MOF 2020: confirmed the staging of “Don Giovanni” and “Il Trovatore” in concert form

20 May 2020

The Sferisterio Arena confirms the staging of Don Giovanni and Il Trovatore, the latter in concert form

In July and August, the Sferisterio arena will present two operas, including Mozart’s masterpiece, directed by Davide Livermore

These have been weeks of intense discussion for all international theatres and festivals, involving organizers and artists, and cultural and governmental institutions, concerning the reopening of theatres and the prospect of staging outdoor and indoor shows.

From the outset, the Board of Directors of Associazione Arena Sferisterio has scrupulously followed the developments of the health crisis and the progressive return to a phase of resuming social activities. Therefore, it has been able to take a step forward in the reshaping of the original programme of the Macerata Opera Festival 2020 #biancocoraggio in accordance with government health and safety regulations.

Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, directed by Davide Livermore, will premiere on Saturday 18 July, followed by performances on 24 July, 2 and 8 August as originally scheduled, with the hope of adding further dates.

The President of Associazione Arena Sferisterio, Romano Carancini, stated: “During this social, economic and health crisis caused by the pandemic, we have remained determined in the belief that bringing the 2020 season of Macerata Opera Festival on stage would be a demonstration of resilience and a symbol of hope”. He went on: “The Sferisterio Board of Directors has decided to deliver its festival, albeit with some modifications, having verified its technical feasibility. We are committed to fulfilling the hopes and expectations of our citizens and we do not wish to interrupt the long-lasting tradition of the city’s most prestigious festival show. It will not be possible of course to stage all the programmed operas that were announced before the pandemic, but I am convinced this reshaped festival and its cultural value will attract the attention and arouse the curiosity of our patrons. Having the Sferisterio arena, an open-air theatre, means that we are one of the few Italian theatres to be able to deliver an opera season at this difficult time, without compromising the quality of our cultural offer and at the same time supporting the tourism sector. In this way, we will also greatly boost the economy of our city and safeguard the jobs of all those workers involved in the festival. Now that the Macerata Opera Festival 2020 #biancocoraggio is finally a reality, let us make this unprecedented, experimental and fascinating journey together”.

Vice-president, Antonio Pettinari, pointed out: “Over these past few weeks of the health emergency, we never once thought of giving up the festival planning”. He added: “Despite the obvious and multifarious difficulties, from organisational, managerial and artistic points of view, the two members of Associazione Arena Sferisterio (the Macerata Province and the Municipality of Macerata) together with the Board of Directors confirm that the cornerstones of the Macerata Opera Festival are: quality shows and financial feasibility, with balanced accounts. On the one hand, we have worked hard to overcome the difficulties related to the infection control measures which have had to be put in place and, on the other, to ensure that our cultural offer (albeit downsized) meets the demands of our audiences from all over Italy and abroad. In this way, we are sending out a strong signal of recovery for our province, a region already suffering from the earthquakes of 2016, and we are offering an appropriate response at such a difficult time for the whole community. There is no doubt that the festival represents a precious economic resource for the city, for its businesses, for its workers and for the promotion of the province and the whole region. These have been the cultural, economic and social pillars that have characterised the last nine years in particular, and which we are relaunching today with renewed vigour in the face of the uncertainty of the future”.

The other two opera titles originally scheduled for 2020 – the new production of Tosca by Giacomo Puccini entrusted to director Valentina Carrasco and Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi signed by Francisco Negrin – have been rescheduled. Tosca will be staged in summer 2022, so that the project can be carried out in its entirety, without having to forego the co-productions involved, which are very difficult to manage at this challenging time. Il trovatore on the other hand, will be presented in the form of a concert on two evenings, along with Don Giovanni.

Given the current restrictions and considering their economic and logistical consequences, the Board of Directors has deemed impossible the production of all three titles previously announced. Among the most obvious reasons for this decision are the drop in ticket sales (which is a fundamental element in the Sferisterio budget) due to social distancing; and the fact that it is no longer possible to produce all three opera titles, given the limited availability of indoor spaces for rehearsals.

According to Superintendent Luciano Messi “‘Trust’ has been our key word in recent months. This, together with ‘courage’, the theme of the Macerata Opera Festival 2020, has allowed us even in the most difficult moments to keep our goal fixed firmly in our sights, that is to offer the best possible festival experience with three irreplaceable elements as guidelines: the health and safety of audience members, artists and workers; the sustainability and economic feasibility of the opera season; and the technical and artistic quality of the festival. I would like to thank all those who have stayed close to us in recent weeks, showing patience and a great spirit of collaboration, driven by the common desire to create a 2020 festival that lives up to our history and the expectations of the public”.

The choice of staging Don Giovanni stems precisely from the convergence in this title of two determining factors at this precise moment in time. First of all, this opera can be staged with a manageable number of instrumental and vocal staff; secondly, it is a co-production which has already been staged, although not yet presented in the version specifically designed for the Sferisterio arena. A new production, in contrast, would have risked delays in production and consequent economic problems. Relying on innovative technology, Don Giovanni will be readapted according to current needs, which will allow the Macerata Opera Festival to present a modern directorial project, once again.

Artistic director Barbara Minghetti reveals “There will be no actual set. Instead, there will be an articulated system of projections redesigned (with respect to the production which premiered at Chorégies d’Orange) to fit the immense wall of the Sferisterio arena and to wholly enhance it, for the first time”. She goes on: “This is the main feature of Davide Livermore’s production that I can disclose. We are very proud to have with us the Italian director who has recently signed various openings at La Scala theatre in Milan. Livermore will offer social insights into Mozart’s music and Da Ponte’s libretto: on stage, symbolic vehicles (such as yellow taxis and carriages) will lead us through a timeless story in which Leporello (metaphor of the working man) and the Commendatore (metaphor of the underworld) serve as a counterbalance to Don Giovanni, a nonchalant and self-confident man».

By the end of May, the new programme of the Macerata Opera Festival 2020 #biancocoraggio will be announced. A few more days are needed to finalise this, also taking into account the latest government guidelines, the existing travel restrictions (which obviously affect artists and staff), the safeguarding of the agreements made and the necessary adjustments (which are implemented on a daily basis) to safely welcome both workers and audience members back to the Sferisterio arena.

Ticket sales will resume on June 8, 2020.

Original tickets for Don Giovanni remain valid. In the coming weeks, ticket holders will receive more information via email.

Tickets for the other two titles will instead be converted into vouchers valid for 18 months from the date of issue. These can be used for 2020 shows.


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