Maggio Musicale Festival is 90 years old, but looks a little younger: 85! Reaching that this year, so many editions have been staged so far that have formed and enriched the prestigious history of Teatro del Maggio so closely linked to its Festival, which remains the central point of the theatre’s programming. Together with the two ‘new satellite festivals’, namely the Autumn Festival and the Carnival Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino makes Florence to all intents and purposes the ‘City of Festivals’. Two and a half months of programming with three operas and eight concerts, with a ‘coda’ in September and November to make up a ‘Mehta-Mozart cycle’.
The public will be offered four subscription formulas spread over the three rounds, A, B and Matinée: one season ticket for the five operas and eight concerts, one subscription only for the five operas, one only for the eight concerts, and one for the Mehta-Mozart cycle with the three operas of the Dapontian Trilogy.
Three operatic premieres, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Otello, both conducted by Zubin Mehta and the eagerly awaited Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Wagner conducted by Daniele Gatti, plus, to make up the Mozart cycle, the revivals of two other dapontian operas Le nozze di Figaro in September and Così fan tutte in November both conducted by Zubin Mehta for five operas in total. Eight symphonic concerts kick off the Festival on 22 April, conducted by Daniele Gatti, and seven more concerts, including the one on 10 May dedicated to the ‘Viva Verdi’ project put on the programme to contribute to the purchase, by the Ministry of Culture, of Villa Sant’Agata, Giuseppe Verdi’s house-museum, and an off programme on 17 June at the Visarno Arena with the Orchestra performing with The Who. In addition, an opera for children dedicated to Carmen and an international conference on Maria Callas.
The three directors called upon for the first three operas are David Pountney for Don Giovanni – on stage from 30 April to 12 May -, Valerio Binasco for Otello – on stage from 20 May to 3 June – and Damiano Michieletto for Meistersinger – on stage from 22 June to 7 July -. The singing companies field many great artists in the three casts, here mentioned only a few in the main roles: Luca Micheletti (Don Giovanni), Markus Werba (Leporello), Jessica Pratt (Donna Anna), Anastasia Bartoli (Donna Elvira), Ruzil Gatin (Don Ottavio), Benedetta Torre (Zerlina) in Don Giovanni; Fabio Sartori (Otello), Anastasia Bartoli (Desdemona), Luca Salsi (Jago), Joseph Dahdah (Cassio) in Otello; Michael Volle (Hans Sachs), Wilhelm Schwinghammer (Veit Pogner), Kirsten MacKinnon (Eva), Markus Werba (Sixtus Beckmesser), Klaus Florian Vogt (Walther von Stolzing), Maximilian Schmitt (David), Claudia Huckle (Magdalene) in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Don Giovanni programmed in the Festival is also part of the Mehta-Mozart cycle that presents the three operas by Daponti in their entirety with the first revival of Le nozze di Figaro – staged from September 21st to 30th – staged under the direction of Jonathan Miller (revived by Georg Rootering) and in the cast Bo Skovhus (Il Conte d’Almaviva), Mojca Erdmann (La Contessa), Francesca Pia Vitale (Susanna), Alessandro Luongo (Figaro), Giuseppina Bridelli (Cherubino) and then the more recent Così fan tutte – on stage from November 3rd to 12th – stage directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf (revived by Paolo Vettori) and starring Valentina Nafornita (Fiordiligi), Vasilisa Berzhanskaya (Dorabella), Matthew Swensen (Ferrando), Markus Werba (Guglielmo) Benedetta Torre (Despina) and Thomas Hampson (Don Alfonso).
The symphonic front with its 8 concerts will see the principal conductor Daniele Gatti on the podium on April 22nd with the opening concert, which will be followed by the concerts on May 10th and the closing concert on July 8th; then Zubin Mehta, the Maggio’s director emeritus for life, with the concerts on April 29th and May 25th; Myung-Whun Chung on May 5th, Andrés Orozco-Estrada on May 19th and Philippe Jordan on June 29th. The soloists working alongside the conductors are Julia Hagen with Orozco-Estrada, Andrea Lucchesini with Zubin Mehta on May 25th, Thomas Zehetmair with Philippe Jordan and Lilya Zilberstein with Daniele Gatti on July 8th.
On June 17th the extraordinary concert, in the true sense of the word, which will see the Orchestra del Maggio perform at the Visarno Arena in a concert with one of the historic British rock bands, The Who, in the only Italian leg of their tour The Who-Hits back! Tickets for this concert are available at Firenze Rocks.
To celebrate the inauguration of the Festival on Sunday April 23rd, 2023, the project ‘Ben venga il Maggio! Music in the city’ in collaboration with Anbima APS (National Association of Autonomous Italian Musical Bands). Florence will be ‘invaded’ by the music of Tuscan bands. The bands’ performances will be held in various squares in the city centre; at sunset the bands will gather in Piazza Vittorio Gui, in front of the Teatro del Maggio, for a pyrotechnic musical finale.
For performances for children, schools and families, the fruitful collaboration with Venti Lucenti continues, who with Manu Lalli will stage La Historia de Carmen, based on Carmen by George Bizet from June 1st to 7th in the Mehta Hall.
In May, an important international conference is scheduled, curated by Giancarlo Landini and Giovanni Vitali, focusing on the figure of one of the most famous and acclaimed artists of all time: the iconic Maria Callas. “La fiamma possente” (The Mighty Flame) is the title of the conference that will feature numerous personalities tracing the beginnings of the great soprano.
The operas and concerts of the Festival will be broadcast live or deferred by Rai Radio 3, continuing a historic collaboration with the national radio station that has lasted for over seventy years.
As usual, before each performance and each concert, the audience will be offered listening guides and presentations of the operas for the cycle “Prima le parole, poi la musica” (First words, then music).
All five operas will be staged on the stage of the Sala Grande. The opera for children will be staged in the Sala Mehta.
The collaboration of the Maggio with the Museo Novecento for the creation of the Festival’s emblematic poster continues. For the 1985 edition, the artwork that will graphically identify it has been entrusted to the artist Nico Vascellari.