Maggio Musicale Fiorentino presents the programme of the 85th Maggio Musicale Festival and the Mehta-Mozart Cycle

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INTERVIEW

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.

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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.

BIANCA L. NICA

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