In its 31st edition Mittelfest approaches this surprising time and addresses the theme of the unexpected with two international festivals
Mittelfest 22 / 31 july: 28 artistic projects from 14 countries, including 20 world or italian premieres and 10 productions/co-productions, combining different languages and providing food for thought on current affairs, history and science to guide us in an unexpected present.
Mittelyoung 12 / 15 may: a unique event in Europe, staging 9 selected performances of prose, dance, music and circus from under-30 Mitteleuropa, thus giving substantial support to young people.
Mittelfest continues throughout the year with Mittelland, a programme of widespread activities thanks to collaborations with different realities of a border area.
It is a time that never ceases to overwhelm us and to ask us for space for the unexpected that we have been going through for more than two years and that has transformed much of what we used to call “normality”. But this is often how the future makes its way: with events that seem unexpected and yet have been taking root in us and among us for some time.
These are the thoughts behind the 31st edition of Mittelfest – a multidisciplinary festival of theatre, music and dance for the countries of Central Europe and the Balkans, based in Cividale del Friuli – that this year will address the theme IMPREVISTI (THE UNEXPECTED), starting with a new image in which, as in a graphic novel the density of the emerged and submerged events that define the substance of an era is collected.
The theme was chosen by Giacomo Pedini, Director of Mittelfest for the three-year period inaugurated last year, who introduces it as follows: “The unexpected are the world that goes on while we plan how to direct it. They are the myriad of events that happen before our eyes, but so distant that they escape our field of vision.
The performances at Mittelfest revolve around the unexpected in the most diverse ways, also because, in a moment of strong tension towards the East, we gather in Cividale del Friuli the sensibilities of many cultures, whose encounter is already generating something unprecedented. Mittelfest is precisely the festival of Mitteleuropean entertainment and for Italy it is a valuable opportunity to get to know a significant and interesting part of our continent, which is too often identified only with its West. Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, on the other hand, tell us much better about the peculiarities of our time”.
The two international festivals will be staged respectively from 12 to 15 May, Mittelyoung, and from 22 to 31 July, Mittelfest, while throughout the year Mittelfest continues under the name of Mittelland, with events that give continuity to the festival and identify it as a bridge between European collaborations and local realities.
“Mittelfest wants to be a project that radiates from a strategic territory such as Friuli Venezia Giulia and anchors itself to it in order to build international collaborations and act as a cultural driver for the Region, for Italy and for Mitteleuropa, with the aim of weaving relationships and building bridges in a dramatic historical moment like the present one, a time of divisions. And we firmly believe that now more than ever is up to culture to become an ambassador of peace”, explains Mittelfest President, Roberto Corciulo.
Mittelfest is a member of the European Festivals Association, Italiafestival, AGIS Nazionale and GO!2025 Nova Gorica – Gorizia project, and collaborates with Premio Rete Critica. In addition, it has the international support of Pro Helvetia Swiss Foundation for Culture, Austrian Cultural Forum in Milan, Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022, Onassis STEGI.
MITTELFEST 22/31 July.
There are two shows that will run through the entire event as a backbone, highlighting the relationship between performance and digital media. One is Déjà Walk by AcquasumARTE (22-31 July, world premiere), a site-specific creation consisting of a walk along the streets of Cividale del Friuli, reinterpreted in the light of information provided by tablets, headphones and individual emotions. The second is Death and Birth in my life by Mats Staub (23-31 July), a performance-installation that places pairs of spectators in front of pairs of narrators.
Three innovative dance shows also approach this use of performance language. Stand-Alones by the Austrian company Liquid Loft – Austria will be Mittelfest 2022 guest country, thanks also to the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Milan – (23-24 July, Italian premiere), which will put in dialogue simultaneous solos and choral moments of dance with the early 20th century works of the De Martiis family Gallery. Borderless body – first steps (28 July), by MN Dance Company, the outcome of a workshop that is part of the path towards GO!2025 Nova Gorica – Gorizia. And finally One, One One by Ioannis Mandafounis (25 July, again in the Swiss focus).
Another important theme is the exploration of science, history and current affairs, starting with the performance that inspired the theme of this edition of the festival, La singolarità di Schwarzschild (The Singularity of Schwarzschild) (22 July, world premiere), staging by Director Giacomo Pedini of a story from the book When we Cease to Understand the World by the Dutch-Chilean author Benjamin Labatut, in which he retraces the life of the German mathematician and astrophysicist Karl Schwarzschild.
In the same vein, the show The Handke Project (Or, justice for Peter’s stupidities), written by Kosovan author Jeton Neziraj and directed by Blerta Neziraj, with actors from Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy and Germany and the co-production of Qendra Multimedia, Teatro della Pergola – Firenze and Mittelfest (23 July, Italian premiere), in which the author, at this particular moment in history, with an ongoing conflict, questions the boundary between freedom of speech and art.
