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XVI Emilia Romagna Festival

The 16th edition of the Emilia Romagna Festival, a one of a kind event, will once again be held in four areas - Bologna, Ferrara, Ravenna, and Forlì-Cesena – and more than twenty towns, presenting 41 events in two months of great music for a wide range of audiences and tastes.


Building bridges” is this year’s theme under the artistic direction of maestro Massimo Mercelli. Cultural bridges are more fundamental than ever and are an opportunity for dialogue and mutual understanding.


The program ranges from classical to contemporary events, from symphonies to chamber orchestras, from jazz to flamenco with forays into dance, prose and theater and is characterized by two main features: on one hand it looks at different areas and cultures around the world, in particular the Orient, on the other hand it is a continuation of past editions with its link to the great master of western music, Johann Sebastian Bach. Also important is the attention given to contemporary work by involving new generations, with commissions to known and lesser known composers, and programs with new repertoires and young artists.



The festival kicks off on Saturday, July 16 (at 9pm) at the Teatro Diego Fabbri in Forlì, with the Italian premiere of Confucius, a ballet produced by the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater, presented in collaboration with Festival Ljubljana and Mittelfest 2016. The oldest and most important Chinese theater of traditional dance and opera will bring one of their latest creations to Forlì, Confucius, based in the life and philosophy of this great thinker. A great show, with wonderful costumes, excellent choreography and 60 dancers on stage that will give “life to life ”.


Also the closing concert will look at the Orient with one of the best professional orchestras in China. On September 10 (at 9pm) in the scenographic Rocca Sforzesca in Imola, the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra (SSO) accompanied by two young but well known soloists, Yong Ma on the flute and Xi Chen on the violin, directed by Daye Lin, another rising star and winner of the 6th Sir Georg Solti international competition for conductors in Frankfurt, will perform a repertoire of music that will include the Italian premiere of the Chinese composer Zhenmin Xu.




This is the new project of Emilia Romagna Festival that plays with the name of the famous social network to offer an unusual mix between the epitome of modernity –social networks – and a world that is often seen by young people old fashioned and outdated: classical music. This project consists of four stops dedicated to the great German composer, whose music, beyond time and trends, continues to be fascinating and extremely moving. An invitation and at the same time a great occasion to listen to the works of someone who more than anyone else made their mark on western music from the 1700s to today. The first ensemble to take on Bach will be the Virtuosi Italiani directed by the first violin Alberto Martini along with the soprano Gemma Bertagnolli, considered to be one of the best Italian interpreters of baroque music (July 21 at 9pm, Imola, Chiesa di San Domenico). Instead taking on the whole Suites for solo cello, known as being among the most famous and virtuoso works ever written for cello, will be the two international stars with an incredible foreign career: the Frenchman Marc Coppey, first prize and special prize winner for the best interpretation of Bach at the Bach competition in Leipzig in 1988 (July 25 at 9pm, Bologna, Corte del Circolo Ufficiali dell’Esercito); and the Armenian Alexander Chaushian, award winner at the Čajkovskij competition in Moscow in 2002 (September 8 at 9pm, Bologna, Corte del Circolo Ufficiali dell’Esercito). Lastly in FaceBach, there is of course one of the most interesting contemporary interpreters of Bach, Ramin Bahrami who along with the famous flute player Massimo Mercelli will perform in Bach Sanssouci, a repertoire that includes the Sonata for flute and piano by Johann Sebastian Bach and his son Carl Philipp Emanuel (August 26 at 9pm, Forlì, Chiostro dei Musei San Domenico). On schedule is also a world premiere by Michael Nyman.


