By Theodora Pavlovitch, IFCM Executive Committee member
Old and new music, traditional and modern genres, a new view on the diversity of choral culture of our time – this is what the Festival “La Fabbrica Del Canto” brings to the international choral stage. To find the basis of its concept, we should have a look at the history of the event. In 1992 the Choral Association Jubilate based in Legnano (Italy) founded this festival with the general idea of offering a platform to the most innovative choirs, and of presenting different musical cultures. The competitive spirit, so typical for many events, has acquired an unusual dimension here. The choirs and ensembles gladly sing next to each other and exchange their musical experience, the conductors discuss and explore new ideas instead of competing for awards.
The name “La Fabbrica del Canto” (which could be roughly translated as “Melody Factory”), cuts the ties with all-too binding territorial references and describes in a synthetic and effective way the nature of the event. The term “Factory”, apart from reflecting the creativity and the commitment that are specific to any form of art, combines tradition with modernity, referring at the same time to past environments like “laboratory”, “atelier”, “workshop”, and touching upon a social dimension which is both contemporary and familiar to the local population. In this way a territorial reference is maintained and at the same time a trait that is peculiar to choral singing is underlined, namely the rootedness of its contemporary results in a centuries-long tradition.
This description gives us a sign about the general concept of the event. The idea of cultural diversity is the foundation on which “La Fabbrica del Canto” has been built. Discovering the richness of contemporary choral art is what makes the event so colorful and dynamic. Here even the most knowledgeable people will be surprised by something new and unknown. From Medieval and early Renaissance music to most attractive new genres – all epochs, different fields and styles of singing can be found in the programme of the event.
And most importantly: apart from its cultural aspect, the festival is also developing the idea of uniting music and solidarity. This year “La Fabbrica del Canto” has donated an amount of 13.000 Euro to the Educational Centre San Maximilian in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania for its educational programmes.
Over the nineteen years of its existence “La Fabbrica del Canto” has welcomed 86 leading choirs and ensembles from Europe, Africa, Asia and America. Their names listed in the festival’s booklet give a clear indication of the high quality of the event.
Participants in this year’s edition of “La Fabbrica del Canto” were choirs and ensembles from eight different countries on four continents. Africa was represented by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Choir conducted by Junita Van Dijk. The Tokyo Ladies Consort Sayaka conducted by Ko Matsushita brought the spirit of Japan. Coro da Camera Coralina and their conductor Alina Orraca (well known to the festival’s audience from their participation last year) again supplied a wonderful exposition of Latin American music in parallel with European developments. Europe itself was represented by five different choirs and ensembles: the Ellerhein Choir from Estonia (cond. Tiia Ester Loitme), Mikrokosmos from France (cond. Loic Pierre), SPD Jedinstvo, a mixed choir from Bosnia Herzegovina (cond. Nemanja Savic) and, last but not least, two famous vocal ensembles: Talla from Finland and Vocaldente from Germany.
More than 50 concerts in different towns in Northern Italy over the period 3 June– 1 July, two Choral Marathon Days in Milano (12–13 June) – these in brief are the statistics of the festival’s programme. At the end of the event the host choir Jubilate performed Vespro della Beata Vergine by Claudio Monteverdi in Legnano, Brescia and Caravaggio. Their partners in the performances were the soloists from Singer Pur vocal ensemble and Gruppo Instrumentale Jubilate under the baton of Paolo Alli, the founder conductor of Jubilate choir.
An amazing choral feast with valuable music and a large perspective – this is “La Fabbrica del Canto”. The vision of Paolo Alli and the Jubilate Choir Association will bring us to the future editions of the festival and will make their dream, a big choral event within the framework of EXPO–2015 in Milano, come true.
Avanti, cari amici!