Starting with a Petite Messe Solennelle in 1987, Bologna has provided the orchestra and chorus for the main productions each year, resulting in almost 50 video and audio recordings of some of the most important Rossini productions over the period.
It’s not an amicable split.
The Bologna Opera House says that the ROF is not willing to credit Bologna as co-producer, meaning that it is not entitled to state subsidy from the Cultural Ministry. Also, by declaring all the Festival activity occurs under the ROF umbrella, it appears on paper that Bologna Opera is inactive during the period of the Festival, in August. This means that the company cannot apply for funds from FUS, the Fondo Unico dello Spettacolo, which provides theatre subsidy, for its work over this period.
The ROF’s ‘hiring’ fee for the orchestra and chorus doesn’t cover the costs of the lengthy period of the festival, so the Bologna company has decided that it can no longer justify such expense when it is struggling to balance its books.
During the last few years, it has requested several times that the full operational costs are covered, and that the ROF attributes at least part of the box-office takings to their efforts. The ROF has refused such concessions.
Recently the Teatro Comunale di Bologna has agreed to a collaboration with the Festival Verdi di Parma e Busseto which will assign it as co-producer on their projects together. The costs to the theatre will also be covered in a more realistic way by the Verdi Festival, and the box-office takings on co-productions will be divided, which has a say in the subsidies the company receives for its participation.
Apart from the financial considerations, the company has also stated that its commitment to the Verdi Festival – in September and October – makes it impossible for it to participate in the Rossini Opera Festival.
The Teatro Comunale di Bologna was down to provide its orchestra and chorus for a new production of Le siège de Corinthe from 10 August 2017, with Alex Esposito, Nino Machaidze, Sergey Romanovsky and John Irvin and Roberto Abbado conducting; and a revival of Pier Luigi Pizzi’s La pietra del paragone with Luca Pisaroni, Aya Wakizono, Maxim Mironov and Paolo Bordogna under the baton of Daniele Rustioni.
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.