The orchestras and great international musicians


The 16th edition of ERF will welcome back Luis Bacalov, Oscar winner for the music of the movie "il Postino". This great pianist and composer, Argentinian by birth, Italian by adoption, has prepared a wonderful tango program for the festival that includes many Argentinian musicians such as Vicente Greco, Carlos Gardel, Angel Villoldo and the amazing Astor Piazzolla (July 22 at 9.30pm, Comacchio, Arena di Palazzo Bellini). This year this composer of many soundtracks for directors such as Pasolini, Damiani, Scola, Rosi and Fellini, will also receive the ERF Career Award, an award set up in 2010 to honor the great stars of the international artistic scene. And for this occasion, he will offer the public another amazing piano concert of famous Argentinian and Spanish tango pieces (August 17 at 9pm, Tredozio, Palazzo Fantini). Of particular interest are also the two concerts in which the prestigious Filarmonica Toscanini will perform, conducted by the young Englishman Alpesh Chauhan, a rising star among conductors, known internationally for the intensity with which he reveals the score to musicians and the audience (July 26 at 9pm, Castel San Pietro, Arena; and July 27 at 9pm, Forlì, Chiesa di San Giacomo). A journey into the wonderful world of baroque and romantic music is what will be offered by the trio of two Spanish trumpet players Vicente Campos and Rubén Simeó, and the Italian organ player Marialuisa Veneziano, the first female organ player to accompany papal mass since the time of Palestrina (July 31 at 9pm, Forlì, Chiesa di Ravaldino).


Thanks instead to the collaboration with Türksoy - International Organization of Turkic Culture, the international association dedicated to promoting the cultural traditions of countries speaking Turkic languages, arriving for the first time ever in Italy is the TÜRKSOY International Youth Chamber Orchestra conducted by the Kazakistan maestro Anvar Akbarov. Tthe orchestra that brings together the best young talents from Turkic speaking nations will perform in a program that mixes more traditional repertoires of great Western composers with lesser known works from the member states of TÜRKSOY (August 1 at 9pm, Forlì, Chiostro dei Musei di San Domenico). Saint Lawrence’s night will host the incredible Schwingungen Piano Trio with Sania Cheong on the violin, Sangeil Shin on the piano and Stefan Kropfitsch on the cello, an ensemble that for more than ten years has been enchanting audiences with their intense renditions, here they will take on a lineup of music by Glinka, Beethoven and Arenskij (August 10 at 9pm, Imola, Villa Torano). A tribute to the romantic period with songs by great authors, the Germans Schumann and Brahms and the French Cesar Franck, this concert by the refined chamber duo made up of Vittorio Ceccanti on the cello and Marco Vincenzi on the piano should not be missed (August 7 at 9pm, Bagnara di Romagna, Rocca). The magic of Baroque music will also be the focus of the event with the ensemble Terzo Suono, the famous instrumental group that brings together some of the best soloists of the Balkans that focus, when in a group, not only on loyalty to historic sources but also to the search for an expressivity that includes imagination, vivacity and elegance. The musical lineup includes Tartini, Telemann, Quantz and Amando Ivančić, among the most representative composers of 18th century Slovenia (August 23 at 9pm, Russi, Ex Chiesa in Albis).


The famous harpsichord player specialized in Bach Aina Kalnciema will be the star of two concerts dedicated to composers from the 17th and 18th centuries, with two Italian premières for harpsichord by two important Latvian composers Juris Karlsons and Peteris Vasks, the first in Imola (August 24 at 9pm, Chiostro del Palazzo Vescovile) and the second in memory of Don Tarciso Foresti in Tossignano together with the flute player Massimo Mercelli (August 25 at 9pm, Chiesa di San Girolamo). Tra l’anima e il cielo is the title of this concert with another great international artist as its star, the harp player Nicoletta Sanzin, winner of various national and international competitions and very active in Italy and abroad (September 7 at 7pm, Airport of Bologna, Marconi Business Lounge). Also of great interest is Chilingirian String Quartet that for more than four decades has enjoyed critical acclaim and has delighted audiences all over the world with their vibrant and virtuoso renditions of classic and contemporary chamber music, which will perform together with the Slovenian clarinet player of international fame Darko Brlek, in a music lineup that includes a quartet of Penderecki very rarely played (September 9 at 9pm, Forlì, Chiostro dei Musei di San Domenico).


