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55th Festival of Nations - Città di Castello
Spain protagonist of the 2022 Festival, among the guests the Cuarteto Casals, the Andrés Segovia Chamber Orchestra, the Barcelona Flamenco Ballet, the Ensemble Elyma by Gabriel Garrido
The 55th Festival of Nations pays homage to the Spain, protagonist of the 2022 bill.

It will take place from 6 July to 3 September 2022 the historic Umbrian festival, which offers a rich program of concerts and events a City of Castello and in the enchanting villages of the Upper Tiber Valley (San Sepolcro, San Giustino, Umbertide, Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, Montone).

The 55th Festival of Nations, which highlights the different facets of the very rich Spanish musical culture, is a wide-ranging program. Culture, even more than anywhere else, rich in contamination, made up of sound forms in which different traditions are grafted, born from exchanges and mutual influences with other countries both close - France, Italy, Morocco - and far away, such as Central and South America .

The Artistic Director effectively emphasized Aldo Sisillo: “One of the lines that the Festival of Nations has followed in recent years has been to shed light on the intertwining of the different musical cultures that characterize the heritage of the host countries. Spain, a nation historically at the center of one of the largest empires, with its complex history offers us the opportunity to reflect on the relationships between different cultures and on the coexistence and social and cultural integration between citizens of different origins. This is because it is a nation with an important colonial past, but also because it has experienced a long period of foreign domination on its own territory, very fruitful for the arts, sciences and culture ”.

Flamenco, zarzuela is tango find space next to the great Spanish classical composers such as Isaac Albéniz, Francisco Tárrega, Joaquin Turina, Manuel de Falla but also a lesser known Garcìa Lorca composer, and there are several projects dedicated to the intertwining of Spanish culture with that of other countries, such as the musical practice of the Jesuits in the missions of South America, the Argentine tango, the music of the Mediterranean countries.

Among the guests of the Festival, the famous stand out Cuarteto Casals and theChamber orchestra Andrés Segovia, the Barcelona Flamenco Ballet, the Ensemble Elyma by Gabriel Garrido, it's still Jamal Ouassini and his Tangier Café Orchestra, the charismatic Cuban violinist Yilian Cañizares, the Tango Spleen Orquesta. Among the Italian artists who will pay homage to Spain, the young pianist Axel Trolese, Mauro Bigonzetti with Carmen's new choreography, theOrchestra of Tuscany, now a permanent presence to which the closing concert of the festival is entrusted.

The main part of the bill is concentrated in the twelve days from 23 August to 3 September, but two very popular open-air events are scheduled for July: a foray into pop with the concert by Noemi, one of the most popular singers among the young audience, the July 6 in the Piazza delle Tabacchine a City of Castello, while theJuly 8 in the same place the flamenco between tradition and contemporaneity will be the protagonist Barcelona Flamenco Ballet, on stage for the Italian premiere of Luxurîa with the choreography of David Gutiérrez.

The centerpiece of the billboard will kick off on  23 August (9 pm) always a City of Castello, in the church of San Domenico which will host most of the classical concerts: the prestigious one will play Orquesta de Cámara Andrés Segovia, directed by Víctor Ambroa, also first violin, with José María Gallardo del Rey on lead guitar. Some of the major Iberian classical composers such as Joaquin Turina, Isaac Albéniz is Francisco Tárrega, but also a rarity such as the Suite for guitar and strings by Federico García Lorca, very little known as a musician.

The August 24 the young man Axel Trolese, born in 1997, one of the most interesting Italian pianists of his generation, will perform pieces by Albéniz, Turina, de Falla is Federico Mompou, less known composer but absolutely to be discovered. (Città di Castello, Illuminati Theater, 9 pm)

The 25 August L'Elyma Ensemble directed by Gabriel Garrido - the greatest expert and interpreter of the musical baroque of Latin America - will propose The ópera jesuítica en las misiones, concert that investigates a fascinating aspect of the history of music, namely the use that the Jesuit fathers made of musical practice in Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and the Guaranì region, where they founded numerous reduciones characterized by a social organization ' collectivist ', in which music also played a fundamental role in everyday life. Gabriel Garrido, with the Elyma Ensemble, has been intensely dedicated to the recovery and execution of the music of the authors who worked in those territories and will offer some examples: Domenico Zipoli, an Italian Jesuit who in 1717 went as a missionary to Argentina, where he died in 1726, and of other anonymous authors of the Order of San Ignacio. (Città di Castello, Church of San Domenico, 9 pm).

On the same day at the Illuminati Theater (6 pm) the rehearsal open to the public is scheduled finalists of the 5th "Alberto Burri" National Competition, dedicated to youth chamber music groups.

