Italian popular song, psalms, and traditional instruments will lift the curtain of shows at the XXXIII edition of the Meeting. An Italy able to rediscover the roots of her first 150 years of life, without rhetoric, but with great attention to the history of her people, of her “being a people,” from Dante to Neapolitan songs, from the Renaissance to processions: this is what will be on stage in the great inaugural show It’s a Feast, created and directed by Ambrogio Sparagna and Davide Rondoni, that will take place Sunday, August 21 in Cavour square in Rimini, thus going back to the heart of the city as we used to do in past editions. This choice was dictated by the desire to propose this showcase of Italy’s great traditional music within the very veins of the city, close to its social fabric. “This event,” said one of the organizers, “will have the characteristics of a great popular feast, of joy and harmony for telling the beauty of being together, the communion of being together and the strength that can be found, through music, to face difficult moments. It will be the music of popular songs of the Italian tradition that from north to south try to build this multi-faceted, yet true identity, something that only religious songs can do.”
One of the world renown scholars of traditional music, Ambrogio Sparagna will be on the Meeting stage as he was two years ago, with an orchestra of piano organs, mandolins, bagpipes and ciaramellas, hurdy gurdy and tamburello, and will be accompanied by poet Davide Rondoni in the choice and discussion of the great moments of Italian poetry. The show, the only one scheduled for the inaugural day, opens a series of twenty-six events of classical and pop music, theatre, cinema, and dance: for the first time at the Meeting there will be Argentinian tango and the performance of one of the greatest folk groups in the world, the Chieftains.
But let’s go in chronological order: the second day of the Meeting, August 22, will propose a forgotten text of one of the greatest European writers, Gilbert Keith Chesterton. It’s The Ballad of the White Horse, a poem dated 1911 which continues the Meeting’s ambition to be a place of rediscovery and stimulating rereading for an authentic cultural search. Written to evoke the story of the legendary king Alfred, who in the Valley of the White Horse defeated the barbarian invaders in the ninth century, the poem will see Genoa actor Massimo Popolizio in the part of the narrator who represents fear and the fight against “those who bring destruction and darkness,” as destroyer of a civilization and the desire for humanity and greatness that lies behind it.
From the old Englishman to a young Korean: Monday, a very intense day, will also feature a concert by Kim Dong Kyu, a pianist of Oriental origin who immigrated to Germany, recent winner of the San Marino international piano competition, considered one of the best contemporary interpreters of Schumann, Liszt, and Stravinsky.
The closing event on Monday will be dedicated to the young: on stage will be Zero Assoluto – aka Thomas De Gasperi and Matteo Maffucci – with their elegant and contagious Italian pop, strong of successful songs such as Svegliarsi la mattina, Cos’è normale, and Appena prima di partire.
Opera, literature, and tango will be protagonists on Tuesday August 23. For the great audience of opera lovers, the orchestra of the royal theatre of Parma will perform some of the most well-known arias of the world opera tradition, from Verdi to Donizetti, from Rossini to Mascagni. The title of the evening is taken from L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) by Gaetano Donizetti: “What more searching do I want?”. Less noble progeny of the musical muses, tango is no less rich of emotions, as Astor Piazzolla and Gardel taught: writer and dancer from Bologna Carlotta Santandrea will bring to the Meeting the profound magic of this Argentinian art form that combines Hispanic songs with Latin-American rhythms in a mélange of romanticism and passion that is hard to resist. Tuesday afternoon Andrea Soffiantini and Paola Scaglione will propose Scolpire le parole (Sculpting words), a theatrical homage to Eugenio Corti, Lombardy writer who authored Few Returned and The Red Horse, in a show in which words and roots of the land and of the Italian people intertwine with historical facts of the XX century.
The main event of the Wednesday, August 24 will be the stories and the music of the Chieftains. The Irish group led by Paddy Moloney is one of the authentic institutions of international music, as old as the Rolling Stones, able to go from a simple performance to collaboration with U2. The Chieftains’ participation at the Meeting will have a peculiar form: on stage with them, in fact, will be an Irish dance group that will complete the audience’s possibility of fully immersing in the traditional sounds and rhythms of the land of St. Patrick.
Also on Wednesday is another international appointment: Andrea Maria Carabelli will bring to the stage Job or torture from friends, a text by French writer and philosopher Fabrice Hadjadj dedicated to an actualization of the biblical figure of Job. The vocation of the Meeting to look for talent who can talk about reality through camera is confirmed also this year with the Award Gala of the Meeting Rimini Film Festival at its fourth edition. Joint to the Encuentro festival of Madrid, the Film Festival will be presided this year by one of the most important directors of world cinematography, Krzysztof Zanussi (director of memorable pictures such as The Structure of Crystals, Spirala, The Constant Factor, From a Far Country, and Persona non Grata). The Festival, which has received over one hundred short films from contenders in sixty countries, will not be the only appointment for cinema lovers who, during the week, will also be able to see (or see once more) two great artistic works: Welcome by Philippe Lionert (August 22) and Of Gods and Men by Xavier Beauvois (August 23)
The evening of Thursday August 25 will see on stage one of the more sensitive and cultured songwriters of the last musical generations of Italy, Nicolò Fabi. The Roman songwriter, a wonderful author and interpreter of important albums such as Il giardiniere and Novo Mesto, is a new name at the Riminese event, but one who will bring to the Meeting a taste for a music that is rich in humanity, cultured and accurate in its musical notation, profound and true in its stories of search and hope. In addition to well-known Fabi, pop music brings to the stages of the Meeting a series of unknown names to be discovered such as the group from Riccione Controtempo (August 22), the Piedmont Brothers Band (that will perform its latest work Lights of your party on August 23), Cesare Aresi (with his latest Le cose della vita on August 24); finally, Riro Maniscalco, an Italian-New Yorker songwriter well-known to the Meeting audience, will present the blues of his recent Sketches of You (August 25).
The curtain on the Meeting stage will close with theatre and a very peculiar guest: Paolo Cevoli, a comedian from Riccione famous for his participation on the TV show Zelig, will bring voice, smile, and laugh to the final evening (August 26). Cevoli will bring to the stage his more recent show La Penultima Cena (The Second to last supper), a counter history of the “most important supper in the history of humanity.” Cevoli tells the story from the perspective of fictitious roman restaurant owner Publius Simplicius Marone and… it will be a sold-out event to remember, a perfect closing for the 2011 Meeting.