Ravenna Festival to re-launch live concerts in Italy

Muti to conduct opening concert of re-imagined festival on June 21

Riccardo Muti conducts the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, opening artists of the Ravenna Festival (photo: Silvia Lelli)
Riccardo Muti conducts the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, opening artists of the Ravenna Festival (photo: Silvia Lelli)

Public concerts are set to return to Italy on June 21 for the first time since lockdown began on March 9, with the opening of the Ravenna Festival.

Running until July 30, what’s being described as a re-imagined festival will still offer up to 40 open-air events in the city’s 15th-century fortress, Rocca Brancaleone for audiences of up to 250. All social distancing rules will be followed, and audiences will be required to wear masks and enter the auditorium via a staggered access system. Given the impact of covid-19 in Italy, it is set to be a moving moment for the country. 

The opening concert will feature Riccardo Muti conducting the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra – an orchestra created by the conductor in 2004 as a training ground for young Italian professional musicians, and which will perform five programmes in the festival. It will be almost 30 years to the day since Muti had opened the inaugural Ravenna Festival in the same venue, back in 1990. Full details of the festival programme will be announced in due course

The announcement is another important step towards a return to live music-making, following on from announcements by a number of organisations that they were to resume live broadcasting. Earlier this month Wigmore Hall announced it was to start streaming daily live concerts in collaboration with BBC Radio 3, beginning with Stephen Hough on June 1.

Since then, orchestras and events that have announced an even earlier return to live broadcasting include the Bergen International Festival, which opened online in modified form on Wednesday May 20, the Berlin Philharmonic which will tomorrow perform Schoenberg, Debussy and Hindemith under Kirill Petrenko in an empty Philharmonie, the Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, which will begin live broadcasts on May 24 on its YouTube channel, and the Basque National Orchestra, which begins a weekly broadcast series on May 31.

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