What you don't see of the most important television event in Italy: the Sanremo Festival 2023 told as a project (from behind the scenes)

It's time for the Sanremo Festival 2023. A prodigious design machine, starting with the economic investment, which costs Italian public television around 7.3 million euros (for 38 million in revenues).

What we see together with millions of other people is the result of a work that begins every year months before. The 73rd edition was once again entrusted to Amadeus, which in recent years has redesigned the event to become increasingly transversal and transgenerational.

The 2023 Sanremo Festival behind the scenes

Work starts in August. The starting signal is the appointment of the artistic director, who gives the imprint to all the subsequent planning work and obviously also takes care of the selection of the songs in the competition, together with an orchestra conductor.

Amadeus has made a small revolution in the latest editions involving even very young and non-melodic artists. The young Italian talent, starting with the Måneskin, has attracted an audience that the Festival was unable to attract before.

It is probably the only television event followed by an under 30 audience.

The artistic director has a fundamental role

All the presenters who have come and gone in recent years are music experts. The line of the Festival is decided in collaboration with RAI, but even Pippo Baudo personally followed the selection, listened to the songs together with the artists, advised. Amadeus was born as a DJ: for him it is a spontaneous attitude.

As well as his choice to expand the musical genres at the Festival, to truly represent every part of Italian culture.

A team of 4 or 5 people works with the artistic director: the authors of the texts, the musicians, the resident conductor (Leonardo De Amicis) who is a consultant in listening to the songs.

And he has the task of forming the orchestra of 40 elements: a huge job. About ninety pieces are played in the six episodes of the Festival. The music that is heard from the Sanremo stage is an incredible combination of different musical tastes and is a faithful portrait of what is done in Italy today.

The weight of the music majors on the organization of Sanremo

We tend to forget that the Sanremo Festival is a television event and is constructed as such. The music labels joined in the running, they received a substantial budget from RAI to cover the out-of-pocket expenses of the artists and from that moment on they took care of everything related to the performance of their singers. Logistics, stay, rehearsals, make up, costumes, musicians, choreography and musical direction.

This guarantees participation also for independent labels

Anyone can go to Sanremo if he has a good song. But normally the independent houses, in this case, work alongside the majors for distribution and some parts of the marketing. However, most of the artists are in the hands of multinationals: Sony, for example, this year has 18 artists out of 28 participants in the competition.

Each artist has a dedicated team at his disposal

The Ariston is a very small theatre, flows are managed by a timed badge system which allows teams to enter only one hour before going on stage. The confusion would otherwise be unmanageable, as well as dangerous.

In addition, each singer brings with him a large group of professionals made up of assistants, press office, make-up artists, tailors.

And obviously the professionals who take care of the technical part: the sound directors (each artist works only with one person who deals with the regulation of the transmitted sound), the musicians, their own conductor.

On stage there is only the singer and the orchestra of the Festival. Where does everyone else work?

The control room is on the second floor. You never think about it, but those who work there don't see the event live. The management booth is made up of a series of technological decks from which a team controls the airing. Some professional figures, such as that of the sound director, alternate artist after artist.

The Sanremo Festival is broadcast worldwide

The Festival began as a small event inside the city casino in the 1950s. The songs were the engine of his success.

Volare by Gaetano Modugno has been around the world countless times. The Italian song, with its ups and downs, is an international phenomenon and is widely followed abroad.

A truly important event for RAI

It is the RAI event par excellence. All the most innovative audiovisual technologies for entertainment are presented at the Sanremo Festival.

It's a bit like the Milan Design Week, in a worldwide version. No musical stage has the attention of 12 million viewers all at once and focused on the same event. An unmissable opportunity.

The sets, the lights, the digital audiovisual part are the ne plus ultra of the entertainment industry

The historic set designer of Sanremo is Gaetano Maria Castelli, who has been working with his daughter Maria Chiara for about ten years.

He edited twenty-one editions : a record. This year the project focuses  on the upper part of the stage, with a self-propelled hyper-technological dome, integrated with the light design.

There are the iconic parts, the staircase and the orchestra.

However, Castelli's project for the edition builds a visual relationship with the audience around it, which almost becomes part of the scenography. A ploy that has made it possible to safeguard a few more rows of seats.

A sore subject for the Teatro Ariston, which is truly a small provincial opera house and it is the optics of the cameras that make it look impressive and spectacular.