Maggio (May in Italian) has just begun and its start reminded me of one the most interesting art festivals, happening in Florence in this period: Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Here is a little description of what the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is… so, if you happen to be in Florence in this period of the year, enjoy it!
Trust me – if you are an opera lover – it is worth an international flight!
For any more information and for the May 2015 program, you can click here.
Origins – Why “Maggio”?
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is the modern result of the old “joie de vivre” brought by the spring season. In ancient Florence, in fact, spring was welcomed with flowers, dances, music and theatre performances. Calendimaggio – this is how this ancient spring festival was called – used to begin on April 30 with the suspension of all commercial and craft activities and the beginning of parades and processions through the streets. Songs – called “maggi” – were sung in the streets by brigades of young girls, directed by new or soon-to-be brides.
Besides Florence, Calendimaggio was more generically a tradition of Tuscany and of some other regions of Italy, such as Emilia Romagna and Liguria.
Some history and the “Maggio” nowadays
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was founded in April 1933, by the patron Luigi Ridolfi Vay and by the conductor Vittorio Gui. It is the second oldest art festival – after Salzburg’s – and the first music festival in Italy.
The first editions of the festival were organised every three years. Starting from 1937, though, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino became an annual event.
The original aim was to present contemporary and forgotten operas in visually dramatic productions. Nowadays, the Maggio is one of the most prestigious events of operas, concerts, ballets and shows.
Performances mainly take place in the Teatro Comunale, in the Teatro Piccolo (for smaller-scale operas), and in the historical Teatro della Pergola. Major events are held in the new Opera House.
The principal conductor, since 1985, is the Indian artist, Zubin Mehta.
Article by: Roberto