Vicenza Opera Festival — Concept 


by Ivan Fis­ch­er, Artis­tic Director


It is like going back to the sources. The mag­nif­i­cent Teatro Olimpi­co has been com­plet­ed around 1600 while intel­lec­tu­als of the Flo­rence Cam­er­a­ta dis­cussed how to revive ancient Greek and Roman theatre.

Was this beau­ti­ful stage design built for one pro­duc­tion only?




For me the con­cept looks sim­i­lar to these ancient ruins:

If the build­ing looks the same, where is room for a stage set? Or do we need to focus on some­thing else? On the music, on the words, on the human drama?

The fact that a won­der­ful 16th Cen­tu­ry design fills the stage reduces our temp­ta­tion for Regi­ethe­ater. Here the focus of atten­tion must be clear­ly act­ing and music. We can turn the lim­i­ta­tion into a virtue: all styles of opera can be per­formed here but the back­drop will always be the same. There­fore the per­for­mance will have a dif­fer­ent feel. Where­as in opera hous­es all over the world the music is the same and the visu­al image is dif­fer­ent in each pro­duc­tion — here the visu­al image will have to be the con­stant ele­ment and the music and act­ing will have to offer the vari­ety. Fascinating.

This the­atre is one of the great­est trea­sures of Europe. In the last years of his life, Clau­dio Abba­do and I had many con­ver­sa­tions about Ital­ian theaters.
He was wor­ried that many beau­ti­ful build­ings were emp­ty and unused and felt a strong respon­si­bil­i­ty that these love­ly opera hous­es should again be filled with life and per­for­mances. It was this great con­duc­tor and won­der­ful col­league who turned my atten­tion to Ital­ian towns where a new opera fes­ti­val could be created.

Here in Vicen­za, I found a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to real­ize this plan: an opera fes­ti­val where the sur­round­ings lead us back to the sources: to cre­ate a bal­ance of music and dra­ma with­out unnec­es­sary addi­tions to a performance.

It has to be Octo­ber because the sum­mer is too hot and the win­ter is too cold. I ful­ly agree that the the­atre must be care­ful­ly pre­served and no heat­ing or cool­ing sys­tem should be built in here.

We will engage the best inter­na­tion­al singers, cos­tume design­ers, musi­cians who will all love this spec­tac­u­lar build­ing. (I am sure that they will hap­pi­ly accept that there are no com­fort­able dress­ing rooms in this old the­atre.) In the first fes­ti­val we will pro­duce one pro­duc­tion. From the sec­ond year we will offer two. The reper­toire should cov­er all peri­ods from Mon­tever­di to con­tem­po­rary operas.

We will offer an alter­na­tive to the usu­al trends of the inter­na­tion­al opera scene. We will share Palladio’s mag­ic with the world. The Teatro Olimpi­co was built for per­for­mances — we shall fill this space again with music and drama.

© 2018  Vicenza Opera Festival

© 2018  Vicenza Opera Festival