RAVENNA FESTIVAL / Riccardo Muti directs Beethoven's heroic for Syria

Ravenna - 03 Jul 2020
RAVENNA FESTIVAL / Riccardo Muti directs Beethoven's heroic for Syria Music


Rocca Brancaleone - Via Rocca Brancaleone - Ravenna
Tel. (+39) 0544 249244


The ways of friendship, the Ravenna Festival project that since 1997 has visited places symbol of ancient and contemporary history, does not forget Syria. Because pain, in order to have meaning, must teach us something: the otherwise incomprehensible mystery of suffering is revealed only when it enables us to share the pain of others.

Friday 3 July, at 9.30 pm at Rocca Brancaleone, the Youth Orchestra Luigi Cherubini welcomes musicians from the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra among their ranks.
The direction of Riccardo Muti joins Beethoven's Eroica for the concert dedicated to the memory of civil activist Hevrin Khalaf (1984-2019) and the archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad (1932-2015), victims of Isis.
The musician Aynur Dogan and the artist Zehra Dogan, both of Kurdish origin, also pay homage to them for a singing and painting performance that will precede 'Eroica.

“The act of courage with which we decided to open the Ravenna Festival, returning to play together on the stage for the first time since the start of the pandemic, proceeds with this concert - explains Muti - which entrusts to music, the only language that cannot be misunderstood, to find hope for a better future, a future of peace also for the Syrian people. "

The same ideals of equality, freedom and fraternity of which the Symphony n. 3 will resonate, Sunday 5 July, at the Archaeological Park of Paestum, twinned with the Syrian site of Palmyra, for the second leg of the Friendship journey. The concert at the Rocca, already sold-out, is made possible by the support of La Cassa di Ravenna Spa and the Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna Foundation.

“Over twenty years ago we flew over the Adriatic on military planes to reach Sarajevo, "recalls Riccardo Muti," we were all moved by the tragedy that was taking place and the music represented a sign of brotherhood from Ravenna. It was the beginning of an annual pilgrimage and in 2004 I directed in the Roman theater of Bosra, between Damascus and Aleppo; I wonder what happened to those musicians who played with us on that occasion. Since then nothing for that people has gone as we had hoped. "

The ways of friendship represents the culmination of the cultural project of the Ravenna Festival and Muti has always been on the podium of Italian orchestras and choirs, to which in every occasion musicians from the travel destination cities joined; unforgettable concerts in Beirut, Jerusalem, Moscow, Yerevan and Istanbul, New York, Cairo, Nairobi, Redipuglia, Tehran, Kiev ... and, in 2019, on the Acropolis of Athens. The Greek temples of Paestum reflect the same search for harmony, the same yearning for beauty; eternal, yes, but at the same time - we are reminded of the images of a Palmyra disfigured by the systematic destruction of Isis - extremely fragile.

Also in Sarajevo, in 1997, the Eroica was performed. In this year's Concert for Syria, the imposing symphony, with its funeral march that passes from a solemn melancholy to a grieved lament, is also dedicated to the memory of Khaled Al-Asaad and Hevrin Khalaf.
The first, for decades director of the site of Palmyra, he was a victim of Isis which he opposed to safeguard the finds and history kept in that place. Hevrin Khalaf, secretary general of the Syrian Future Party, activist for women's rights and at the forefront for the recognition of the identity of the Kurdish people and for a peaceful dialogue between Kurds, Christians and Arabs, was instead killed in an ambush. last October.

The musician Aynur Dogan and the artist Zehra Dogan also pay tribute to their dignity and courage; both of Kurdish origin, both committed to the female issue, both subject to attacks and censorship. Aynur was not unscathed, which hybridizes the tradition of her people with a contemporary sensitivity and boasts prestigious collaborations such as that with Yo-Yo Ma, while a painting on the destruction of the city of Nusyabin, shared on social media, was worth the sentence two years, nine months and twenty-two days in Zehra (who has not stopped painting even in Turkish prisons). At Rocca Brancaleone the live pictorial performance of Zehra - projected on the screen - will intertwine with the singing of Aynur.

The Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra (SEPO) was created in 2015 in Germany and is the first symphony orchestra for professional musicians and academic training living on European soil, also victims of that diaspora that has plagued the Syrian people for years, ravaged by the conflict.
SEPO is dedicated not only to the classical canon, but also to Syrian, Arab and Eastern music, in its symphonic and contemporary forms. Many of the SEPO musicians were, before becoming refugees, part of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, the same formation that joined the Italians for the concert in Bosra in 2004.
No musician was able to fly from Syria to Italy, but their conductor Missak Baghdabourian greeted the announcement of the double concert in Ravenna and Paestum with these words: “The friendship and solidarity of the Ravenna Festival are an important support for a people who have paid and are still paying a high price in the battle against fanaticism, and for a land where even the stones of Palmira, Ebla and many other archaeological sites have been victims of hatred and obscurantism. A new human and musical gesture that accentuates the role of culture and music in strengthening the bonds between peoples. "

And while on Thursday 2 July at the Damascus Opera Theater the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra will perform live on Facebook Beethoven's Eroica, but also Norma's overture (part of the program in Bosra sixteen years ago), Ravenna Festival supports, with a fundraising desk during the concert at the Rocca, the "Open Hospitals" project. { } Initiated by the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria Cardinal Zenari in 2017, the project aims to open the doors of three hospitals (the Italian Hospital and the French Hospital in Damascus, and the St. Louis Hospital in Aleppo) at more poor patients who would otherwise not be able to pay for the care they need. This project has already ensured more than 30,000 free and quality treatments and aims to reach 50,000 by the end of 2020.

redazione Ravenna eventi