The theme of the 2012 Maggio Musicale Fiorentino festival is "A Journey from Mitteleuropa to South America". There will be a wide range of music from old world style to new as well as a variety of genres and blends, concluding with the tour of the Maggio Musicale in South America from August 7-21.
The event begins early this year with a preview entitled "Waiting for May" which will start off with a performance by the Arma dei Carabinieri and their concert at the Nuovo Teatro (May 3 at 5pm) followed by the inauguration ceremony at the Aula Magna of the University with the Lectio Magistralis by Alberto Arbasino and Miguel Rojas Mix (May 4 at 11am).
Zubin Mehta will inaugurate the 75th edition of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with one of the masterpieces of Mitteleuropa: Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal (4-11 May), which has not been performed in Florence since 1989, and which was first performed in 1911. The director Eike Gramss, well known to the Florentine public for his Ratto del serraglio by Mozart, famed scenographer Hans Schavernoch and excellent costume designer Catherine Voeffray, who also worked on the Ratto, will all collaborate on the Strauss piece. The setting recreates Vienna of Empress Maria Teresa through architectural pieces that change and shift perspective thanks to mirrors in a kind of "wonderkammer".
As dictated by tradition, the next piece to be performed was commissioned expressly for The Festival. The Metamorphosis, based on Kafka's story, was composed by young Italian composer Silvia Colasanti and will be performed from May 22-25.
A few days later (May 31-June 5) two masterpieces by Bela Bartok will be performed: the Wonderful Mandarin and Bluebeard's Castle, directed by Zsolt Hamar, a co-production with Saito Kinen Festival and costumes and choreography by Jo Kanamori.
Dance will also be celebrated through MaggioDanza, first as part of the performance of The Wonderful Mandarin and then in the Four Temperaments (from May 17-20 at the Pergola) with choreography by George Balanchine and music by Paul Hindemith, followed by Notte Trasfigurata with choreography by Susanne Linke and music by Arnold Schonberg.
Eleven concerts will take place in other locations around the city starting on May 5, wth Radu Lupu on the piano followed by Four Improvisations by Franz Schubert, Preludio, Corale e Fuga by César Franck and the Sonata in la minore by Franz Schubert in collaboration with Amici della Musica.
On May 10 at the Nuovo Teatro, Zubin Mehta will direct the Choir and Orchestra of Maggio Musicale in an evening in collaboration with The State of The Union, organized by the European University Institute. This program was designed to remember the music of the New World of the Bachianas Brasileiras for the soloist Heitor Villa-Lobos, and will be followed by Variaciones Concertantes by Alberto Ginastera and a symphony by Antonin Dvoràk.
Another key event in the 2012 edition is the collaboration between Contempartensemble, Fondazione Fabbrica Europa, L'Homme Armè and Tempo Reale, who will bring life to "Four: A night with John Cage" on Sunday May 13, on the occasion of the centennial of the artist's birth and twenty years since his death.
On Tuesday May 15 at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (as part of the O Flos Colende event) there will be a concert by Piero Monti with music by Giovanni Gabrieli on the 400th anniversary of the composer's death.
Tuesday May 16 at the Piccolo Teatro La quarta parte della terra will be performed as an homage to Amerigo Vespucci on the 500th anniversary of his death, with Francesco Dillon on cello, Emanuele Torquati on piano and video work by Luca Di Pierro and Gaston Solniki.
In collaboration with the Conservatorio "Luigi Cherubini" of Florence, the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole will once again have a Debussy Marathon at the Piccolo Teatro on Tuesday May 29 and Wednesday May 30 with a presentation by Jaqueline Risset and piano performances by Pietro Beltrani, Dario Bonuccelli, Marlene Fuochi, Giovanni Nesi, and Cesare Pezzi.
The 60th birthday of composer Wolfang Rihm will be celebrated on June 6 at the Nuovo Teatro dell'Opera with the Orchestra della Toscana directed by Daniel Kawka and baritone Leigh Melrose in the first Italian performance of Der Maler Traumt for baritone and orchestra and another Italian first for Pelleas und Melisande by Arnold Schonberg.
Contempoartensemble will celebrate its first 20 years on June 7 at Teatro Goldoni with Mauro Ceccanti conducting, Duccio Ceccanti on violin and Vittorio Ceccanti on cello.
On Friday June 8 at the Piccolo Teatro there will be a performance of Die Lange Nacht and Musik Film in collaboration with Fondazione Sistema Toscana: with direction by Mario Ruffini, Ganesh Del Vescovo on guitar, Rossella Giannetti on harpsichord, Sandro Lombardi singing with the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale. They will perform Mozart, Luigi Dallapiccola, Luigi Boccherini, Carlo Prosperi, and Bach.
A special prose event of the Festival will be "Viviani Varietà" with poetry, words and music from the Teatro di varietà by Raffaele Viviani, which was first performed in 1929 on the ship Duilio as it sailed from Napoli to Buenos Aires, but this time starring Massimo Ranieri under the direction of Maurizio Scaparro. A first time performance ever at the Pergola on June 9-10.
Of course there is also an event dedicated to Baroque music with Israel in Egypt, an oratory for choir and orchestra by Georg Friedrich Handel which will bring the festival to a close at the Nuovo Teatro dell'Opera di Firenze. Director: Fabio Biondi.
Tickets: 0552779350 from Tuesday to Friday 10.00-16.30, Saturday 9.00-13.00
For more information on the program of events: