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Biennale Musica 2022: A Taste of Italy

A new show of Jules Verne by Giorgio Battistelli is performed by Ars Ludi. Music Press Asia

[A new show of Jules Verne by Giorgio Battistelli is performed by Ars Ludi. Music Press Asia]

The 66th International Festival of Contemporary Music Out of Stage was held last month from September 14th to 25th.

Directed by Lucia Ronchetti who described the music section of the Biennale: “delineate a wide perspective of contemporary music theatre and the role of new technologies, of multimedia, that includes the programming of virtual and augmented reality applied to sound, in new forms and genres codified by the composers involved in the festival”.

La Biennale Musica 2022 presented new works of experimental music theatre commissioned from Simon Steen-Andersen, Helena Tulve, Michel van der Aa, Paolo Buonvino and Annelies Van Parys — additionally to the Italian premieres of new projects by Alexander Schubert, Rino Murakami and Ondřej Adámek co-produced with other European institutions.

A new production of Jules Verne by Giorgio Battistelli, Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement 2022, will be performed by Ars Ludi, winner of the Silver Lion 2022, on the inaugural evening of the Festival at the Teatro La Fenice. The new production will feature the construction of large sound sets as part of the stage design by Angelo Linzalata.

[Kurdish-Iranian composer Mehdi Jalali performs with the tanbur, a spiritual instrument especially for prayers.]

Battistelli, the author of this chamber fantasy in the form of a performance inspired by Jules Verne, will appear in a new role as director. The work highlights his capacity to theatricalise the performing gesture, evoking the fantastical imagery that the world of rhythm can conjure, exploring the everyday reality we are immersed in with the capacity to transform it into a delicately poised, poetic compositional reality.

Ideally suited to interpret this new vision of percussion theatre are Antonio Caggiano, Rodolfo Rossi and Gianluca Ruggeri, founders and members of Ars Ludi, histrionic and charismatic musicians who consider every engagement to perform as an existential experience to be shared, in a spirit of fun and complicity, communicating to the public the need and the joy of being on stage, moving nimbly across the spectacular set that is their world, the ideal home for every hunter of sounds.

[Paul Hauptmeier presents a new site-specific sound installation that relies on augmented reality.]

The festival program also includes several classics of “instrumental theatre” by Mauricio Kagel, Georges Aperghis and works by composers recognized in this field such as Carola Bauckholt and François Sarhan.

There will be the voices of the Kurdish-Iranian composer Mehdi Jalali, of Yvette Janine Jackson, the American composer, representative of the Afro-Diasporic Experimentalism, of Klein, the Nigerian performer based in London, the American composer and producer of Taiwanese origin X.Lee, the composer of electronic music from Florence Daniele Carcassi and the group of Native American composers showcased by the collective project of the Shenandoah Conservatory.


“All artists who bring protest back to contemporary music theatre, in forms borrowed from pop music creation and non-academic musical experimentation, against disposession, abuse, the denial of rights, the refusal to acknowledge and respect sexual identity, all of which continue to take place before our very eyes. Biennale Musica 2022 wishes to offer some of these voices a place in which to express themselves, encouraging them to experiment with new forms of performance.”

Lucia Ronchetti, director of Biennale Musica.


For Biennale College: Paul Hauptmeier presents a new site-specific sound installation that relies on augmented reality; Timothy Cape and Daniil Posazhennikov will create two new works of instrumental theatre; Gemma Ragués a new work for the radio with performative aspects; Tania Cortés and Jacopo Cenni will be the authors of two experimental works that include visual and installation aspects; Kathryn Vetter, Dafne Paris, Federico Tramontana and Esther-Elisabeth Rispens will perform works of instrumental theatre by Georges Aperghis, François Sarhan and Carola Bauckholt.

[The Biennale art exhibition in Venice will end on 27 November 2022.]

The collaboration with Rai Radio3 has been renewed for the “Lezione di Musica” broadcasts – live from Sala delle Colonne, in the Biennale headquarters, with Giovanni Bietti and curated by Paola Damiani – and “Tre soldi”, five audio-documentaries made by Giovanna Natalini about the experiences of the young artists of Biennale College Musica.

Eleven young musicians under 25, from the Conservatories of Northern Italy under the guidance of the dramaturgist and music historian Guido Barbieri, have selected the winners of the Best Music Theatre Production Award and Best Performance Award among those featured in the programme. Winners are listed here.

For more information about La Biennale Musica 2022, visit their official website here.

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