RIGOLETTO IN GUBBIO: FROM GEORGIA WITH LOVE
23 September, 2010
RIGOLETTO IN GUBBIO:  FROM GEORGIA WITH LOVE

 

I’ve never been to Gubbio, in Italy. Not yet. But I’m sure I will be enchanted by this medieval city when I see it. I have observed many of its images on Internet; they are just flabbergasting. And I’ve read much about it. It is really unique.


Gubbio is austere in appearance; full of dark stone houses of the 13th and 14th centuries, with narrow romantic streets, several glorious ancient palaces and a number of fantastic medieval churches, including the

Duomo (Cathedral) built in the late 12th century. Situated on the slope of Mt. Ingino, this small city, happily not touched by modernity, climbs uphill and is very picturesque. My fantasy prompts me to compare Gubbio to Telavi, Gremi and other ancient towns of my beloved Georgia, but beyond my imagination there are more reasons to remember Georgia when speaking about this Italian town. Gubbio nowadays is becoming a focal point of cultural exchanges between Georgia and Italy.
The most popular historic and cultural tourist attraction of Gubbio is its Roman Theater, the second largest surviving in the world, built in the 1st century BC. In summertime it is used for lectures about ancient poets and authors. This time a local artistic organization chose its 30-meter-long arena to stage a Verdi opera, Rigoletto, inviting some of the best artistic forces, a grand scale symphony orchestra, and honorable guests, from Italy and, yes, from Georgia. Because Georgia becomes the target and participant of this interesting and important cultural experiment.


The initiators and organizers of this event are the city of Gubbio and association ‘Ars Musica’, and for staging Verdi they invited Tbilisi Symphonic Orchestra comprising 53 elements (Conductor:  Maestro Guanluca Marciano). Organizers of this event hope to establish collaboration, close cultural and economic ties and exchanges with Georgia.


They hope also this performance will mark the return of opera to the town of Gubbio after years of absence, and organizers aim at reaching young new audiences who are not closely familiar with the art of opera.
This grand-scale performance is sponsored by Italian Parliament, by both of its chambers, House and Senate; representatives of Italian Parliament will be present at the theater. Representatives of Georgian industry and commerce are also expected. According to local sources, President Mikheil Saakashvili and some members of his cabinet have promised to come and be present at the performance too.
There will be four Rigoletto performances between July, 21 and August, 6 throughout the region of Umbria. The cast includes 26-year-old singer Ivan Magri who is considered to be the heir of Luciano Pavarotti, the great singer of our time. Stage director is Antonio Petris, costumes are created specially for the occasion by Marisa Vecchierelli (Atelier Marve).


How do I know about this event? Silvia Fanucci, a young psychologist living in Gubbio, has informed me about it. We are corresponding with each other, I am expecting her to come to Boston and she will be glad to see me in Gubbio. (I have already mentioned these ‘house exchange’ arrangements and possibilities, with her name, in one of my previous reports for GJ.)
So, knowing how much I am interested in everything concerning Georgia, she wrote to me, to tell me about this extraordinary artistic production. She is not a great fan of lyric opera (not all Italians are crazy about opera music, contrary to the wide-spread notion propagated by films such as Some Like It Hot.) Nevertheless I asked her to visit this performance, if possible, and tell me more about it. I hope, she will. I wish I could be there myself too.

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