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After the preview of 16 July at the Ancient Theatre of Taormina, the rich program will take place from 1 September to 2 October in Catania, in the historical sites of the composer’s hometown. Over 30 events including operas, concerts, prose, dance, cinema, cultural meetings. On stage the greats of world opera. Highlight event is the operatic title I Capuleti e i Montecchi, which on 23rd of September will be broadcasted live on Rai5 from the Teatro Massimo Bellini; conductor Fabrizio Maria Carminati, direction, sets and costumes by Gianluca Falaschi, with Ruth Iniesta, Chiara Amarù, Marco Ciaponi.

Among the other protagonists of the festival: Pretty Yende, Stefan Pop, Eckehard Stier, Marcello Mottadelli, Alfonso Signorini.  Anastasia Boldyreva, Walter Fraccaro, Elia Fabbian, Eliseo Castrignanò, Desirée Rancatore, Gino Astorina, I Lautari, Beatrice Venezi, Vittoria Yeo Giorgio Berrugi. Epifanio Comis, Giovanni Bertolazzi. Ninni Panzera, Lina Maria Ugolini, Marionettistica dei Fratelli Napoli. Roberto Molinelli, Le Div4s Italian Sopranos, Simona Celi Zanetti, Luchino Giordana.

There will also be opera-symphonic and chamber concerts. The musicological study will be the subject of four cultural aperitifs.

Focus on Bellini’s filmography with an exhibition and a movie retrospective.

CATANIA – Vincenzo Bellini, symbol of romantic melodrama, becomes the soul of cultural tourism, planetary testimonial of the image of the island.

Its belonging to the island of international resonance is – since three seasons now – one of the strengths points on which the Sicilian Region configures its peculiar cultural and artistic identity, which finds in the universal language of Music a way to conquer the global audience. This is the mission of the prestigious exhibition dedicated to the Catania’s Swan, strongly wanted by the president Nello Musumeci and the Councillor for Tourism, Sport and Entertainment Manlio Messina, with the full support of the Regional Council. First rate stars and an offer with a rigorous philological approach enrich the 2022 program, which aims to frame the role of the Etnean composer in the European proto-Romantic competition in which his figure is framed , at the same time broadening the horizon to the influences that his innovative creativity would have had on the musical theatre to come. Hence the title of the event, called Bellini International Context, because it is built around the multidisciplinary context, which moves from the golden age of Belcanto to get to grasp the legacy and subsequent influence exerted on authors such as Verdi and Wagner.

A fascinating investigation that, starting from the musical suggestions, traces and “contextualizes” this guideline, opening to interesting contamination between various disciplines, cinema, prose, dance, also providing themed exhibitions and meetings with scholars and experts.

An articulated and composite project, promoted by the Regional Government through the Department of Tourism, Sport and Entertainment, which has catalyzed the synergy of the Municipality and the Archdiocese of Catania, the City of Taormina and the main theatrical and cultural institutions: Teatro Massimo Bellini of Catania, Teatro Massimo of Palermo, Teatro Vittorio Emanuele of Messina, University of Catania, Fondazione Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, Fondazione Taormina Arte Sicilia, Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “Vincenzo Bellini” of Catania, Conservatory “Arcangelo Corelli” of Messina.

The artistic direction is by Fabrizio Maria Carminati, conductor of international importance. Project manager of the festival is Gianna Fratta, well-known conductor.

The mission

Nello Musumeci, president of the Sicilian Region, said: «Vincenzo Bellini dedicates the Capulets and the Montagues to the people of Catania. This is not a small detail, which we like to recall here since the representation of such a masterpiece constitutes the central event of this edition of the Bellini International Context.

Yes, Bellini dedicates the score to his fellow citizens. And he does so as a sign of gratitude to the decurionate who years before had awarded him a scholarship without which the Catanese Swan would never have arrived at the Conservatory of Naples and – teaches History – to glory. Barely thirty years old and already at the peak of his success, the composer could have chosen, as dedicatees, illustrious people close to him, not unlike what he had already done for his other works. Instead, musicing the story of Romeo and Juliet awakens in him a gratitude that ignites him with feeling for the Homeland. Or do we want to call it love? With the BIC, which deserves to be institutionalized, we simply mean to reciprocate that love.

And confirm the commitment – carried out with conviction since our inception – in the promotion of major cultural events that can catalyze new tourist flows, seasonally adjusting an offering that today, sees Sicily among the favorite destinations of travelers around the world».

