lively and welcoming for all kinds of events. I am speaking here as Deputy Mayor, but as President of the ROF I cannot deny that the Festival's driving role, and also its ability to set quality standards of excellence that have a happy emulation effect in the city's other initiatives, has given and continues to give a strong boost to the growth of the entire cultural system in the area".

How do you imagine the Festival and the city at the end of the year 2024? "I imagine a Festival that has successfully passed its umpteenth test (the 2024 programme, in the year of Pesaro as capital, has tried to adapt to the exceptional nature of the historical moment experienced by the entire community) and a city that has been able to seize this enormous opportunity for growth, not only cultural and economic, but also civil and social. I imagine a community that has been able to unite and overcome the inevitable differences in the name of a civic pride that I hope will unite us all in the name of our city".