The 36th edition of the Romaeuropa Festival
This year, the jam-packed line-up of the 36th edition of the Romaeuropa Festival is set to delight, inspire and entertain all ages from September 14th until November 21th, in full compliance with the anti-covid measures. A dazzling array of theatre, dance, circus, art, technology and music will be showcased at 16 different venues throughout the city.
This edition of the Romaeuropa Festival is one of the richest ever: 83 companies on stage, represented by 516 artists from 15 different countries , 86 original performances and 206 representations in 16 spaces in Rome, with 33,000 seats available for sale according to the current Italian distancing measures.
Expect a programme that combines the commitment to reschedule the events selected during the last edition of the festival that were not staged due to the health emergency, with a long list of new proposals aimed at revitalizing international collaborations – yet also with a new generation of Italian and foreign artists, bearers of novel languages, positions and visions.
The Opening – The First Week of the Festival
Signalling lightness, celebration and the wonder of nature, the 36th edition of the Romaeuropa Festival opens with a performance in the Cavea of the Auditorium Parco della Musica (from 14 to 16 September) entrusted to the large company of acrobats XY, together with choreographer Rachid Ouramdane: inspired by the flight of starlings, their Möbius is a whirling choreography, made up of reckless flights and towers of bodies accomplished by 19 performers on stage, at the crossroads between dance and acrobatics.
The inaugural week of the festival continues in the Cavea of the Auditorium, with some of the most important names in international arts: Israel Galván returns to alight the stage with his surrealist flamenco, alongside musician Niño de Elche; acclaimed British composer Max Richter presents a live spectacle dedicated to two of his greatest hits: The Blue Notebooks (together with Max Richter & Orchestra) and Recomposed by Max Richter – Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, an inebriating minimalist reinterpretation of Vivaldi’s masterpiece, performed live with the Finnish Baroque Orchestra.
During this first week the Romaeuropa Festival also partners with the new Villa Medici Film Festival at the French Academy, directed by Sam Stourdzé, in a dialogue between cinematic creation and visual arts, while at the Teatro Argentina the show Pieces of a Woman, commissioned for screenwriter Kata Wéber and director Kornél Mundruczó from TR Warszawa (one of the most important permanent companies in Europe), gives way to a dense programme of international theatre. Appreciated in its recent film version, the show interweaves, with delicacy and empathy, a family drama in which the centrality of female roles becomes a metaphor for the path of emancipation of all women.
International Theatre and the Italian Scene
The Teatro Argentina, yet again becomes the scene where Romaeuropa Festival 2021 presents and co-produces the first-ever theatrical creation by Gus Van Sant. The Oscar-winning director brings to the stage a musical theatre show inspired by Andy Warhol‘s career, an imaginary journey through facts, dreams and memories inhabited by iconic characters, such as actress Edie Sedgwick, North American writer Truman Capote and musician Lou Reed, interpreted by teenagers and young actors against the backdrop of the birth of Pop Art.
However, the international theatre programme of Romaeuropa Festival also represents a look at our present, in which fiction and reality, documentation and imagination come together, bringing to life disenchanted narratives of the world we inhabit. Thus, director Alexander Zeldin brings to the stage – with a delicate, ironic and moving gaze – fragments of the tragic and miraculous nature of the life of those families who reside in emergency accommodation; duo Azkona & Toloza, after having presented their work Tierras del Sud in REF2020 completes the Pacìfico trilogy, exploring the consequences of neo-colonialism and capitalism in Chile, Argentina and Brazil; Rimini Protokoll Company transforms the theatre into a useful medium for global cooperation by setting up a conference whose speakers are replaced by the public, thus eliminating travel and CO2 emissions; director Pedro Penim and dancer Filipe Pereira engage in two conferences/multimedia performances which are part of a format created by director Lola Arias for Teatro Praga, while experimental and performative expressions are proposed by German director Ersan Mondtag who in De Living transforms the last hours of a woman’s life into hypnotic and powerful images; and Mohamed El Khatib and Valérie Mréjen accompany us on a guided tour in which the lives of the guardians of major world museums are the protagonists.
Among the great figureheads of the Italian theatre scene, Ascanio Celestini anticipates the beginning of the celebrations for the centenary of the birth of Pierpaolo Pasolini by dedicating a show to his memory – presented in co-production with the Fondazione Musica per Roma – imagined as a museum in which the testimonies of a historian, a psychoanalyst, a writer, a professor and a criminologist who personally knew him come alive.
Showcased in co-production with Teatro di Roma are works by Carlotta Corradi and Andrea Collavino who reinterpret the story of the teen sex scandal in the Parioli district of Rome; Daria Deflorian and Antonio Tagliarini in dialogue with a giant of Italian cinema, Federico Fellini, and Elvira Frosini and Daniele Timpano who recreate the legacy of the French Revolution with their customary cynicism and irony; after her debut in the Anni Luce section curated by Maura Teofili, Fabiana Iacozzilli returns to the stage with a dynamic outlook on parenting and on the choice and desire to be or not to be a mother (in co-procuction with Fabbrica dell’Attore – Teatro Vascello); and Dante Antonelli, with the second chapter of a journey inspired by the work of Mishima Yukio, confronting the themes of identity and breaking of social conventions.
