Ravenna Festival

Founded in 1990 by the wife of maestro Riccardo Muti, the Ravenna Festival embodies many traits of the world-famous conductor. It is fiercely proud of its heritage, in example. It is unashamedly nationalistic, disdainful of popular, “low” culture, uncompromising. But both Muti and “his” festival are also incredibly tender and loving toward high arts, and will go any length to defend and popularize it. More concretely, the Ravenna Festival is a very high-profile symphonic music and opera event, that with time opened its doors to other very Italian and somewhat endangered art forms – such as ballet, poetry, sacred music and stage theatre. While it definitely requires a good knowledge of the subjects, it attracts thousands of enthusiasts from all over the world.

The Festival also has various spinoffs throughout the years – most importantly in October – with smaller sub-festivals and events. 2014 saw, in example a ballet trilogy by the Mariinskij Theatre of Saint Petersburg curated by the former etoile Carla Fracci. Both these and the main Summer program make excellent use of the marvelous architectures of Ravenna – one of the few Italian cities where the Byzantine heritage was perfectly preserved, by the way – which are frequently integrated in the shows. Its splendid Alighieri Theatre is also home to Muti’s Italian Opera Academy, a unique institution designed by the maestro to keep this historical treasure from disappearing from the contemporary Italian cultural scene altogether. 2015 will see the debut of the results of its first courses ever, centered on Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff.