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Festival delle Nazioni

Festival of Nations 2020

The post-romantic music of Rachmaninov, the symbolism of Skrjabin and Medtner, the modernism of Prokof'ev. These are just some of the musical proposals of the fifty-third Festival of Nations. This year, the festival is a tribute to Russia, which will take place in Città di Castello and in the Upper Tiber Valley from 22 to 29 August. A high-level calendar of events, albeit limited to a week (with eight shows spread over as many days plus different collateral events) in full compliance with anti-Covid regulations.

This year's edition – signed by the artistic director Aldo Sisillo –  will take into consideration the period of the so-called “silver age” of Russia which includes about thirty years between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These are formidable years characterised by the cultural and artistic ferments that occurred in Russia, as well as in the rest of Europe, where the preconditions for the great tragedy of the First World War seethed, putting an end to the nineteenth-century political order.

One of the most popular pianists of his generation – Dmitry Shishkin – will inaugurate the festival on Saturday 22 August at 9.00 pm in the Illuminati Theatre. The artist will immediately immerse us in the sounds and musical styles that will characterize this edition of the Festival, performing the Scherzo à la russe Op. 1 by Tchaikovsky, a selection of Forgotten Motifs by Nicolai Medtner, the Sonata No. 7 in B-flat major Op. 83 by Prokof’ev, the Sonata No. 2 in G-sharp minor Op. 19 Sonate-Fantaisie by Skrjabin and the Sonata No. 2 in E-flat minor Op. 36 by Rachmaninov.

A special project will then see the execution of the famous Peter and the Wolf by Prokof'ev: the popular fairy tale for narrator and orchestra will be told by the popular actor Silvio Orlando and combined with the Saint-Saëns Animal Carnival along with the musical performance of the Gioachino Rossini Philharmonic of Pesaro conducted by the young Alicia Galli (On Sunday 23 August at 9.00 pm at the Illuminati Theater).

“Un cuore irrequieto batte” (lit. a restless heart beats) is the eloquent title of the lyric recital that will see the soprano Maria Komarova and the pianist Svetlana Makedon as protagonists. It is a concert of Russian opera arias that will offer exciting pages by Rachmaninov, Cezar 'Kjui, Anton Arenskij, with excerpts from the works of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta and Rimsky-Korsakov's Snow Maiden (On Monday 24 August at 6.00 pm and 9.00 pm at the Illuminati Theatre).

There is great expectation for the return of the Quartetto Werther to Città di Castello, it is the winning band of the Alberto Burri 2019 National Competition. For the second consecutive year, the winning team of the competition of Città di Castello has also won the prestigious Piero Farulli Award as part of the Franco Abbiati Music Critics Award and, as usual, the band will return to perform in the Umbrian town as part of the main programme of the Festival of Nations. 

Il quartetto, composto da Misia Iannoni Sebastianini al violino, Martina Santarone alla viola, Vladimir Bogdanović al violoncello e Antonino Fiumara al pianoforte, eseguirà in particolare il Quartetto in la minore (dal Quartettsatz di Gustav Mahler) di Alfred Schnittke, il Quartetto per pianoforte e archi di Aaron Copland e il Quartetto per pianoforte e archi in do minore op. 60 n. 3 – denominato Werther – di Johannes Brahms (martedì 25 agosto alle 21.00, a San Giustino nel Cortile del Castello Bufalini).

The quartet is composed of Misia Iannoni Sebastianini on violin, Martina Santarone on viola, Vladimir Bogdanović on cello and Antonino Fiumara on piano and it will perform in particular the Quartet in A minor (from Gustav Mahler's Quartettsatz) by Alfred Schnittke, the Quartet for piano and strings by Aaron Copland and the Quartet for piano and strings in C minor Op. 60 No. 3 - called Werther - by Johannes Brahms (On Tuesday 25 August at 9.00 pm, in the courtyard of the Bufalini Castle in San Giustino).

As usual, the Festival of Nations will not forget to pay homage to the music giants of all time by celebrating the most significant anniversaries. This year it will be the turn of Ludwig van Beethoven for the 250th anniversary of his birth that will be celebrated in 2020. An original concert will be dedicated to the great Bonn musician: “… e nel salottino di Beethoven apparve un oboe!” (lit. …and in Beethoven's sitting room an oboe appeared!) during which the oboist Omar Zoboli and the fortepianist Giorgio Cerasoli will perform original rarities and transcriptions of music by Beethoven and composers 'close' to him such as Donizetti and Widerkehr (Wednesday 26 August at 6.00 pm in Citerna, in the Church of San Francesco).

Through the story of Luigi Ferrari and the musical examples performed by the pianist Costanza Principe, light will be shed on a composer still too little known in Italy and who instead deserves a much higher consideration for his production, which ranges between symbolism and late romanticism, not without romantic and great cantability 'a la Chopin'. Motivi dimenticati, Nikolai Medtner 1880 -1951 (lit. Forgotten motifs, Nikolai Medtner 1880 -1951) is the title of the musical conference which will also include the presentation of the literary success Triade minor (Ponte alle Grazie, 2018) of which it is author the same Ferrari (Thursday 27 August at 18.00 at Palazzo Vitelli alla Cannoniera).

Strengthened by the success of the last edition, the collaboration with the Associazione Culturale Laboratori Permanenti di Sansepolcro continues in the production of a musical theatre show. This year's work is entitled “Realtà, sogno e delirio nella letteratura russa” (lit. Reality, dream and delirium in Russian literature). This is an artistic project based on texts by various Russian authors - from Mayakovsky to Charms, from Višneveckaja to Tarkovskij, from Pushkin to Teffi and Tsvetaeva - elaborated by Caterina Casini with the first-ever music commissioned by the Festival of Nations to Daniele Furlati, a composer particularly well-versed in music for theatre and cinema (Friday 28 August at 9.00 pm in Sansepolcro, in the courtyard of the Teatro della Misericordia).

The duo composed of the young star of Russian violinism Kirill Troussov and pianist Alexandra Troussova will close the 53rd edition of the Festival of Nations. These two brothers will propose a varied programme that will ranges between the languages of Tchaikovsky and Schnittke up to the famous Sonata in D Major  by Prokof'ev. Kirill Troussov's violin deserves a special mention. It is the famous Stradivarius 'Brodsky', on which Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto was performed for the first time (Saturday 29 August at 9.00 pm, in the Illuminati Theatre).

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