International Dance and new European trends
The festivals’ encounters with the greats of international dance also develop in the form of a dialogue with music, cultural crossover and a multidisciplinary scope: South African choreographer Dada Masilo presents an unusual reinterpretation of Stravinsky’s La Sagra della Primavera , channelling the ritual energy of Tswana dance and that of her origins and identity; Dorotheé Munyaneza gathers the stories of dancers and singers of different nationalities on stage to build a space for female freedom and vindication; Brazilian choreographer Alice Ripoll presents with her company – built in the Favela of Rio – a ritual on exodus, rebirth and resistance; while American choreographer Trajal Harrell arrives for the first time at the festival with a new choreography in discourse with Keith Jarrett’s famous composition The Köln Concert ( both events are presented in co-production with the Teatro di Roma).
Emanuel Gat also returns to the festival with a contemporary “musical” built on the successful hits of iconic band Tears for Fears; Olivier Dubois with his portrait of contemporary Egypt (created in close collaboration with the artistic center B’sarya, located in Alexandria), has 8 dancers interact with 3 musicians from Mahraganat, a musical style created by young Egyptians from the popular districts of Cairo; and Claudia Castellucci (Societas) weaves an interplay between her dance company Mòra and the Cantori del Coro Bizantino di musicAeterna of San Pietersburg.
The return of the minimalist and perceptive style of Greek choreographer Christos Papadopoulos, the hypnotic elegance of duo Maria Campos and Guy Nader, the Manifesto Cannibale of the italian CollectivO CineticO led by Francesca Pennini on the chemistry of plants, and the musical dialogues of Jesús Rubio Gamo – all four among the most relevant discoveries of Dancing Days– open the doors to this section of the festival curated by Francesca Manica and dedicated to the identity of a new European generation of dancers and choreographers, united by a formal and thematic research aimed at exploring one’s “self” , but also to the rediscovery of a community characterized by new co-dwellings and collaborations.
Mirroring these reflections are the performances of Ginevra Panzetti and Enrico Ticconi (in the context of Aerowaves); of Sofia Nappi and Davide Valrosso (in co-production with Teatro Biblioteca Quarticciolo); of Victor Černický, Stefania Tansini, Iris Karayan and Collettivo Mine; as well as Connor Schumacher – among the most popular choreographers of his generation and part of a broader focus dedicated to the Netherlands- and of Simona Bertozzi and Roberto Castello – among the most significant representatives of the Italian choreographic scene – debuting their new show Inferno: a journey through the labyrinths of the ego, its stupidity and beauty, presenting a triptych with different pathways intertwined in a rhythmic continuum.
Other Movements – Kids & Family
Creating a poetic, fragile, intimate and dreamy universe, as always suspended between theatre, acrobatics and dance, Franco-Catalan company Baro d’evel returns to the festival with the dreamy Mazùt, while choreographer Sue Buckmaster presents a version for families of Akram Khan Dance Company’s latest show Xenos, in a preview of the expected return of the Kids & Family section- curated by Stefania Lo Giudice – which immerses children in contemporary creative languages. The programme includes the company Finzi Pasca (among the most acclaimed and important new circus formations in the world), as well as Direzione Quattrox4– Fabrizio Rosselli, Locomoctavia, Teatro Viola, Transadriatica, Teatro del Carretto with the historic show Biancaneve and Oorkaan / Percossa with their show of musical theatre The Box Brothers (within the focus on the Theatre of the Netherlands that runs throughout Romaeuropa Festival 2021).
Starting with a novel exploration of the languages and new trends of Italian pop- curated by Giulia Di Giovanni, Line Up! conveys some of the most interesting contributions by women to a scene characterized by a collaborative spirit and an international scope. An invitation to lightness, a return to the party scene through the music of artists such as Rachele Bastreghi, the female soul of Baustelle, with the first Roman date of her new solo album Psychodonna; Emmanuelle, one of the most interesting DJs of the Italian scene with her live eclectic, sensual and dreamy creations; Ditonellapiaga on stage with the thousand facets of her identity, as fluid as the music she always produces, poised between reggaeton, rap, pop and dance; the unclassifiable and provocative Boyrebecca with the cross-pollination between tradition and avant-pop; and of LA NIÑA with its fusion of Neapolitan song and international pop; and finally, Bluem whose minimal electronica resurects the atavistic and ancestral sounds of Sardinia.
Furthermore, a dedication to the protagonists of Italian music is Le parole delle canzoni of the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana founded by Giovanni Treccani and presented for the first time live at the Romaeuropa Festival in the enchanting setting of Villa Medici: a cycle of dialogues between musicians and writers inaugurated by Mahmood – with his 15 platinum records, 6 gold records and over 400 million streaming fans, one of the most important exponents of urban pop songwriting – pioneering a dialogue between lyrics and words in his upcoming album Ghettolimpo, alongside the writer and candidate for the Premio Strega, Teresa Ciabatti.