Notes Manlio Messina, Regional Councillor for Tourism, Sport and Entertainment: «The intense event dedicated to Bellini is now a fundamental lever to amplify the strategy implemented by the Department of Tourism, Sport and Entertainment, that is to focus on the excellence of programming and convey it through an effective communication campaign, built around the mood and incentives of the project seesicily. The Bellini International Context is thus one of the great events that qualify and at the same time increase the image of the territory and mobilize tourist flows. A project directly promoted by the Region that, together with the municipalities of reference, Catania and Taormina. sees synergistically united the Etnean Archdiocese, the major regional lyrical institutions, the academic world, the conservatives. We are proud to have achieved a ‘goal that has given and will give prestige to Sicily, helping to emphasize its centrality in the heart of the Mediterranean. These are the goals achieved by a festival that we leave as a legacy to those who will come after us, confident that they will want to confirm and strengthen it, because the culture and well-being of the territory are values that every administration must consider priority».

For Fabrizio Maria Carminati, artistic director of the exhibition: A festival is built over time, we are developing a project that has already shown its wide-ranging. The idea is to set up every year a title of Bellini’s operatic decalogue, a ten-year cycle, developing variations on the theme, deepening the philological, historical, biographical aspect, but with great openness to innovation, to contamination, in a word to creativity».

Gianna Fratta, project manager of the festival explains: «BIC is a real cultural context, in which a new idea of live entertainment and review based on the interaction of the languages of art is developed. His modern conception will allow to intercept bands of young audiences, to approach the opera and musical production of Bellini even people not accustomed to the attendance of concert halls, to offer a varied proposal to tourists at a seasonally adjusted time of year compared to the large flows involving Sicily in June, July and August. A month of concerts and events in Catania, located in different locations: Villa Bellini, Cortile Platamone, Teatro Sangiorgi, Teatro Massimo Bellini. The city will be animated by over 30 cultural initiatives with full and unique regional ownership. The Sicilian Region has, however, made use of project partners, thus setting up a network of collaborations with the main cultural and musical institutions of the island.  A September of art, culture, music in Catania under the sign of Vincenzo Bellini»

The Billboard

The preview – The rich program was preceded by a prestigious preview, on July 16, at the Ancient Theatre of Taormina, where the national premiere The Great Opera in Jazz – Danilo Rea and the stars of singing went on stage. The famous pianist paid homage to opera, retracing precisely in a jazz key the highlights of great voices of opera, from Maria Callas to Mario Del Monaco, from Titolo Schiavo to Giacomo Lauri-Volpi. A reinterpretation of timeless arias that confirm the ancient love of Danilo Rea for melodrama, testified in the recordings of an exceptionally talented musician, who boasts a solid academic background, matured during his studies at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia.

Works. The focus of the festival is I Capuleti e i Montecchi, staged at the Bellini Theatre at 21:00 on September 23, 187 anniversary of the composer’s death. And again on September 25 at 5.30 p.m. The production, which will be broadcast live on Rai5, is set up by the opera and arranges on stage its own orchestra and choir. On the podium Fabrizio Maria Carminati, while Gianluca Falaschi directed scenes and costumes of the opera tragedy in two acts to a libretto by Felice Romani, which traces the tragedy of the unhappy lovers of Verona.

A title of enormous success for the public and for the critics since the first time on 11 March 1830 at the Fenice in Venice. In the main roles Ruth Iniesta (Giulietta), Chiara Amarù (Romeo), Marco Ciaponi (Tebaldo). And again Alexey Birkus (Lorenzo) and Antonio Di Matteo (Capellio). Luigi Petrozziello chorus master.

The festival also includes Rita, a comic opera in one act by Gaetano Donizetti, with the Bellini Orchestra conducted by Carlo, conductor, Gianmaria Aliverta, director, with the singers Nina Muho (Rita), Valerio Borgioni (Beppe), Francesco Vultaggio baritone (Gasparo) and the actor Gino Astorina (Bortolo). A small jewel that today speaks to the audience also of the inflexible condemnation of all violence within the relationship of couple (September 7, 21:00, Palace of Culture).

Of particular importance is the entire operation linked to the third opera in scenic form,  planned as part of the project “Sicily: “Suggestions from Bellini, Pirandello, Verga”. In the first part will be performed the overture from Bellini’s Pirata and the suite for orchestra La giara, which Alfredo Caesella has extracted from his ballet inspired by Pirandello’s novel. In the second part will be staged Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, whose literary source is to be found in the novel but also in the drama of Giovanni Verga. The staging is intended to be a tribute to the father of Verismo on the first centenary of his death.

