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The 2002 Muti Concert in New York

The 2002 Ravenna Festival will close at Ground Zero on 22 July
with the music of “Va Pensiero”

Ravenna and New York will be ideally united in the name of peace by
virtue of the unifying force of music by the ” bridge of
brotherhood along the roads of friendship” which, since 1997, the
Ravenna Festival has proffered to the people and populations of
countries tragically scarred by history. On 22 July, the Festival
will convey its message of solidarity and hope to the United States
city and the entire world, devastated and appalled by the Twin
Towers tragedy.

Ravenna will take Italy and Europe by the hand and transport them
to Ground Zero, where the Coro dell’Associazione Filarmonica della
Scala (the Choir of the La Scala Philharmonic Association) will
sing Va Pensiero to close the 2002 Festival after the double
concert of Sunday 21st July at Ravenna and Monday 22nd July at the
Avery Fisher Hall in New York ” in memory of the Twin Towers
tragedy and of all the victims of violence in the world” .

The event – made possible by the Festival’s collaboration with
Pirelli, which began in 1998 on the occasion of the Beirut concert
and continued in subsequent years with great common purpose in
Jerusalem, Moscow, Erevan and Istanbul – is a new stage along ” the
roads of Friendship” .

Once again the protagonist will be Riccardo Muti, who will conduct
a completely new musical formation created for the occasion, made
up of the Musicians of Europe United. The orchestra will be
composed of artists from the best-known musical institutions in
Europe: 19 orchestras will represent the 11 countries that
responded to the Festival’s invitation to take part. They are the
Wiener Philharmoniker (Austria), Orchestre National de France,
Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de l’Opera National de Paris
(France), Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester, Symphonie-orchester
des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Sachsische
Staatskapelle Dresden, Philharmonisches Orchester der Stadt
Nurnberg (Germany), Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra (Great Britain), Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala,
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI (Italy), Oslo Philharmonic
Orchestra (Norway), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Holland), St.
Petersburg Orchestra (Russia), Orquesta Nacional de Espana (Spain)
and the Royal Stockholm Orchestra (Sweden).

The project generated great enthusiasm within the New York
Philharmonic, so much so that a representation of musicians from
that orchestra will join the European formation, bringing to life a
unity of intent that will evoke the same emotions as those
experienced in Sarajevo and Moscow.

After the extraordinary success of previous years’ live
transmissions from Moscow and Istanbul, it will also be possible
this year to see and hear the New York event on-line. The concert
recorded Sunday in Ravenna will, in fact, be exclusively
transmitted on Pirelli’s web site at 21.00 hours on
Monday 22 July.

Rai Radiotelevisione Italiana will also be at the side of the
Ravenna Festival this year and will contribute to the promotion of
the entire project in several different ways. RadioTre broadcast
various moments of the bridge of friendship with journalistic
reports, starting with the live transmission of the Ravenna concert
(21.00 hours Sunday 21 July), while on the television front RAI 1
will transmit the concert (23.00 hours Wedcnesday 24 July) preceded
by in-depth reporting by Bruno Vespa from New York.

The programme selected by Riccardo Muti takes the form of a great
international hymn of freedom. With ” Eroica” , Beethoven marked a
disturbing watershed in the history of symphony music, after which
nothing would be as before. Music of a new era that Beethoven had
wanted to dedicate to the genius of new times: Napoleon, the
champion of free idealism that inflamed Europe. But when the real
ambitions of the general became clear, proclaiming himself emperor,
he appeared irreconcilable with this image, so the composer decided
there was nothing else to do but to cancel the dedication, turning
” Eroica” into a monument to a perennial ideal, one as universal
and valid as it is unshakable, to precise historical

From Beethoven to a young Giuseppe Verdi and Nabucco: ” Va
Pensiero” . The events that affected the people of Israel become
those of every man in this work, starting with any ethnic and
historic determination, his itinerary of slavery of sin, of
salvation and liberation from evil. This is also valid and above
all for the great choir of Jewish slaves in the third act, ” Va
Pensiero” : a hymn of disconcerting simplicity of writing, which
precisely for this reason seems to miraculously break down the wall
that separates the stage from the audience, involving everyone
present in a single lyrical inspiration. In that way, every man can
recognise himself in the moving yet trusting yearning of the people
of Israel for their ” patria s bella perduta” (beautiful
lost homeland), reading in this infinitely essential and touching
music one’s own expression of the deepest ideal aspirations.

From lost liberty to re-conquered freedom. We have arrived at
William Tell by Gioachino Rossini, the legendary Swiss archer
revered as a champion of freedom against tyranny. ” Tutto cangia,
il ciel s’abbella” (Everything is changing, the sky is clearing):
the mist is thinning, serenity returns and nature’s own elements
seem to participate in exalting the Swiss people for their re-found
freedom. From all of the protagonists there rises one voice: an
arpeggio, submerged at first, then it floats to various heights on
a harmonic carpet changing marvellously until it exalts itself in
an explosion of pure light. Five years after Beethoven’s Ninth,
Rossini also wanted, as always through Schiller, to leave a legacy
to the world: his hymn of joy.

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