Musica Pomposa

Emilia Romagna Festival will again go to Pomposa with a series of concerts in the millennium old Abbey which in its long history has hosted many performances by famous artists. The season opens with the very rare performance of Evangélion, a masterpiece by the great Florentine Jewish composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, the story of Jesus told by children in 28 pieces for recital voices and piano, a unique event that will be held in the abbey church. The great voice of Claudia Koll will perform some evangelic songs and Alessandro Marangoni will play a score that he recovered on the piano. These events are not intended to be a purely religious show, but it offers a message through this fascinating artistic journey, to create a bridge between Christians and Jews and reinforce the open dialogue with non believers (July 19 at 9pm).


Everything will be dedicated to tango and Argentinian music with Vuelvo al Sur, a tribute to the most representative Argentinian composers of the 1900s, from Ginastera to Piazzolla, interpreted by the Lumière Ensemble and the voice of Ruben Peloni with the tango performed by the well known Argentinian dancers Sebastian Romero and Claudia Sorgato (July 28 at 9pm). The famous Accademia Hermans will instead offer a tribute to Venetian baroque music with La Serenissima; a program of music dedicated to the undeniable geniuses of baroque such as Vivaldi, Albinoni and the Marcello brothers, but also to rare music such as the song by Giovanni Benedetto Platti, an illustrious Venetian musician, today not very well known, performed by Fabio Ceccarelli on the Western concert flute, Alessandra Montani on the cello and Fabio Ciofini on the harpsichord. (August 1 at 9pm).


Of particular interest is the original ERF production of the show In rima e senza: Bassani in musica, a tribute to the Ferrara writer Giorgio Bassani, on the hundredth anniversary of his birth, which will explore his poetry. Poetry and thoughts of this great author performed and experienced through the intense acting of two important actors, Enzo Vetrano and Stefano Randisi in the double role of poetic voice and critical reflection, accompanied by Davide Finotti, the Codigoro native who has returned after a long tour in the Far East, and the flute of Fulvio Fiorio with musical songs that have an emotional, thematic or even simply a visual connection with this author’s poems. (August 9 at 9pm). The last evening of Musica Pomposa will be dedicated to flamenco, its music and its dance: in Fantasias Flamencas, a great cello virtuoso, Ramon Jaffè, will reveal his two souls, classical and flamenco, interpreting songs that range from great classics by Marin Marais up to Cassado or songs by Jaffè himself, accompanied by Johannes Hoffmann Minera (flamenco), to which a famous flamenco dancer will perform, Miguelete (August 22 at 9pm).


Focus on voices

Once again for this edition there will be a date with bel canto with operas, operettas and prose. At the Hay Bale Arena in Cotignola, a lovely natural theater of great inspiration and a meeting place for artists, musicians and poets, there will be the Opera of Teo, Sigfrido and Canicia, a tribute concert to three Cotignola natives - Teo, Sigfrido and Canicia – who knew a lot about opera and often vehemently discussed it in the square and at bars. On stage will be the voices of Paola Cigna soprano and Daniela Pini mezzo soprano, accompanied by the oboe of Alessio Gentilini, the clarinet of Elisabetta Benericetti, and by the piano of Fabrizio Milani (July 17 at 9.30pm). With Violetta Valery, the camellia lady guests can hear an excerpt from the opera “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi, a selection of opera in a semi-scenic form with the singers Libera Granatiero (Violetta), Raffaele Pastore (Alfredo) and Eugenio Leggiadri Gallani (Giorgio Germont), the acting voice of Cristian Levantaci and the piano of Gabriella Orlando (September 3 at 9pm, Sasso Morelli, Villa La Babina).


First Prize! & Rising Stars


The generational exchange has always been a goal of ERF since its creation, and with the event First Prize! it is actively involved in promoting the best new talents from around the world. There are many young artists in this edition. Thanks to a stable and long collaboration (15 years) with the very prestigious First Prize of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, also this year the festival will host the winner, a quartet, in residence: the Zorá String Quartet, a true melting pot of components from Thailand, South Korea, Spain and China; winners of numerous competitions they will perform in Forlì on August 2, in Alfonsine on August 3, in Mordano on August 4 and in Faenza on August 5.


