Zubin Mehta, director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, launched his appeal to Matteo Renzi, the current Italian Prime Minister and former Florence Mayor, during a press conference to illustrate the principal events during the Festival's 77th edition. The Festival and its dance company, Maggiodanza, have suffered from massive financial problems over the last few years.
There will be exciting new changes for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino – the oldest Festival in Europe, after Salzburg – as the new opera house will finally open on 10 May, three years after its official opening in 2011. There is also a new logo, a big O and F for Opera di Firenze, and a new internet site, www.operadifirenze.it.
The opening gala, conducted by Zubin Mehta, will mix opera and ballet with the fourth act of Otello with Gregory Kunde and Maria Agresta; La Valse with the music of Ravel, choreographed by Davide Bombana with the dancers of Maggiodanza; Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain with Alessandra Ferri partnered by New York City Ballet's Craig Hall; and the first act of Tosca with Fiorenza Cedolinis, Marco Berti, Ambrogio Maestri and Roberto De Candia. The opera acts will be fully staged.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.