Anna Maria Meo: Will and determination to fight and demonstrate one’s worth is the key.

We are honored to have the General Manager of the Fondazione Teatro Regio di Parma and Artistic Director of Festival Verdi, dottoressa Anna Maria Meo on the cover of our 8th issue. About the previous and the next edition of Festival Verdi, about the difficulties that the theaters and the artists struggle with during the Covid-19 pandemic situation, but also about the creative project implied by Teatro Regio di Parma and many other interesting subjects, in the interview you are about to enjoy!

Born in Crotone, Anna Maria Meo has lived in Florence for over thirty years, where she accomplished university studies in History of Music, mentored by Paolo Fabbri and Ludovico Zorzi, graduating in 1985 at the University of Siena, with a thesis on music management in Italy with reference to the Law 800 “Nuovo ordinamento degli enti lirici e delle attività musicali” (“Opera houses and musical activities new ordering”), under the supervision of Luciano Alberti, who spotted his interest in the managerial aspects of Italian musical and theatrical systems. Such topics formed the core of her subsequent two years of professional training, at the Specialization Course for Music Organizers at the Centro di Didattica e Sperimentazione Musicale in Fiesole, followed by a one-year internship period at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and a paid Internship at the Royal Opera House – Covent Garden in London, where she carried out a comparative research on the management of two among the major European opera houses. Since January 2015, Anna Maria Meo is the General Manager of the Fondazione Teatro Regio di Parma and Artistic Director of Festival Verdi. From 2018, Board Member and then, since 2019, Vice President of Opera Europa. 

We are honoured to have you on the cover of our 8th issue and I want also to thank you for being so kind to allow us to have an entire issue dedicated to the 20th edition of Festival Verdi, charmingly entitled Sparks of Opera, and to collaborate with an institution with such an impressive cultural heritage such as the Teatro Regio di Parma!
Since this interview takes place only a few days after the publication of the report of this year’s edition of Festival Verdi, I would like to start our conversation exactly from this subject… What are the biggest difficulties, but also the biggest satisfactions that managing to continue the tradition of the Festival, even in these hard times, brought you, as the General Manager of Teatro Regio di Parma and as the Artistic Director of Festival Verdi?

Managing a wonderful theatre such as the Teatro Regio di Parma, and its Festival Verdi, is an ever-growing challenge. This year, besides our classical core issues and mission-driven goals, such as innovating – both in terms of titles, by rediscovering historical scores and versions, commissioning and working on new critical editions and of featuring new formats – constructing the conditions to attract top possible casts, orchestras and ensembles, gathering the best crew to produce all sorts of materials and technical supports in time and improving our digital infrastructure, we had to deal with an unpredicted yet devastating event such as the Covid-19 pandemic. This was an all-encompassing challenge we had no choice to decline: moreover, we had to decide in very short time and in a very early stage how to respond to the paradigm shift such dramatic situation implied. And of course we decided to go through any difficulty to answer the calling, facing our social responsibility, as owed to the audience, artists, workers, institutions and sponsors who have always supported us, shielding the assets we so hardly worked to construct from the very beginnings of my mandate, first of all our reputation and, furthermore, seizing the opportunity that lies in every crisis to take our project a step further: we created new venues, such as the open air theatre at Parco Ducale, with its astonishing digital acoustics chamber, we projected and implemented an innovative, covid-compliant venue into the Regio, installing innovative protection devices into the hall to regain capacity, up to 600 spectators, we produced and broadcast both on tv and in streaming our top shows taking another step further in our digital agenda. We aso took the opportunity to welcome to Parma top rate artists, such as Ludovic Tézier and Anita Rachvelishvili to name a few – whose full schedules wouldn’t necessarily have allowed them to land in Parma in normal conditions.

Read the entire interview here, in the 8th issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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