A look at History seen from today also for Il silenzio in cima al mondo (I voli taciturni di Dino Zoff) (The silence at the top of the world (Dino Zoff’s silent flights)), written by Giuseppe Manfridi and interpreted by Pamela Villoresi with the music by Cristian Carrara (24 July, world premiere), in which the rise-and-fall of the great national goalkeeper, turning 80 this year, is relived. The show is co-produced by Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini and Mittelfest.
More topical than ever is the concert Simmetrie Oblique (Per Prokofiev) (Oblique Symmetries (For Prokofiev)) in which the Ukrainian pianist Natacha Kudritskaya and the Russian violinist Aylen Pritchin will be on the stage together (31 July, world premiere), to show how art can go beyond wars.
Naturally, Mittelfest 2022 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pier Paolo Pasolini, highlighting in particular his Friulian production and the great revolution that the poet from Casarsa inaugurated with the opening to minority languages in literature. Two performances will be dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini with a jazz reinterpretation: Pier Paolo Suite, which combines the music of Glauco Venier and the dance of Arearea company (22 July, world premiere) and Rosada (25 July, world premiere), a title that brings back the word that opened the door to Pasolini’s mother tongue. On stage with Paolo Fresu, one of the major protagonists of the contemporary jazz scene, the voice of Elsa Martin. The show is produced byTeatri Stabil Furlan, incollaboration withARLeF – Agjenzie Regjonâl pe Lenghe Furlane, Argot Produzioni and Mittelfest.
Alongside these tributes to Pier Paolo Pasolini, this year the Friulian language takes more than ever a pivotal role in the festival in the shows Il silenzio in cima al mondo (The silence at the top of the world), mentioned above,
and Maçalizi (29 and 30 July, world premiere), a performance in Friulian and Italian translated from Le Dieu du carnage (God of Carnage) of the French author Yasmina Reza, directed by Fabrizio Arcuri and Rita Maffei and produced by CSS Teatro Stabile di Innovazione FVG and Mittelfest, with ARLeF – Agjenzie Regjonâl pe Lenghe Furlane.
In this context is also the show with voice and musicLasa per dir / Pusti naj govorijo (26 July, world premiere), an itinerary in music and words that evokes the landscapes, atmospheres and cultures of three neighbouring countries, Italy, Slovenia and Austria, and their common traits, starting with their idioms.
One of the protagonists of this edition of Mittelfest will be the circus, its visionary nature and exposure of the body as a stage translation of the unexpected. This strand of the programme is opened by an enchanting Lithuanian show, Vizijos. The visions of Vytautas Mačernis (22-23 July, Italian premiere) that the director Roberto Magro – a Friulian by origin, international by vocation – dedicates to Lithuanian poet Mačernis and composer Čiurlionis.
Another great protagonist will be the Ukrainian-German clown Anatoli Akerman, former artist of Cirque du Soleil and one of the actors of Tim Burton’s Dumbo, who will present KuKu (July 24, Italian premiere), an emotional show for adults and children, with two unpredictable clowns with a thousand skills. And then, the unconventional Swiss artist Marc Oosterhoff takes part in Mittelfest 2022 with two shows that still belong to the collaboration with Pro Helvetia: Take care of yourself (28 July, Italian premiere) and Promises of uncertainty (29 July).
The circus also becomes the gateway to a festival for everyone, including children, as in the Dutch musical cabaret Mr Moon – Moon cabaret by Eva Schumacher, with music by Snowapple (30 July), a dreamlike cabaret of musicians, clowns, divas and puppeteers in random order. Next up is Pizz’n ‘Zip, directed by Pietro Gaudioso (31 July), is set up as a typical chamber concert, but with light, humorous and clownish tones.
Progetto Tempesta (Tempest Project) (24 July) produced by Il Rossetti – Teatro Stabile del Friuli Venezia Giulia, directed by Antonio Panzuto, with I Piccoli di Podrecca, marks the rebirth of Vittorio Podrecca’s precious puppets in an unprecedented reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.
Important national and international musical performances complete the programme, starting from the classical music sector, rethought with unexpected choices. Like the traditional concert of FVG Orchestra with the title Onde (sonore) (Sound waves) (27 July, world premiere) that, under the baton of the Austrian Maestro Michael Lessky and with the great violinist Massimo Quarta, will go through the musical culture of Italy and Austria.
