On November 18, Alexander Pereira, director of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, announced the opera house’s 83rd festival, which in three months between April 23 and July 23, 2020 will put on 43 operatic, symphonic and experimental performances.
Ten operas will make up the backbone of the festival, with repertory staples like Puccini’s Turandot and Verdi’s Otello and La Traviata, which will close out the season with Sonya Yoncheva, Francesco Demuro and Placido Domingo in the starring roles. The festival will open, however, with Lo sposo di tre e Il marito di nessuno, a 1783 Opera buffa by one of Florence’s favourite sons, Luigi Cherubini; it will also delve back into opera’s Florentine roots with a production of Jacopo Peri’s Euridice, which was first staged in 1600 in Palazzo Pitti to celebrate Maria de’ Medici’s wedding to King Henry IV of France.
Italian music is only part of the programme, however.
The 250 years since the birth of Beethoven will be marked with performances of each of his nine symphonies, under the baton of Maggio Musicale’s in-house conductor Zubin Mehta, who will also lead a concert rendition of Beethoven’s sole opera Fidelio.
The Maggio’s commitment to new music will be evident in a world première of Jeanne Dark, commissioned from composer Fabio Vacchi and librettist Stefano Jacini. The festival’s most untraditional piece is likely to be Seven Deaths of Maria Callas, a multimedia project directed by and starring Marina Abramović, returning to Florence after wintering in Palazzo Strozzi last year with her exhibition The Cleaner. Marshalling the support of France’s, Greece’s and Germany’s respective national operas, the work enlists seven singers to sing the roles of seven tragic heroines, embodying seven different ways to die. Abramović herself inhabits the role of Callas and voiceovers are provided by Willem Dafoe.
Pereira, who until recently was director of La Scala in Milan, was challenged during the presentation over ticket prices. He replied that the theatre would not be able to engage singers like Domingo by selling tickets “at five euros a head”.
Information about the events can be found on the website, https://www.maggiofiorentino.com/en/home
Watch Florence TV (in English):
Listen to the playlist (in English):