Ravenna Festival

Since 1997, the year of the first historic concert in Sarajevo, the route of the Ravenna Festival has been closely intertwined with “The Roads of Friendship”, a series of lay pilgrimages touching on cities wounded by war, re-establishing ancient ties to placesthat have made history and building ‘bridges of brotherhood’: these concerts represent the Festival’s most intimate spirit, the climax of its cultural project, its utmost synthesis.

1997 Ravenna - Sarajevo
The project “Roads of Friendship” was launched on 14 July 1997 by building a bridge between Ravenna and the opposite shores of the Adriatic Sea. Ravenna Festival carried the strains of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Eroica and Franz Schubert’s Spirit song over the waters to Sarajevo, at the Skenderija Centre. Conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti, music became the spark that reawakened the pride and vitality of Bosnia’s martyr city. The author Zlatko Dizdarevic, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s former ambassador to Croatia – he was awarded the Sacharov Prize by the European Parliament - was the event’s exceptional testimonial. He expressed words of gratitude charged with emotion for the excitement of the first concert organised by Ravenna Festival to invoke peace in the world and to celebrate brotherhood among men of every faith and every race: “…for the first time since our tragedy commenced, we felt with all our senses that the hope of the world lay in culture without borders, in lifting up our spirits and in the power of music, which you conducted so masterly. […] restored dignity is much more than reconstructed houses. We shall never forget it. Let me add that history will never forget it.”

Riccardo Muti conducts La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sarajevo Orchestra

1998 Ravenna - Beirut
The journey continued its course the following year by descending southwards, along the banks of the Mediterranean. On 26 July 1998 the “Roads of Friendship” touched Beirut to form a musical and spiritual twinning with Lebanon’s capital city that was destroyed and reborn a thousand times over, to quote the famous Lebanese poet Gibran Khalil Gibran. Hosted in Beirut’s Forum, the Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir of La Scala theatre conducted by Maestro Muti offered an evening in which Vincenzo Bellini, Giuseppe Verdi and Gioacchino Rossini’s most absorbing arias resounded like a call to restore peace and overcome divisions.

Riccardo Muti conducts La Scala Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra.
Barbara Frittoli soprano

1999 Ravenna - Jerusalem
From Beirut the road weaved its way in the Middle East to a site that is the symbol of the world’s three great monotheist religions. And, in Jerusalem, the meeting point of different cultures and the site of their conflict, the cycle of three Ravenna Festivals dedicated to “Pilgrimages of Faith” came to a close. On 1 July 1999 the Sultan’s Pool, one of the city’s most suggestive settings, hosted the festival’s most meaningful concert - Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem Mass.

Riccardo Muti conducts La Scala Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra

2000 Ravenna - Moscow
witnessed the “Roads of Friendship” reaching another great city, a protagonist of history. In fact, on 24 July Ravenna Festival carried its message of brotherhood to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, thus celebrating the bond between two cities - Ravenna and the Russian capital - that are rooted in Byzantine culture with the golden glow of mosaics. On this occasion the Orchestra and Choir of the Bolshoi Theatre joined the Orchestra and Choir of La Scala conducted by Riccardo Muti. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and, especially, the Ode to Joy with the elation of Friedrich Schiller’s text, resounded as a farewell to the “short century” that had just come to a close and a greeting charged with hope to the new millennium.
2001 Ravenna - Erevan
The course of the “Roads of Friendship” branched in 2001 by proposing a dual appointment and by building “a bridge of brotherhood for the Roads of Friendship through art and culture” with thousand-year old Istanbul and the Armenian city of Erevan. Ravenna thus joined ancient Byzantium and one of the western world’s most ancient historical and geographical frameworks. On 23 July, before an audience of over eight thousand people, the Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir of La Scala theatre conducted by Riccardo Muti dedicated a programme entirely centred on Verdi to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity in Armenia (301-2001). The Erevan Chamber Choir, the voice of a people based at the furthest regions of Christianity, joined them. The following evening, instead, the TRT Istanbul Youth Chorus joined the voices of La Scala. Ravenna Festival’s deep meaning can be appreciated in the words of the Katholicós Karekin II, supreme Patriarch of all Armenians: “The mission promoted by Ravenna Festival’s Roads of Friendship is dear and close to the spirit of the Armenian people, whose life has been anchored to the values of Christianity for the past 1700 years. They have always longed for peace… The sublime music conducted by Riccardo Muti has threaded its way up the gentle slopes of Mt. Ararat, which is sacred to all Armenians, right to the inaccessible peak where Noah’s redeeming ark finally came to rest.”

Riccardo Muti conducts La Scala Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra

2002 Ravenna - New York
The Roads of Friendship left the Mediterranean basin to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The “Bridge of Brotherhood” reached New York, whose heart was devastated by the previous year’s 9/11 attacks. Its deep wounds can still be seen. The theme Ravenna Festival dedicated to the metropolis was intentionally concise: “New York, September 11”. And at the very edge of Ground Zero’s chasm, the target of the composed daily pilgrimage of people of all races and faiths, Riccardo Muti - after the crowded concert held in Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center, “home” of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra - led the Choir of La Scala and the Musicians of Europe United (in memory of the victims of the Twin Towers’ tragedy and of all the victims of violence in the world) in their performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Va’ pensiero. Many members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra joined the Musicians of Europe United - the best talents selected from 19 orchestras from 11 European nations - in an unprecedented fellowship. On 22 July, in Manhattan’s absolute unnatural silence, the choir sang about the toppled towers and the sad lamentation, arousing intensely vibrant emotion. Through music Ravenna Festival turns “our gaze to those new, symbolically biblical ‘Towers of Babel’ - said Cristina Mazzavillani Muti – that buried everything and from which we can resurrect together, better than before, only with knowledge and love.” But the notes of Beethoven’s Eroica also resounded with the aching funeral march and with “Tutto cangia, il ciel s’abbella” from Gioachino Rossini’s Guglielmo Tell, which Maestro Muti considers as “a call to hope with the purity of light typical of C Major.”

Riccardo Muti conducts La Scala Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra and "the musicians of Europe United"

Riccardo Muti conducted "Va pensiero" at Ground Zero for families of 11 victims.

2003 Ravenna - Il Cairo
From the western paradigm of the United States to contradictions between tradition and modernity in North African lands - the cradle of civilisation. The Egyptian desert was the suggestive setting for the “Roads of Friendship” in 2003. On 21 July the pyramids and the enigmatic Sphinx were enveloped by the strains of Hector Berlioz’s Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale and by those of the second act of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice for the first time in history. Along with the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala theatre, Ravenna Festival’s Orchestra and the choirs of both Santa Cecilia National Academy and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Riccardo Muti conducted the Orchestra and Choir of the Cairo Opera House. The Maestro recalls that it was an absolutely unrepeatable concert: “Both these pieces, besides brightening spirits, conveying glory and invoking light on those who shed their blood for freedom, have in common a reference to the kingdom of the dead. And the pyramids are obviously tombs in the first place and they represent the kingdom of eternal sleep, considered not only as the resting place of pharaohs and of the Egyptian people, in a broad sense, but also as the whole world’s longing and hope for peace.”

La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra
Orchestra of Teatro dell’Opera Il Cairo
Choir of Santa Cecilia National Academy
Choir of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Choir of Teatro dell’Opera Il Cairo

2004 Ravenna - Damascus
On 25 July the “Roads of Friendship” stopped once again in the desert, but this time in the Syrian one around the capital Damascus. In Bosra - the fabulous city that was known to the farthest Eastern countries in the 7th century - the ancient Roman theatre was the setting for the performance of pieces from Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma and Ottorino Respighi’s Pini di Roma. On the terraced seats an audience of thousands of people listened spellbound to the notes and voices of the Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir of La Scala theatre that played with musicians from the Syrian National Symphonic Orchestra and the Choir of the Music Academy in Damascus, led by Riccardo Muti. Syria is geographically distant from Ravenna and differs from the West in culture and traditions, but the “Bridge of Brotherhood” built by the Festival even deletes the deepest differences. The Maestro held a lesson for the local orchestra musicians in a combination of Italian, English and gestures. And yet, music enabled them to understand each other. Every rolling of tympani in crescendo during the concert triggered a prolonged applause. But it was thus that the audience paid the greatest tribute to the event.