The performance is by the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra and the Chorus of the Teatro Massimo Bellini. Scenes, costumes, staging are of the opera. On the podium Marcello Mottadelli, directed by Alfonso Signorini. In the vocal cast Anastasia Boldyreva (Santuzza), Walter Fraccaro (Turiddu), Elia Fabbian (Alfio) Agostina Smimmero (Lucia), Sabrina Messina (Lola). Luigi Petrozziello chorus master (16 September, 21:00 Villa Bellini).

Concerts – The musical soirées will be held in different venues of the capital, starting with the inaugural Bellini gala “From The Pirate to The Puritans”. Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Massimo Bellini”, conductor Beatrice Venezi, soloists the sopranoVittoria Yeo and tenor Giorgio Berrugi

(September 1, at 21, Villa Bellini).

Homage of the composers of Sicily to Bellini offers the first ever performance of works by Giuseppe Emmanuele, Mario Garuti, Matteo Musumeci, Joe Schittino, Luciano Maria Serra.

rchestra del Teatro Massimo Bellini directed by Marco Alibrando (20 September, 21:00, Palazzo della Cultura).

Bellini & Friends explores the affinities between Our composer and the great composers who followed him or preceded him: Donizetti, Mercadante, Rossini, Wagner. The Sicilian Symphony Orchestra is led by Eliseo Castrignanò, soprano soloist Desirée Rancatore (24 September, 21:00, Villa Bellini).

Bellini & Donizetti: 1827 – 1835 is an opera gala that compares the production of two great opera players, the Catanese and the Bergamasco, through melodramas related to the years that saw them compete in the post-Rossinian operatic competition.  Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Massimo Bellini, on the podium Fabrizio Maria Carminati. Soloists soprano Pretty Yende and tenor Stefan Pop. Luigi Petrozziello chorus master (26 September, 21:00, Teatro Massimo Bellini).

Bellini Reloaded starts from the interesting perspective of stimulating established composers of our day – Giovanni D’Aquila, Giovanni Ferrauto, Simone Piraino – to be inspired by Bellini’s creations. The Orchestra del Teatro Massimo di Palermo is directed by Alberto Maniaci (28 September, 21:00, Villa Bellini).

Two objectives converge in a third opera gala that, on the one hand, combines Bellini & Wagner, on the other it intends to celebrate the 2751 year of the foundation of the city of Catania. Alongside the authors of Norma and Tristan, in the poster we find active Sicilian composers, namely Emanuele Casale, Matteo Musumeci, Joe Schittino.  Orchestra e Coro del Teatri Massimo Bellini, Eckehard Stier conductor, Luigi Petrozziello chorus master (30 September, 21:00, Villa Bellini).

A concert of sacred music of rare attendance is the one that combines Bellini’s youth compositions – such as “Tecum Principium” and “Salve Regina” in A major (transcriptions from the autograph manuscript) – with the Funeral Mass in memory of Bellini (1865) composed by Giovanni Pacini expressly for the transport of the ashes of the colleague – and rival – prematurely disappeared thirty years before. Orchestra of the ISSM “V. Bellini” of Catania and Coro del Teatro Massimo Bellini”, Epifanio Comis conductor, Luigi Petrozziello chorus master (1 October, place to be defined Catania, Duomo di Sant’Agata).

Two concerts proposed by the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “Vincenzo Bellini” of Catania: the first is focused on the Bellini chamber arias, performed by the students of the Canto classes of the Istituto al pianoforte data (5 September, at 21. Palazzo della Cultura). The second is addressed to the operatic arias, performed by the students with the Youth Orchestra of the ISSM conducted by Giuseppe Romeo (12 September, 21:00, Palazzo della Cultura).

The pianist Giovanni Bertolazzi will instead propose a series of famous paraphrases not only Bellini, in accordance with a practice of transcriptions and reinterpretations widely spread in the early nineteenth century (27 September, 19 hours, Teatro Sangiorgi)

Prose, music, dance and other contaminations

In the rapid roundup of events that follows is evident the union of music, and Bellini music in particular, with the different Muses.

Vincenzo, la zampogna e la malmaritata is a spettscolo that already in the title refers to the instrument,  whose echo resonates in the melodies of the Swan. Bellini and the popular tradition is the land here explored by the group I Lautari, with Gino Astorina narrator (Palazzo della Cultura, September 6, 21:00).

Vaga luna che inargenti, incipit of a famous chamber aria by Bellini, wants to be a tribute in music and words to the life and work of the composer. Original compositions by Christian Paterniti in world premiere, entrusted to the Chamber Orchestra of the Conservatory “A. Corelli” of Messina, with Anna Passanisi reciting voice, the Sikelikos Quintet and Laura Farnetti flute; animated screening of Alessandro Russo & Alessandro Riccardi (19 September, 21:00, Palazzo della Cultura).

Bellini Black Comedy is an original project produced by Teatro Vittorio Emanuele of Messina and signed by Simona Celi Zanetti who also takes care of the dramaturgy and direction. Fascinating and talented, Bellini dies alone, at the height of his international success, in circumstances never clarified and in that age zone common to the great rock stars. This is the heart of the subject in which Bellini’s music is proposed by Rodrigo D’Erasmo, great violinist and soul of the Afterhours, and by Mario Conte. The scenography by Nicola Rubertelli, by Dora Argento. A cast of young and talented actors with Luchino Giordana that will give soul and face to Vincenzo Bellini Beatrice Sinatra, Chiara Muscato, Leonardo Sbragia, Lucia Cammalleri, Gino Astorina (21 September, 21:00, Teatro Sangiorgi).

Vincenzo e la luna, for reciting voice, puppets and music, is written and interpreted by Lina Maria Ugolini, musicologist, poet and storyteller. The work stems from a poetic idea that becomes a musical idea, Bellini’s relationship with the moon, a constant dreamed of by romantic spirits. Musicainsieme a Librino Ensemble is a string orchestra born in the suburb of Catania, from a project of social inclusion that adheres to the method of musical teaching of the “System” Abreu: for the occasion will be engaged in transcriptions for bows made in the nineteenth century by Cavallini and Pietro Tonassi, up to today’s ones by Valentina Caiolo. Poetic sensations, gestures and visions will be linked to the lightness of the strings of the puppets of the Naples Brothers (27 September, 21:00, Castello Ursino).

In DiNcAnTo. Steps on the opera of Bellini, the choreography and direction by Massimiliano Volpini develop on a soundtrack that draws on the repertoire of Bellini. The production involves the Orchestra of the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele of Messina and the Compagnia Balletto of Rome.
Roberto Molinelli care direction, arrangements and original music. With the extraordinary participation of “Le Div4s”, Italian Sopranos (2 October, 21:00, Teatro Massimo Bellini).
Cinema – Bellini al cinema is the title of the exhibition and the film retrospective curated by Ninni Panzera; over seventy, rare memorabilia, from the thirties to the fifties of the twentieth century, made from films dedicated to Ours. The exhibition is accompanied by the screening of rare films, from the silent film to the films of Carmine Gallone, from Wernez Herzog to our days (9,10,11 September, Palace of Culture – Opening September 9 at 19:00).
A Bellini, s’il vous plaît!
The University of Catania participates in the BIC through the Department of Humanities where the Bellini Foundation and the Belliniani Study Centre are located. The University contributes to this edition with a series of meetings coordinated by the teachers of musicology Maria Rosa De Luca and Graziella Seminara.
The title “A Bellini, s’il vous plaît!” winks at the famous aperitif named after the musician. For four consecutive Thursdays the Teatro Sangiorgi will host at 19 this series of impossible dialogues that will see protagonists the heroines Bellini: Norma together with Luca Zoppelli (8 September), Amina along with Emanuele Senici (15 September), Juliet with Graziella Seminara (22 September). The fourth meeting will focus on the various musical versions of the chamber aria “Guarda che bianca la luna”, which wants to be a tribute to Jacopo Vittorelli, a project by and with Giulio D’Angelo (29 September).

Last but not least Friday, September 23, at 10:00, in the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, the Holy Mass will be celebrated in 187 the anniversary of the death of Vincenzo Bellini. The Chorus of the Teatro Massimo “V. Bellini” of Catania directed by Luigi Petrozziello.

Stand out on the international opera scene through the endless melody of the author of “Norma”, explore the surroundings, stimulate new reformulations, enhance Sicilian excellence, attract tourist flows: these are the aims of the Bellini International Contex, promoted and organized directly by the Region that avails itself of the partnership of important institutions of the Island.