XX Festival Verdi – the last week

After bringing Macbeth & Ernani in concert form and Messa da Requiem to its public, the 20th edition of Festival Verdi arrived successfully to its final week, starting today, Friday, October 2nd, with the concert of Valery Gergiev & of the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna – a concert with a wide symphonic repertoire, which seems an homage to Italy and Russia!

M° Gergiev returns to Parma after 19 years since he conducted Messa da Requiem in Duomo with the occasion of the commemoration of the centenary of the death of Giuseppe Verdi. Tonight, at the podium of the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Valery Gergiev will have his debut at Teatro Regio di Parma with the Overture of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell (1829), Mendelssohn’s Italiana Symphony no.4 in A major, op.90 (1833), Sinfonia of Verdi’s La forza del destino (1862) and Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony in E minor, op. 64 (1888).

Exactly as the performances of Ernani, due to the uncertain weather conditions, the concert will take place at Teatro Regio di Parma instead of Parco Ducale, where it was initially scheduled. 

Another unique event follows on Sunday, October 3rd, this time having as the protagonists Qaurtetto Prometeo – Giulio Rovighi (Violin), Aldo Campagnari (Violin), Danusha Waskiewicz (Viola) and Francesco Dillon (Cello). In the program, Preludio (act 1) and Introduzione e coro di profughi scozzesi (act IV) of Verdi’s Macbeth (version 1847) in the transcription for string quartet by Angelo Mariani (1848), but also Invocazione di Ulrico, scene diverse e finale (act I) from Un ballo in maschera in the transcription for string quartet by Angeli Mariani (1862).

The star of the evening will certainly be Verdi’s String Quartet in E minor, written in the spring of 1873 during a production of Aida in Naples, the only surviving chamber music piece of Verdi’s catalogue. Speaking with Prof. Francesco Izzo, Direttore Scientifico of Festival Verdi, about this repertorial choice in an interview, he said:  «You know, when you do a Festival about an opera composer, of course, the operas are the centre pieces, but it is important to understand that the opera is part of a larger cultural web, that also includes other musical genres. A Festival like our own must also explore other aspects of Verdi’s creativity and of the world in which he functioned. So this year, one of the concerts we have planned includes the quartet by Verdi. In the second half of the 19th century, there is a developing interest in chamber music in Italy and Verdi is by no means the only one who writes a quartet. So, in the program that we are about to present we will put Verdi’s quartet in dialogue, to say so, with a quartet by Beethoven and with some transcriptions of Verdi’s works for strings quartet. In the 19th century it was quite common to have transcriptions of operatic favourites and make the performable by a variety of ensembles including the string quartet. This is an opportunity to explore this other side of Verdi’s musical world». Read the entire interview of Francesco Izzo here.

As a firm conclusion of the concert, Beethoven’s String Quartet no. 14 in C sharp minor, op. 131.

Commissioned by Festival Verdi in absolute premiere and realised by Società dei Concerti di Parma, the next two events will bring together Verdi’s music and his words.

 Letteralmente Verdi will take place on Wednesday, October 7th and will have as its protagonists Luigi Lo Cascio and Quartetto Leonardo – Fausto Cigarini (Violin), Sara Pastine (Violin), Salvatore Borelli (Viola) & Lorenzo Cosi (Cello). Based on Verdi’s letters on Macbeth, chosen by Giuseppe Martini and read by Luigi Lo Cascio, and the music of Verdi, 

Rigoletto – La notte della maledizione, commissioned by Festival Verdi and in a concept by and with Marco Baliani, in collaboration with I Filarmonici di Busseto – Simone Nicoletta (Clarinet), Giampaolo Bandini (Guitar), Cesare Chiacchiaretta (accordion), Antonio Mercurio (bass), Roger Catino (Percussion), will take place on Saturday, October 9th. 

As for the triumphant ending, unfortunately, the baritone Luca Salsi had to cancel his participation in Gala Verdian, the final event the 20th edition of Festival Verdi, which is meant to celebrate the 207th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi. 

«Dearest friends, I regret to tell you that I have been forced to stop for a while due to the sudden onset of agonising lower back pain and sciatica. The pain is excruciating, but I am in excellent hands and I have full trust in my doctors. I am devastated as a result of this to have to cancel my performance in Aida at La Scala from 6th October and the concert at the Teatro Regio in Parma for Verdi’s 207th birthday. I can’t wait to be in form and back on my feet, singing for all of you at the theatre! Thank you for your support and affection» announced Salsi on his official Facebook page on Wednesday, September 30th. 

«On 10th of October in Teatro Regio, as part of Festival Verdi, we usually have a gala concert, a special event, a celebration, because the 10th of October is traditionally Verdi’s birthday. I say traditionally because in reality we don’t know if he was born on October 9th or 10th, meaning before or after the midnight. The  point is the 10th of October is the day we celebrate it at Festival Verdi with a special concert, which each year takes a different form, a different character. In the past, we had gala concerts with a variety of singers accompanied by piano, also with actors, when Verdi’s letters were read alongside performances of his music, and last year we had Leo Nucci’s farewell concert here at Teatro Regio. Usually, the 10th of October is a date situated right in the middle of the Festival Verdi, but this year, because of the Covid-19 crises and because of all the changes that we have made to the programme, things were organised in order to schedule it as the last night of the Festival, so it will be even more special. It will bring closure to the entire Sparks of Opera edition», said Prof. Francesco Izzo, Direttore Scientifico of Festival Verdi.

With no doubt, Festival Verdi will promptly bring news on this event with such an important meaning for Teatro Regio di Parma and for its public. We are looking forward to being positively surprised!

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