Riccardo Muti conducts Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir of La Scala theatre together with musicians from the Syrian National Symphonic Orchestra and the Choir of the Music Academy in Damascus

2005 Ravenna - El Djem
On 4 July the virtually intact ruins of another Roman amphitheatre hosted the course of the “Roads of Friendship”. Ravenna Festival moved along the Mediterranean to Tunisia, once again a desert site - isolated El Djem - the city that became legendary when the Berber heroine La Kahena took refuge in the amphitheatre that was converted into a citadel in the 7th century. The programme envisaged the performance of Boito’s Mephistopheles with Maestro Muti conducting the Orchestra and Choir of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under the stars. The conductor’s baton was about to be lifted to evoke the enchantment of the Arcadia when the unexpected occurred – there suddenly arose in the silence the muezzin’s wailing call to evening prayer. The chanting voice grew in strength and Riccardo Muti interrupted the concert as a sign of respect. “I had to stop as a sign of respect, but also because the muezzin’s prayer blended well with that precise moment of the opera,” he said. That year the fusion of the Islamic chant and the orchestra’s performance was the most powerful symbol of the “Bridge of Brotherhood” that Ravenna Festival builds among peoples through music.

Riccardo Muti conducts Orchestra and Choir of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Alexia Voulgaridou soprano (Margherita)
Keith Ikaia Purdy tenor (Faust)
Ildebrando D’Arcangelo bass (Mefistofele)

2006 Ravenna - Meknès
The “Roads of Friendship” moved westward along the African shores of the Mediterranean to Meknès, the city of olives and the queen of imperial Morocco. On 17 July, in the setting of the coloured marble and mosaics of the Moorish gate of Bab el Mansour, the Orchestra and Choir of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino invited some musicians from the Orchestre Philharmonique du Maroc to perform symphonies and sacred pieces by Verdi. The unforeseen occurred once again - after the national anthems and before the first strains of La forza del destino could be played, the fury of the elements was unleashed and a sudden small tornado shook the spotlights and flags, leafing through the musical scores and raining a multitude of sand drops on both the audience and the orchestra. Riccardo Muti continued undaunted, fighting the storm by launching a storm of notes with his baton, while the Maggio’s musicians, with whom he has a long established bond, followed him unwaveringly. The heavy rain prevented the final Te Deum from being performed, but Ravenna Festival’s goal of building a “Bridge of Brotherhood” between the Adriatic and Morocco was achieved. The Maestro remarked: “Verdi is deeply moving; he deletes racial, cultural and religious differences by directly piercing the innermost feelings.”

Choir and Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
condcutor Riccardo Muti

Barbara Frittoli soprano
Sonia Ganassi mezzo-soprano
Ferruccio Furlanetto bass

2007 Concert for Lebanon
Thanks to the extraordinary hospitality of the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, the “Roads of Friendship” event for 2007, “Concert for Lebanon”, was held in the Courtyard of Honour at the Quirinal Palace in Rome. Lebanon was intended to be the destination once again that year for the eleventh trip. The plan was to give two concerts, one in Baalbeck, the other in Beiteddine (cities symbolic and representative of the different cultural and historic roots of the country), closing with a musical homage to Italy’s military contingent stationed in Naquoura.The dramatic escalation of events in the weeks leading up to the concert made the journey impossible. Hence the idea of organising the “Concert for Lebanon” in Italy, in a setting strongly symbolic of Italy’s commitment to that country: the Quirinal Palace, official residence of the Italian President, thanks to his great sensitivity. Thus, for an evening, the lights and sounds of the “Home of the Italians” were turned eastward, in close collaboration with the Lebanese authorities and diplomatic representatives, who had participated so enthusiastically in the organisation of the event. Riccardo Muti was once again an ambassador and a key figure, conducting the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra and Choir, together with soloists Olga Borodina, Alexia Voulgaridou, Mario Zeffiri and Ildar Abdrazakov, in Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem Mass. The concert also featured a special guest performance from Sœur Marie Keyrouz, a Lebanese artist whose sublime voice opened the evening.

