Passions & Places

Rossini Opera Festival

Pesaro Città della Musica Pesaro





Rossini Opera Festival

Pesaro: a Town of Music
Pesaro Città della Musica

Province of Pesaro Urbino

Le Marche

Pesaro citta della Musica (Pesaro, a town of Music) is a great metaphor. Like a prestigious concert hall, the Pesaro region plays host to a multitude of musical events: the Pesaro Rossini Opera Festival, the Musicae Amoeni loci Festival di musica antica (Old Music), set in the hills and castles of the area, the opera season at the Teatro della Fortuna in Fano and Fano Jazz. Like a range of different instruments, the musical events of the region together create a lively and stimulating concerto, that satisfies the tastes of a large and varied audience.

The etymology of the word concerto is widely debated in musicological circles; some believe it derives from the Latin concertare, which can be translated as ‘to fight’ to compete’; others instead maintain that it comes from the word concernere, which means to deliberate; another possible source is the term concentus in the sense of an arrangement of voices which experts suggest was later linked analogously to the term consertus, which means ‘weaving’. The third, latter hypothesis perfectly captures the cultural spirit to which the musical events of the region conform: a catalogue of initiatives whose entirety is greater than the sum of its parts. A general atmosphere of respect and enthusiasm for music, an atmosphere nurtured since 1869, when the town of Pesaro inherited Gioacino Rossini’s substantial fortune and was able, using this money, to open up a musical Conservatoire and establish the Fondazione Rossini (Rossini Foundation), dedicated to his memory. In 1904 the composer’s house, Casa Rossini, was declared a national monument and became a museum. Alongside these Rossini initiatives, the Accademia Internazionale di canto is also based in Pesaro, an association dedicated to Renata Tebaldi and Mario Del Monaco, which aims to promote the diffusion of musical and artistic culture through courses and classes, debates and discussion, competitions and events.

The work behind the Rossini Opera Festival, which takes place in mid-August every year in Pesaro is fuelled by the notions of Romanticism. Founded in 1980 and decidated exclusively to Gioachino Rossini, this international opera festival aims to rediscover, stage and re-examine the composer’s musical legacy: like a group of cultural, artistic, musicological explorers, equipped with expertise and enthusiasm, the people behind the festival embark on a journey back in time to redicover forgotten Rossini masterpieces, from opera works to chamber music, supported in their research by the Accademia Rossiniana. Musicians, musicologists and theatre technicians all work in parallel in an atmosphere of study and research, in order to make available to the public a type of theatre based on an expressive code which many recognise as being very different to contemporary ones. Thanks to the Rossini Opera Festival, many Rossini masterpieces, such as La donna del lago (The lady of the lake), Edipo a Colono or Armida have regained popularity and are now staged at theatres all over the world. Il viaggio a Reims for example, a legendary work which disappeared into thin air after its first perfomances but which was brought back to the stage in Pesaro in 1984 under the direction of Claudio Abbado, in what in now considered one of the most important musical events of the century. The festival in Pesaro therefore represents a new generation of philologists who have made and continue to make a major contribution to Rossini’s international ‘rehabilitation’.

In his Faust, Goethe says: ‘Whatever you are able to do or dream of doing, do it. Do it immediately. Genius, power and magic can all be found in courage.” The German writer had the right idea and the thirty members of the Pollfonico Jubilate choir, founded in 2000 in Candelara are of the same opinon. It is actually on the initiative of this group of enthusiasts, who have toured Italy successfully for years, that the Festival di musica antica Musicae Amoeni loci was founded in 2004: covering works from a reportory stretching from the Middle Ages to the Baroque period, this series of concerts takes place during the summer in some of the most charming and fascinating venues of the Pesaro-Urbino region, with performances from groups, ensembles and choirs from Italy and abroad. Over the years the choir has presented numerous performances of works from many different periods from Il Banchetto Rinascimentale to La scuola di San Marco, and Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, staged in front of an audience of 1500 spectators, first at Villa Berloni in Candelara and then at the Palazzo del Monte in Mombaroccio. The amateur origins of the Jubilate choir mean that it has kept in touch with the general public and with the region, making it the perfect group to perform and interpret cultural traditions which live on tangibly amid the winding streets of the region’s towns and villages.

Rounding off the concerto of initiatives that resounds throughout the Pesaro-Urbino region is Fano. Fano’s theatrical history has ancient foundations. In 1556 the old 14th century salon in the town’s palazzo was turned into a ‘Sala della Commedia’; in the 17th century it was extended and in the 18th century began to welcome prestigious performers such as Farinelli, Farfallino and Giziello. Rossini himself triumphed on the Fano stage before the current building was erected between 1845 and 1863. Illustrious figures such as Donizetti, Verdi, Gounod, Bizet among others flocked to the Teatro della Fortune. In 1944, the theatre, badly damaged during the war, was closed: fifty years would pass followed by a decade of restoration work, culminating in the creation of the Fondazione Teatro della Fortune, before the theatre at Fano would rediscover its past splendour and once again present to the public an opera season worthy of its prestige, with contributions from great names from all over the world. As well as the season at the Teatro della Fortuna there is also Fano Jazz, a series of jazz events and concerts that take place throughout the year: the Jazz Club winter concerts that are held in the various splendid theatres of the region’s towns and villages, from Cagli to Acqualagna; the summer festival Jazz by the Sea and Jazz’in Provincia. Fano Jazz is also part of the Marche Jazz Network, which brings together the region’s four most important jazz events and puts Fano on the international map.

In Pesaro, the musicology of the various foundations and academies and the music of the festivals and initiatives work together to create a ‘concerto’: all we need to do is take our seats and enjoy the show.

Special Thanks to:

Province of Pesaro Urbino

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