Festival Illica takes place each year at Castell’Arquato, the town where Luigi Illica – creator of librettos for Giacomo Puccini, Umberto Giordano, Pietro Mascagni, Alfredo Catalani, author of Tosca, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, Andrea Chénier, Iris, Le Maschere and La Wally – was born in 1857.
On Monday 29 July the medieval town celebretes the centenary of Illica’s death (1919-2019) with a Gala d'Opera. The evening will also feature the assignment of the XXXI Premio Luigi Illica for personalities in the field of opera and cultural life. Past winners include Riccardo Muti, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Franco Zeffirelli and, more recently, Leo Nucci.
The highest honor of Premio Illica, the Illica d’Oro, has been assigned this year to the Academy Award winner Ennio Morricone. The Premio Illica went to Philippe Daverio, art historian, cultural administrator and television personality, and to Marco Tutino, the most prolific Italian opera composer of the postwar era. The winning opera singers are: Aprile Millo, soprano, ‘queen’ of the Metropolitan Opera of New York for two decades, Stefano Secco, one of the Italian tenors of greatest international acclaim, and Lucio Gallo, interpreter of Mozart, Puccini and the 20th-century repertoire.
The singers, together with mezzosoprano Sarah M. Punga, will share the Gala stage with emerging voices: the sopranos Maria Luisa Malfatti and Chiara Mogini, the Egyptian tenor Ragaa El Din, the Spanish tenor Facundo Munoz and the Italian baritone Jaime Eduardo Pialli.
Spain’s Sergio Alapont will conduct the orchestra I Musici di Parma in an evening that alternates popular arias and duets by Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Verdi, Georges Bizet and Umbero Giordano with songs by Nino Rota and Riz Ortolani from the best-loved films by the great Premio Illica winner who recently passed away, Franco Zeffirelli, such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna.”
Art direction by the director and writer Vivien Hewitt, an expert on Puccini who works with theaters all over the world.
The evening will be presented by Paolo Zoppi, musicologist and artistic director of Club dei 27 of Parma.
In the program of the Festival, there are also two collateral events: on Wednesday 24 July, at Piazza del Municipio at 21.00, the concert Omaggio a Illica e Puccini of the young American and Canadian singers of Accademia Operavision Millo - Vetere in collaboration with Renata Tebaldi Fondazione Museo in Busseto is free of charge.
On Thursday 25 July at the Biblioteca Comunale, also on Piazza del Municipio, at 18.00, Lettere ad Illica is an encounter in which Massimo Baucia, conservator of the Fondo Antico of Biblioteca Passerini Landi of Piacenza, will talk about the letters of the librettist conserved in the Fondo Illica (also free of charge).
The event is organized by Comune di Castell’Arquato with the collaboration of the Pro Loco and the support of Fondazione di Piacenza e Vigevano, Regione Emilia Romagna, the authorization of Provincia di Piacenza and the sponsorship of Reale Mutua Assicurazioni. Interni, the magazine of interiors and contemporary design of Gruppo Mondadori, is the event’s media partner.
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Tel. +39 0523 803215, Tuesday-Sunday h. 10-13/h. 14-18; Tel. +39 347 8250724
Tel. +39 0523 385130, Monday-Friday h. 8,30-18; Tel. +39 335 8008442
Ticket pick-up: Ufficio Turistico, Piazza Municipio 3, Castell’Arquato
Tel. +39 0523 803215, Tuesday-Sunday h. 10-13/h. 14-18
Ticket price: numbered seats €35.00 – non-numbered €20.00