Riccardo Muti conducts the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra and Choir, together with soloists Olga Borodina, Alexia Voulgaridou, Mario Zeffiri and Ildar Abdrazakov

2008 Ravenna - Mazara del Vallo
The Roads of Friendship led back to the heart of the Mediterranean. The twelfth musical pilgrimage of the Ravenna Festival sailed from the ancient Roman port of Ravenna to the ancient Phoenician port of Mazara del Vallo in Sicily, which is today home to the largest fleet of fishing vessels in all of Italy. Here, before an audience of over 4000 people, Riccardo Muti led the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino performers through some of the most intense sacred scores of two great Italian composers: Verdi’s Stabat Mater and Te Deum - two of the Four Sacred Pieces - and the wonderful dramatic portrayal that is Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Together with the Orchestra and Choir (conducted by Piero Monti), some of the biggest names in the world of international opera were called in to interpret the work by Rossini: soprano Elaine Alvarez, mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina, tenor Mario Zeffiri and bass Ildar Abdrazakov. The concert was dedicated to Pope John Paul II, a supreme example of a pilgrim and messenger of peace, who always worked for worldwide fellowship, an ideal that fits the community in Mazara like a glove: the city is an exemplary model of integration, with over 7000 Tunisians living in the ancient kasbah in the heart of the old town, who cast their nets alongside those of the Sicilian fishermen every day.

Choir and Orchestra Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
condcutor Riccardo Muti

Elaine Alvarez soprano
Olga Borodina mezzosoprano
Mario Zeffiri tenor
Ildar Abdrazakov bass

2009 Ravenna - Sarajevo
After exactly 13 years, Ravenna Festival’s Roads of Friendship returned to the same place, across the Adriatic sea, that was the destination of the first, dramatic journey: Sarajevo. What more noble and meaningful occasion than this return to the Bosnian capital to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the festival, the theme of which, significantly, was Prayer: prayer in commemoration of the victims of a terrible war that set brother against brother, prayer for a brighter future, built on peace, dialogue and mutual understanding, despite any differences (following in the wake of centuries of admirable, peaceful coexistence). On Monday 13 July, at the Zetra Centre in Sarajevo, Riccardo Muti led the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra and Choir in a programme that closed – like the previous concert back in 1997 – with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony N° 3, the “Eroica”. At the 1997 concert, the few remaining members of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra came together; this time the concert involved a broad polyphony of voices from the different geographical regions, ethnic and religious groups that distinguish this European land and its capital. And so from Mostar (in the Croat Canton of Herzegovina-Neretva), Lukavica and Srebrenica (now in the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Tuzla, instrumentalists and especially choirs, some of children, joined together to bring a message of hope, forming an ideal bridge between historic memory and the future.

Choir and Orchestra Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
condcutor Riccardo Muti
Daniela Barcellona contralto
Choir of Muscic Academy Istocno Sarajevo
Choir “Iskre” di Tuzla
Children Choir Srebrenica

2010 Italy - Slovenia - Croatia
“The Roads of Friendship” don’t have to lead that far. In 2010 they stopped in Trieste, facing the Adriatic Sea, for a concert celebrating the possible reconciliation of three bordering countries — Slovenia, Croatia and Italy — that have seen tense relations and suffering in recent years. In compliance with the Festival’s theme, ‘Ex tenebris ad lucem’, on July 13th Riccardo Muti raised his baton in Trieste’s Unity Square, before a crowd of 10,000, and conducted 360 young musicians and choir singers in Cherubini’s extraordinary ‘Requiem in C-minor’. As Muti himself commented after the concert, “The Requiem that, in 1816, dissolved into music the tragedy and mourning for the execution of the French King, soared from the heart of the city to bring peace and rest to all the dead, to all who suffered, to those who had to endure fratricide, tragedy and loss”. The meeting of the Presidents of Italy (Giorgio Napolitano), Croatia (Ivo Josipovic’) and Slovenia (Danilo Türk), invited by Riccardo Muti to attend the concert, caused great emotion. Muti addressed them with these words: “I hope you will carry on with what we did tonight with these youth, but still with youth”. The concert was also made extraordinary by the presence and collaboration of three choirs coming from the nations involved, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, supported by the Cherubini and Italian Youth Orchestras, and by the Academies of Music of the Universities of Ljubljana and Zagreb.

Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini
Orchestra Giovanile Italiana
Music Academy of Lubiana University
Music Academy of Zagabria University
conductor Riccardo Muti

2011 Piacenza - Ravenna - Nairobi
From the very heart of Africa - Nairobi - comes a ‘call’, that will turn into a great and unforgettable celebration of music and friendship. The concert is dedicated to the people living in the slums grown on Nairobi’s outskirts and meant to raise awareness as well as concrete support for some projects for the economical and social development of Kibera, the biggest slum in the sub-saharan Africa. Riccardo Muti conduces the Youth Orchestra “Luigi Cherubini”, the Italian Youth Orchestra, young musicians of the Nairobi Youth Orchestra, including the joyous contribution of the young artists (ex street children from Kibera and other slums who have been welcomed and helped by the numerous Italian missionaries working in Kenya) who perform acrobatics, songs, and music with their traditional percussion instruments.

Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini
Orchestra Giovanile Italiana
Musicians of Youth Orchestra of Nairobi
Artists of the Nariboi Choir and 200 children of italian missions in Nairobi

Young musicians of the "Luigi Cherubini" and "Nairobi" Youth Orchestra

2012 The Brotherhood Concert
According to the main themes of this year’s Festival (the monastic life, and the calling to the prayer, the silence, and the meditation), the 2012 Roads of Friendship project is a great opportunity to reflect together at the Concert of Brotherhoods at Palazzo Mauro de Andrè in Ravenna. The meeting between monastic communities and brotherhoods takes place through the musical language and strikes the higher chord weaving apparently incompatible styles and approaches together. In fact, this concert highlights those shared elements of spirituality that could turn out to be the very key for the mutual understanding between peoples and their different cultures. Riccardo Muti conduces the Youth Orchestra “Luigi Cherubini”, the Italian Youth Orchestra, the Stagione Armonica choir, and the Choir of Fruili Venezia Giulia (choirmaster Sergio Balestracci). The concert (whose classical programme encompasses Haydn, Brahms, and Mozart) includes the Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling monastery, the Nepalese nun Ani Choying Drolma, the Orthodox Male Choir of Moscow, the Serbian Choir ‘Moisey Petrovich’ of Belgrade, the Choir of San Carlo Borromeo Brotherhood, the traditional Sicilian from Mussomeli and Marianopoli - all expressions of faith, friendship, peace, resulting from the need for spirituality that travels through ages and lands. 

Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini
Orchestra Giovanile Italiana
Stagione Armonica
Choir of Friuli Venezia Giulia

conductor Riccardo Muti

contralto Ekaterina Gubanova

with the participation of
Ani Choying Drolma
San Carlo Borromeo Brotherhood Choir
Moscow Orthodox Male Choir
Serbian Byzantine Choir Moisey Petrovich
Tibetan lamas of the monastry Drepung Loseling

2013 Ravenna - Mirandola
The “Roads of Friendship”, in less than two decades, have gone very far away, in lands scarred by suffering, war or old misunderstandings, in order to bring a sign of “brotherhood” and sharing through music. In the year dedicated to “popular sentiment”, in the same spirit we chose a very close city and land: Mirandola and the Emilia district, destroyed by the 2012 earthquake. A destination with tremendous value thanks to Giuseppe Verdi music, once again a symbol of identity able to reinforce cultural, social and historical values. On the stage, built in the middle of scaffolding and barriers, between the bell tower of the gutted Cathedral and the cracked Loggia dei Pico, Riccardo Muti hugs, thanks to music, the hard moved people of Emilia, but already came back to life, despite everything. “Tonight - he said – we brings hope to those seeking peace, and those seeking the beauty that Mirandola preserves intact under the ruins.” That’s the reason why the “Va pensiero” by Verdi will end the concert, performed not in full voice, but serious and slow like a prayer.

Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini
Orchestra Giovanile Italiana
Choir of Teatro Municipale di Piacenza
Choir "Città di Mirandola"
conductor Riccardo Muti

2014 Ravenna - Redipuglia
In the Requiem Mass”, Massimo Mila writes, “the whole human race behaves like Verdi’s characters and is struck dead like shot waterfowl, suddenly passing from the heat of an intense life to the chill of death”. War finds its very essence in the useless, inexplicable, unbearable death it brings along. Death, which pervades all Verdi’s work, in the Requiem becomes a crystallized drama capable of crossing the boundaries between different faiths to address Man himself. In Riccardo Muti’s tense rendition, the Requiem becomes a meditation on spirituality which sees in Man, in his inescapable destiny and in the awareness of his strength, a possibility for consolation. “Twelve hundred steps, but they seem a lot more: one million, or maybe six hundred thousand, as many as the dead. And all of them speak, all of them shout a single word that sounds like the distant thunder of artillery: Present”. In Guido Ceronetti’s severe and dreamlike vision, the staircase of Redipuglia becomes a voice, a scream, a warning sent through time and history. And in the centenary of the Great War, the Paths of Friendship, which for years have been traced towards people tortured by war and torn by the madness of evil, could only lead us here, at the foot of a monument to pain and memory. The concert will see a symbolical gathering of musicians from the nations which took part in the massacre, united in a hymn to future that arises from the peace-making embrace of music.

Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini
European Spirit of Youth Orchestra
Berliner Philharmoniker
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Orchestra Teatro Verdi di Trieste
San Pietroburgo Philharmonic Orchestra

Riccardo Muti

Orchestre Symphonique du Théatre Royal de La Monnaie
Philharmonia Orchestra
Wiener Philharmoniker
and students
Conservatory “Giuseppe Tartini” Trieste and “Jacopo Tomadini” Udine

The tree of life: Ravenna - Otranto
The idea of a tree of life underlies Dante’s three canticas and, according to some theories and legends, is at the basis of the Commedia itself: this tree of life was the obvious destination of this year’s Paths of Friendship concert.  On that occasion, our praying voices resounded in the Cathedral of Otranto, on the medieval pavement of its nave, lavishly decorated with scenes from Man’s history and fate in a monumental stone carpet — recently restored by Ravenna’s mosaic masters — where the New and Old Testament, the Koran and the Torah come together in one inextricable design.  These voices rose against the madness of evil from the heart of Otranto’s citadel-medina, an age-old jumble of different cultures and religions that paid an awful tribute to barbaric hatred in late XV century, with 813 martyrs. And music opened up to a universal message that surpasses the boundaries of sound: music became prayer, embracing people and building a “bridge of brotherhood” between East and West, the expressive poles featured in the Arvo Pärt composition Riccardo Muti chose as a starting point for his new “friendship journey”. The concert then continued with the celestial melody of Haydn’s garden of Eden, to conclude with the dismaying emotion Man experiences when confronted with God, an emotion only Verdi’s Te Deum can express. 

Riccardo Muti conducts
Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini
Choir and Orchestra of Petruzzelli Theatre
La Stagione Armonica

Simge Büyükedes

2016: Ravenna - Tokyo
In 2016, on the 16th of March, the Bunka Kaikan Theatre offered an extraordinary welcome to Riccardo Muti on the podium of the Cherubini Orchestra and the Harusai Festival Orchestra: not only the tireless, unceasing applause of the audience, but also two stamps issued to commemorate the event. This way the 20th edition of the Roads of Friendship, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the friendship between Italy and Japan, started from Tokyo with two concerts (the second one at the Metropolitan Theatre on March 17) and then reached the Pala De André in Ravenna, as usual with the same concert featuring the same protagonists. This backward journey paid a merry tribute to the diplomatic relations between the two countries, which started in 1866. At the time the two far-away countries were connected by the silk market, or better by the precious eggs of silkworms that our “semai” would obtain after the longest journey; nowadays the tie is made up of art, culture, and especially music. Hence a programme entirely dedicated to the Italian operistic genius, especially Verdi’s: these most compelling pages have marked the identity and the image of our land and represent a sort of birth language for us Italians, while they are the object of a deep and sincere passion on the Japanese people’s part.

© Satoshi Aoyagi

© Satoshi Aoyagi

Credits: Story

Since 1997 the "Roads of Friendship" project by Ravenna Festival has been made available to the Italian audience thanks to RAI 1.

© Maurizio Montanari
© Silvia Lelli

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