The August 26 the Festival of Nations moves to Sansepolcro, where the new musical theater piece will be premiered My kiss was a pomegranate, dedicated to Federico García Lorca with music by Stefano Garau. The show, co-produced by the Festival and the Permanent Laboratories Association of Sansepolcro, will be staged at the Cloister of Santa Chiara at 9 pm.

The August 27 in the village of  San Giustino (Cortile del Castello Bufalini, 9 pm), an appointment not to be missed to get to know the zarzuela up close, a typically Spanish musical form similar to the operetta in which spoken scenes, cantatas, choirs and concerted dances alternate. Born at the beginning of the seventeenth century and revitalized in the second half of the nineteenth century, the zarzuela, which has Placido Domingo among its greatest admirers, is very little known in Italy. For the Festival of Nations, two young Spanish singers will propose a small anthology of the zarzuela, the soprano Aída Gimeno and the tenor Mario Corberan, accompanied on the piano by Jorge Giménez.

The next appointment, the August 28 at the Illuminati Theater in City of Castello (6 pm and 9 pm): the new production on stage Loba Branca, a semi-scenic work inspired by a traditional Galician tale, commissioned to the Spanish composer Brais González. Alongside a group of professional musicians directed by Mario Cecchetti, various school choral ensembles will participate.

Space for young performers also August 29, with the afternoon concert at the Santa Croce Museum in Umbertide (6 pm): the Tulip Duo, violin and piano, winner of the “Alberto Burri” 2021 Competition, will perform pieces by To thebeniz, Granados, de Falla, Moszkowski, Poulenc.

Always the August 29, in the evening a City of Castello (Teatro degli Illuminati, 9 pm), one of the most anticipated events of the Festival, the first Italian performance of Memorias, a project conceived and directed by the tangerine violinist Jamal Ouassini with her Tangier Café Orchestra, which will see the participation of artists from Spain, Morocco, Greece, Lebanon and Italy: a hymn to the Mediterranean and its cultural and musical richness, including Sephardic songs, Andalusian Arabic melodies and flamenco rhythms.

The August 30th dance is back, an unmissable appointment on the Festival's billboard: on stage Carmen, new choreographic creation by Mauro Bigonzetti on original music by the dancer, choreographer and musician Octavio De La Roza, which pays homage to a figure created by the French but become emblematic of Spain. On stage, Octavio De La Roza himself in the role of Don José, while the role of Carmen will be danced by Camilla Colella. (City of Castello, Illuminati Theater, 9 pm)

In the afternoon concert of the same day (Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, 6 pm), will perform on guitar duo composed of Raffaele Putzolu is Victor Valisena, who particularly distinguished himself in the last edition of the “Alberto Burri” Competition. On the poster the most fascinating Spanish music for this formation, Rodrigo, Granados, Albéniz, de Falla Besides Piazzolla.

The August program closes on Cuarteto Casals, among the most prominent guests of the 55th Festival of Nations. The famous ensemble, which performs regularly in the most prestigious halls in the world, is formed by Abel Tomas is Vera Martinez Mehner to violins, Jonathan Brown to viola and Arnau Tomas on the cello. In the Church of San Domenico di City of Castello (9 pm) the Cuarteto Casals will execute pages of Haydn, Shostakovich is Mendelssohn, in addition to the first Italian performance of a piece by Francisco Coll García.

With the new month the bill looks overseas: the September 1st will take the stage Yilian Cañizares, the charismatic Cuban violinist who ranges between classical, jazz and musical traditions of the Antilles: she will present a new project born from the pandemic crisis we are experiencing: the Yilian Cañizares Resilience Trio that will see her busy next to Childo Tomas to the electric bass and to Inor Sotolongo to percussion (City of Castello, Church of San Domenico, 9 pm).

To follow, the 2 September (Montone, Church of San Francesco, 9 pm) again a concert inspired by Latin America: with Todo es amor there Tango Spleen Orquesta driven by Mariano Speranza, offers a tribute to the tango and its most illustrious representative, Astor Piazzolla, passing from the classics of the genre, Mariano Mores, Sebastian Piana, Osvaldo Pugliese to pieces from the South American folkloric repertoire, to his own compositions.

The closing of the Festival of Nations 2022 on September 3 to City of Castello (Church of San Domenico, 9 pm) will be entrusted to theOrchestra of Tuscany, regular and highly appreciated presence of the event for several years. The program will be dedicated to the greatest modern Spanish composer, Manuel de Falla.


(Above, the Barcelona Flamenco Ballet, photocredit © Belen Codina, under the Cuarteto Casals)    

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55th Festival of Nations - Città di Castello

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