A great protagonist, inaugurating this year a long-lasting collaboration with Mittelfest, will be the Italian-Slovenian pianist Alexander Gadjiev, who will perform an unprecedented concert at Mittelfest entitled Sonate all’improvviso (Sudden Sonatas) (30 July, world premiere). Also surprising in this sense is the repertoire of Impreviste eufonie (Unexpected Euphonies) (27 July, world premiere), a concert by Conservatorio Jacopo Tomadini in Udine, conducted by Alfredo Barchi. As well as Apollon Socragète (Monday, 25 July, world premiere), an Italo-Serbian production of Conservatorio Giuseppe Tartini in Trieste with the Academy of Arts of Novi Sad (Serbia) and Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello in Venice, which combines in the same concert Sati’s Socrate and Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagète.
Folk music will have a central role in two shows: the Slovakian band HRDZA playing Untamed/Il selvaggio (28 July), a concert for vocals, guitars, flute, violins, accordion, drums, bass, and the Greek Unspeakable Joys (26 July), with the quartet of Harris Lambrakis, who returns to Mittelfest with his magical ney.
Closing Mittelfest 2022 will be a real pop music event with La Rappresentante di Lista, among the most appreciated artists during the last edition of Sanremo Festival: in a special symphonic performance of their #mymammatour with Orchestra Arcangelo Corelli (31 July) in collaboration with Ravenna Festival.
MITTELYOUNG 12 – 15 May
Mitteyoung, Mitteleuropa under-30 festival, was one of the major novelties of Mittelfest 2021: at its second edition it has become an eagerly awaited appointment and a unique event on the European scene, to see a generation on stage, and at the same time to give substantial productive help to young people.
In fact, it has already forged important alliances such as the one with Carinthischer Sommer Music Festival, and in particular with the under-30 project: CS under 30, one of its shows, from a restricted selection, will be hosted at Mittelfest, while a music show among the three winners of Mittelyoung will be hosted in Villach in August.
To recap all the stages of Mittelyoung, also this year the shows on stage have been selected following a call for proposals published all over the Mitteleuropean countries, which has resulted in 148 proposals, subsequentlysubmitted to a jury of curatores under 30 composed by young people from cultural and performing arts institutions from Friuli Venezia Giulia, from Carintischer Sommer Music Festival, from SNG Nova Gorica, in addition to the winners of Mittelyoung last edition.
Six countries are represented by the selected projects (Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Germany), and almost all of them are world premieres. The proposed themes focus on the environment, the fluidity of genders, roots and the future, and the journey that lies between those two polarities.
Preview 11 May, Church of San Francesco in Udine, Annelies, chamber concert in national premiere by James Whitbourn, inspired by the Diary of Anne Frank, with the collaboration of Mittelfest, Fondazione Luigi Bon and Festival Vicino/Lontano.
12 May in Cividale, concert by the Austrian Chez Fria Ensemble entitled Enimom Enis: an unexpected musical journey from baroque to funk, from jazz to electronic. The Italian theatre show Assenza Sparsa (Scattered Absence) by Pan Domu Teatro, by and with Luca Oldani, already a finalist in Premio Patroni 2019 and winner of Premio Intransito 2019.
13 May in Cividale, Italian clown show G.A.S. by Compagnia del Buco, representing the art of the circus. A world premiere of the Italian theatre show 17 selfie dalla fine del mondo (17 selfies from the end of the world) by Riccardo Tabilio, the result of a workshop with the students of Convitto Nazionale Paolo Diacono on a project by Quarantasettezeroquattro, in the framework of the project Realtà Aumentate by Friuli Venezia Giulia Region.
Finally, an interdisciplinary performance in national premiere from the Netherlands Percorrersi (Go through oneself) by Bibi Milanese, combining music, theatre and contemporary dance.
14 May, a world premiere of the Italian dance show Marea (Tide) by Trio Tsaba, a finalist project at Strabismi Festival 2020, and part of the artist-in-residences within the project Vettori by La Contrada in Trieste and C.U.R.A, Centro Umbro Residenze Artistiche in 2021. Then another dance show, Nymphs by Niek Wagenaar, a world premiere from the Netherlands. The day ends with an Italian premiere from the Czech Republic, Since my house burned down I now own a better view of the rising moon by Musasi Entertainment Company, inspired by Japanese folk tales.
15 May Mittelfest moves to Gorizia, on the common path that will lead to GO! 2025 Nova Gorica – Gorizia with a national debut from Lithuania that mixes dance, circus and music under the title 107 ways to deal with pressure, by Kanta Company, and with Vacation from love, another Italian premiere from Germany, curated by Cuma Kollektiv, a physical theatre concert.
MITTELFEST PRESS OFFICE:
National/International: Giulia Calligaro – email@example.com 0039.349.6095623
Macroregional: Francesca Gatti: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0039.347.9854644