Last year it celebrated Europe, but in 2014 the Festival delle Nazioni crosses the boundaries to arrive in Armenia. It promises symphonic and chamber music, folk and classical, sacred, healing and secular choral music, medieval hymns and new compositions.
All this will be featured in the main programme of the 47th Festival delle Nazioni in Città di Castello, which from 27th August until September 6th will explore the musical culture of Armenia, this year’s host nation.
by Cristina Crisci
It will be a journey to the ‘land of screaming stones’, as described by the Russian poet Osip Mandel’štam, and will unwind over a series of 14 concerts. Among the many guests will be Noa, (August 29th in the Church of San Domenico), an Israeli singer of Yemeni origin, always attentive to the issues of genocide and the Armenian diaspora. Appointed ‘Artist for Peace’ in 2001, Noa will be presenting his latest album ‘Love Medicine’.
«With the choice of Armenia we go outside Europe’s borders – confirms President Giuliano Giubilei – but to a country that has had a deeply troubled history in its relationships with our continent. Suffice to say that it was the first country to convert to Christianity. But that’s not why we chose it. There’ s a rich tradition of music but we also wanted to turn the spotlight on this country and its people who are nearing the centenary of what has gone down in history as the genocide of the Armenians – one of the great tragedies of the twentieth century. Last year, with the tribute to Europe, we wanted to present great music without ignoring current events, really to make the music come alive. The same logic drove us this year».
The artistic director Aldo Sisillo, who has a deep knowledge of the country, explains: «Armenia has been connecting East and West for centuries, as proved by its music, with styles that draw on both Western and Middle Eastern culture. We’re offering a unique opportunity to explore the many facets of this artistic culture, from the ‘cultured’ musical language to the bards and duduk players of its traditionional folk music».
On the opening night of the festival, the most prestigious symphony orchestra of Armenia, the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, (August 27th, Church of San Domenico), will take the stage, led by its music director Eduard Topchjan. The duduk, kamancha and other traditional instruments will be featured in the ‘Spirit of Armenia’, a musical journey to the borders between classical and popular music with Jordi Savall and the Hespèrion XXI ensemble.
The commitment of the Festival to the enhancement of contemporary music continues with two commissions given this year, which will have their world premiere as part of a project dedicated to Italian and Armenian poetry. The music of Philip Fanò and the poetry of Alda Merini will be compared with the composition by Vache Sharafyan inspired by the words of Armenian poets Movses Khorenatsi and Yeghishe Charents, (directed by Cosimo Damiano Damato), with the interpretation of the Ensemble Instrumental Chamber Orchestra of Perugia and the voice of Pamela Villoresi; (August 31st, Auditorium Santa Chiara, Sansepolcro).
A new project by Mario Brunello in collaboration with the Centro Studi, (based on the island of San Lazzaro in Venice), is a musical tale about the origins of Christianity by the Umbra Lucis ensemble, (4th September). In addition, for bicentennial of the birth of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone, on 4th September the, Virtuosi Italiani and Federico Mondelci will perform Glazunov and Hayr Soub’s Concerto for Saxophone and strings by Makar Ekmalian.
Sacred Mount Ararat will be the star of this show of music and animated images – drawn by the Russian artist Gosha – where the Armenian virtuoso violinist Ara Malikian brings to life the journey of Marco Polo, (September 2nd, Church of San Domenico). Finally the festival will close with the Orchestra della Toscana on 6th September.
For tickets: Corso Cavour, Palazzo del Podestà in Città di Castello or online at www.festivalnazioni.com.