From 26th June to 12th July, in the theatres, in the cloisters and squares of the beautiful Umbrian town, the internationally renowned Festival dei Due Mondi.

“A long-established event with a constantly renewed spirit, except for its settings and the love for beauty. An event to come together under the sound of voices and music, to drift away among the calls of the swallows high up over the squares, in these half-shaded alleys.” This is how Giorgio Ferrara, festival director for the 8th year, presented the 58th edition of this extraordinary international performing arts event.
Once again Spoleto opens its doors and hosts the finest artists from all over the world in its squares, its opera theatres, its deconsecrated churches, in its cloisters, in its Roman theatre and fortress.

Art, opera, theatre, music, dance from the two worlds. Two: on the two sides of the Atlantic. This one, when in the years after the Second World War maestro Menotti created the festival and many other worlds or perhaps just one large global universe, today. A universe that can identify itself and gather together as shown by the twinning starting with this edition between the Beiteddine Art Festival – one of the most renowned cultural events in the Middle East over the past 30 years – and the Spoleto Festival. A twinning that is a tangible partnership for a new shared art platform for the Middle East and Europe. Because culture, this culture, is also courage, a will to go beyond set limits, the ability to imagine new dimensions.

The Spoleto Festival is backed by those who strongly believe in the effectiveness and courage of culture, by those who share the same passion for art, beauty and talent. And once again this year, Monini will promote the Festival by supporting the art of dance. At the Roman Theatre with the gala performance Dans les Pas de Noureev, the Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse will bring back to life the choreographies of Rudolf Nureyev, in a journey through the most important moments of his repertoire: from the act "of the Shades" from La Bayadère, his true artistic legacy to pas de deux, to The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet and the definitive test of ballet technique as in the "black swan" pas de trois from the third act of Swan Lake. Finally, the gruelling pas de deux from the third act of Don Quixote. Shizen Kazama, a very young talent who will play the role of prince Siegfried in the pas de trois of the black swan, will be given the special recognition of the Monini Award Una Finestra su Due Mondi (A Window on Two Worlds). The winner of the 6th edition of the Award is Juliette Gréco. The sublime muse of French existentialism will greet the public from the window of Menotti's home, as did the Maestro and as do leading international celebrities every year. At this year's Festival, Gréco gives “Merci”, the farewell performance of this unique artist who interpreted the most beautiful songs of Jacques Brel and the great poems of Queneau, Sartre and Prévert.

Theatre, poetry and music blend together. The boundaries between the arts fade and disappear. In The Sea is blue, the show that Adriana Asti dedicates to the play by Bertolt Brecht, theatre, poetry, songs, piercing fragments and observations about the world and art are a true literary biography.
Letter to a man, another project commissioned by the Festival, is a play from The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky, played by Mikhail Baryshnikov and edited and directed by Robert Wilson. Here, movement, text, light, space and music are equal parts of the same poem. Because, as Wilson says: "all theatre is dance".

Spoleto is home to both classic and contemporary performing arts. The music ranges from the Midday Concerts in the Chiesa di Sant’Eufemia and the evening concerts in the Chiostro di San Nicolò, all devoted to Beethoven and his contemporaries who were overshadowed by his immense figure, to the La Dolce vita concert, which, with music by Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, Luis Bacalov and Nicola Piovani, pays homage to the finest tribute ever made to the soundtracks from Italian cinema.
Great classics, but new interpretations for opera and the big final concert in piazza Duomo with two timeless symphonies, the Unfinished Symphony by Shubert and Brahms' Symphony No. 4 performed by Fiesole's Italian youth orchestra directed by Jeffrey Tate, one of the most refined conductors worldwide.
While the long-awaited new production of Così Fan Tutte by Mozart and directed by Giorgio Ferrara, will inaugurate the Festival.

Here everything is expressed at the highest levels of excellence – starting from the poster designed by renowned Colombian artist Botero, who created the 48 large plaster sculptures on display in the Cappella Palatina di San Ponziano, in the Palazzo Comunale, in the Sala dello Spagna and the Sala dei Duchi. This exhibition is maybe the broadest synthesis of his sculptural work.

There are two new productions devoted to Pier Paolo Pasolini, 40 years after his death: the Porcile, directed by Valerio Binasco and Il Vantone with Ninetto Davoli. A perhaps little known translation of one of Plautus' comedies that the great intellectual translated in the Roman dialect, providing us with a biting and almost farcical “social comedy”.

Great social issues and current affairs will be at the centre of the talks by Paolo Mieli and the interviews with his guests. And Europe, its identity and its contradictions are at the heart of the monologue by Bernard-Henri Lévy. Hotel Europe is a sort of stream of consciousness lasting about two hours during which the French philosopher prepares his speech about Europe, “there's everything he can think of, both trivial and serious, one of Heidegger's philosophical concepts and the smile of a woman he loved, until a flash of inspiration provides a way out of the impasse”.

Kamp, by the Dutch Hotel Modern theatre company, uses a scale model of the Auschwitz camp to look at the world from a macro perspective view. A unique theatrical approach: a huge plastic model on the stage where, like giants, the actors move around small puppets to represent the largest ever mass murder committed in a town specifically built for the purpose.

Great early 20th century classics will be brought on stage as well: The Duel by Joseph Conrad, “a masterpiece of the absurd about how life and fate slip through our fingers beyond common sense and predictability”, but also a play on rivals and the journey into adulthood, as “the fiercest rival is inside you and you cannot free yourself from it”. And a century after the same quest for identify, but an opposing sense of bewilderment: Blue Smoke, by MaMa Umbria International, is a view of the lives of two thirty-year-olds who are not able to bring a deep change into their lives as they are immersed in this “blue smoke”, an imaginary mist that blurs their view and spirit, concealing the horizon.

Art and beauty know no limits. Space and time cannot contain them. This is a festival where classic and contemporary meet, blend together and interact by bringing new meanings to contact and feelings.

So in the bare early Christian basilica of San Salvatore, the characters of Joyce's Dubliners come one after the other, like a parade, in the show created and directed by Giancarlo Sepe. Eleonora Abbagnato, principal of the Opéra de Paris will perform an original and delicate choreography by Roland Petit in the Roman Theatre. And a few nights later, Sara Baras will sweep away the audience with her flamenco and passion. At the La MaMa Umbria Theatre, the Italian branch of the renowned experimental theatre group based in New York, a group of very young artists promoting new forms of contemporary street art will perform in a show that questions the meaning of prayer.

In the theatre of San Nicolò, the amazing and extravagant Russian Semianyki company with clowns and mimes will guide us on a long journey by train through an imaginary universe, similar to that of Gogol.

In the gardens of the Casina dell’Ippocastano, Astad Deebo, a name synonymous with Contemporary Indian Music, celebrates a ritual performance that recalls the spirit of nature and is an appeal to respect your planet. At the Teatro Nuovo, Karima Skalli and the Asil Ensemble will perform in a Sufi concert with three Burdas, cycles of songs combining poetry and music, drawing inspiration from great Arab poets and composers.

Once again, Spoleto fascinates us and amazes us. Once again… as Juliette Gréco, we would like to say “merci”:

Once again
Standing in the darkness
Holding together our cold hands
Listening to the curtain as it rises
Once again
Slowly moving forward into the light
Towards you
Once again
They are with you! Time stops

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