Grand finale tomorrow Saturday 23 July at 9.00 pm, in the suggestive Piazza del Municipio of Castell'Arquato, of the IX edition of the Illica Festival dedicated to the great librettist and journalist Luigi Illica

Great success with the public in the various activities developed so far by this edition of the Illica Festival of Castell'Arquato which, like every year, pays homage to the librettist and journalist Luigi Illica born in the splendid medieval village.

On Saturday 23 July, the monumental Town Hall Square of Castell'Arquato will be the setting for the Opera Le Maschere by Pietro Mascagni. A work rarely represented and built on a libretto by Luigi Illica that the Artistic Director of the Jacopo Brusa Festival, considers revolutionary: "it is a 'alternative work", says Brusa, who will direct The Masks, "in which the use of the metatheatre allows the listener to identify with the characters of the Commedia dell'Arte and to lightly investigate political aspects of contemporary life too".

The work will stage a bizarre pilgrimage into the world of the Commedia dell’Arte: instead of the usual realistic subjects, in strong colors, a disenchanted reinterpretation of the Venetian 'bautte'. The musical vocabulary of the opera takes up the ancient styles - madrigal, folk dances, dances and Bellini bel canto - and the Verdi's Falstaff, the reference model.

On stage, the Mayor of Castell'Arquato Giuseppe Bersani will introduce the evening, who will then leave the floor to the Vice President of the Piacenza and Vigevano Foundation Mario Magnelli, the Councilor for Culture and Tourism Gilda Bojardi and the Director of the newspaper Libertà Pietro Visconti.

It will then be the Master Jacopo Brusa to conduct and direct Le Maschere.

Le Maschere: the protagonists of the Opera Evening on 23 July

The protagonists of the final evening of the Festival will be the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini orchestra, conducted by Maestro Jacopo Brusa and the KorMalta - Malta National Choir. The opera, directed by Giulio Ciabatti, will feature Alberto Mastromarino (Tartaglia / Giocadio), Marta Leung (Rosaura), Matteo Falcier (Florindo), Angelo Veccia (Il Capitan Spaventa), Anna Maria Sarra (Colombina), Roberto Covatta (Arlecchino Battocchio), Francesco Leone (Pantalone De 'Bisognosi), Raffaele Feo (Brighella), Lorenzo Liberali (Doctor Graziano).

During the evening, two initiatives dedicated to young people will be announced, starring Luigi Illica, on the one hand as journalist and critic and on the other as librettist.

Master in Journalism from IULM University with the guidance of Giangiacomo Schiavi

To tell the journalistic work of Luigi Illica, the IULM University of Milan, Rector Gianni Canova, under the aegis of the Department of Culture and Tourism, has planned a research which will involve the first year students of the Master in Journalism, directed by Daniele Manca, Deputy Director of Corriere della Sera.

Led by Giangiacomo Schiavi, columnist for the Milanese daily, the students will immerse themselves in the Corriere archive and in the library databases to study Illica's journalistic production. The result will be a dedicated publication, presented in 2023 in conjunction with the 33rd biennial edition of the Luigi Illica Award and the X Illica Festival.

International Composition Competition "Il 3001".

In collaboration with the Passerini Landi Library in Piacenza, young composers under 40 will try their hand at putting to music a unpublished libretto entitled Il 3001, written by Luigi Illica around 1908.

In this libretto, full of ideas for a contemporary musical language, Illica told how, in a hypothetical future, the population would be regulated by 'limiters' of emotions, proper names would be replaced by numbers and humanity would no longer be divided by political parties or religions but by diseases.

The Jury, announced during the evening, will announce in November 2022 the winning composition, which will see the first performance during the X edition of the Illica Festival 2023.