These performances are followed by live and streaming encounters with rapper and writer Amir Issaa and another writer in the running for the 2021 Premio Strega, Giulia Caminito; singer and actress Margherita Vicario, together with the Italo-Ghanaian writer, feminist and cultural activist Djarah Kan; singer-songwriter and winner of the 201 Targa Tenco for the first work category Fulminacci, on his second album after participating in the Sanremo 2021 Festival together with Alice Urciuolo – among the screenwriters of SKAM Italia and also in contention for the Strega Prize with Adorazione; and finally, acclaimed singer-songwriter Milan-based Ginevra, from Turin.
Donato Dozzy and Eva Geist also explore the Italian songwriting tradition together in Il Quadro di Troisi, a tribute to minimalist electronica and songs from the Eighties, to the Disco of that decade and to the songs of artists such as Matia Bazar, Battiato and Alice. The live showcase is presented in the context of Digitalive, the section curated by Federica Patti, which this year returns to explore digital cultures, leading us into the experimental and electronic sounds of artists such as Not Waving aka Alessio Natalizia, presenting her latest album How To Leave Your Body; Dutch techno musician and composer Colin Benders and Italian Marta De Pascalis with a live version of a recently released fourth album.
Between the real and the virtual stage, Digitalive presents in collaboration with Festival VRE- Virtual Reality Experience the show Così è (o mi pare) – Pirandello in VR by Elio Germano, whose visionary experience combining the personal and the collective, the filmic and the performative, explores new reflections on Pirandello’s take on reality; and the performance Object Oriented Choreography by Francesco Luzzana – winner of the second edition of RE: Humanism Art Prize. Online, performances by Mara Oscar Cassiani, a wi-fi based artist with a vaporwave aesthetic; Fuse * with the third episode in an immersive trilogy of live media performance; and finally, Umanesmo Articiale presenting an artistic and digital exploration of the ancient Via Flaminia.
Instead, Gianni Maroccolo and Antonio Aiazzi with their Mephisto Ballad (in the presence of director and actor Giancarlo Cauteruccio and with a tribute to Franco Battiato), take us on a post punk rock and New Wave trip between minimalism, electronica and darkness towards the more experimental sounds and contemporary classical compositions of the festival; DJ and producer Clark moves away from his maximalist experiments to re-confront contemporary classical music, with a live presentation of his latest album published by Deutsche Grammophon; Company Fanny & Alexander presents for Muziektheater Transparant and together with soprano Claron McFadden and composer Emanuele Wiltsch Barberio a musical performance built as a gallery of contemporary lamentations that recall the theme of suffering ranging from Monteverdi to Bach, from Nina Simone to Giovanni Legrenzi passing through Barbaro Strozzi and Arvo Pärt; and the return of Fabrizio Ottaviucci presents a fourth event dedicated to the Treatise by Cornelius Cardew accompanied, this time, by the performance of Concetto Spaziale, Attese by composer Nicola Sani.
Showcased are another two tributes dedicated by the PMCE – Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble, thanks to a co-production with the Fondazione Musica per Roma, to two giants of Italian music: Florentine composer Sylvano Bussotti (a tribute to his nintieth year) and Maestro Ezio Bosso (a little over a year after his death). Finally, Romaeuropa Festival 2021 presents two performances by the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia: Omaggio a Piazzolla with Archi and the Choro dell’ Academia (bandonéon Richard Galliano, recital Tommaso Ragno, director Piero Monti) on the occasion of the centenary of the composer’s birth; and Buddha Passion by Tan Dun, a concert presented by the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia which presents the Grammy Award and Oscar Award-winning soundtrack composer engaged with the Orchestra and Coro di Voci Bianche dell’Academia with a monumental choral piece in Chinese and Sanskrit, inspired by the ancient Chinese city Dunhuang and its Mogao Caves, where he spent two years immersed in observing, researching, documenting and translating manuscripts of the library.
The Grand Finale
The Grand Finale of the Romaeuropa Festival 2021 is still focused on music, taking place over two days at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, presenting the young composer Vittorio Montalti, together with Blow Up Percussion and Tempo Reale; Edison Studio with their live performance of a soundtrack inspired by the restored images of the film Inferno based on La Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri by Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan and Guideppe De Liguoro; the linguistic exploration created by electronica genius Alva Noto in dialogue with the French writer and performer Anne James-Chaton; and, in co-production with Fondazione Musica Per Roma, a special live by Ensemble Intercontemporain, founded by Pierre Boulez in 1976, returning to the REf with a concert in which the music of Steve Reich converses with video images produced by German painter Gerhard Richter– one of the greatest living contemporary artists.
Romaeuropa Festival 2021
From September 14 till November 21
AUDITORIUM PARCO DELLA MUSICA – MAXXI – MATTATOIO – TEATRO ARGENTINA – TEATRO BIBLIOTECA QUARTICCIOLO – TEATRO VITTORIA – TEATRO INDIA – TEATRO VASCELLO – VILLA MEDICI