The other musicians hosted in the category First Prize! will be: Elya Levin, winner of the IV Severino-Gazzelloni International Flute Competition in 2015 (July 28 at 9pm, Castel Guelfo, Palazzo Comunale); the duo Beatriz Blanco (cello) and Federico Bosco (piano), first prize ex-aequo at the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition in 2015 (July 30 at 9pm, Varignana, Chiesa di San Lorenzo); Francesca Bonaita (violin), winner of the 19th musical festival of the best conservatory and music institution students in Italy (September 1 at 9pm, Riolo Terme, Rocca); the Magdus Duo with Bartek Dus on the saxophone and Magdalena Wojciechowska on the piano, winners of the second prize at the Salieri–Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition in 2014 (September 4 at 9pm, Borgo Tossignano, Sala Polivalente); and Elena Nefedova, first prize at the 5th Andrea Baldi international piano competition in 2015 (September 6 at 9pm, Castel San Pietro Terme, Chiostro del Convento dei Cappuccini).


Starting this year under the title “Rising Stars” the festival hopes to put some focus on very young musicians who are breaking out on the international scene, real rising stars. This year two young and extraordinary pianists, both winners of many competitions: the Russian pianist Sofia Vasheruk, winner at the age of 12 of, among others, the Special Prize at the Rubinstein Piano Competition in Moscow (July 29 at 9pm, Bologna, Corte del Circolo Ufficiali dell’Esercito) and the very young French pianist Nicolas Bourdoncle, 17 years old and already famous in France (August 31 at 9pm, Alfonsine, garden of the municipal library).


Enchanted places, magic of music


The Festival mixes the splendor of musical performances with special, intriguing places often unknown even to those who live nearby. Visitors will have the chance to participate in guided visits in places that are usually not open to the public and listen to quality concerts.


On July 20 on schedule is the guided tour of the Mulino Scodellino in Castel Bolognese, a windmill whose first foundations date back to the 14th century and that has now been restored, followed by the concert of the Nat Trio, which will perform a tribute to the great Nat King Cole. The following day, July 21, there will be the guided tour of the Church of San Domenico in Imola: a chance to rediscover it from a different point of view. This will be followed by the concert of the FaceBach project with the I Virtuosi Italiani. The next date is on July 27 at the Musei San Domenico in Forlì with a detailed guided tour followed by the concert of the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted by Alpesh Chauhan. Saturday, July 30 will then be the turn of the Church of San Lorenzo in Varignana, a great chance to get to know this little jewel along with the ancient crypt of the 9th century, followed by the concert of Duo Blanco-Bosco. The following Friday, August 5, the guided tour will be at the Museo Carlo Zauli in Faenza. The museum is dedicated to the famous Faenza ceramic artist and presents, besides a collection dedicated to him, a section of works created by contemporary potters. The museum will then be the setting for the concert of the Zorá String Quartet. The sixth date is on August 17 in Tredozio, at Palazzo Fantini, an enchanting structure where Tuscan baroque and liberty styles mix around extraordinary gardens, where the concert by Luis Bacalov will be held. The last event of the project “enchanted places, magic of music” will be on August 24 in Imola, with a guided tour of the Museo Diocesano del Palazzo Vescovile, which hosts a wide range of paintings, relics, sacred parchments, coins, crosses, icons, sculptures and illuminated manuscripts which range from the 11th to the 20th centuries. This will be followed by a concert by Ana Kalnciema.


As part of the events that combine the evenings with great music with discovering prized places in this area, but without a guided tour, do not forget the concert dedicated to Giulio Ruffini, a important painter from Ravenna of the second part of the last century and a regionally appreciated artist, at the Ruffini House in Mezzano, with the famous pianist Alessandro Marangoni playing the “Péchés de Veillesse” by Rossini (July 18 at 9.15pm); and the concert dedicated to Arcangelo Corelli in his home town, Maiano di Fusignano. On the stage of the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Pilaro, Fabrizio Longo will play his violin and Valeria Montanari the piano with a musical repertoire by Corelli, the Romagna man, but “Bolognese”, as he signed for years, and other authors from the Emilia Romagna baroque period (July 20 at 9pm).



Emilia Romagna Festival


Last modified Jul 04, 2016

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