By Carlo Pavese, President of the Festival Music Commission
Introduction. Andante cantabile.
the first thing you need to know is that Europa Cantat XVIII is important to you too. Whatever role you play in choral music – singers of all ages and musical genres, conductors, managers, music lovers and amateurs – the festival will listen to you, your ideas and your contribution. Multiply that by thousands of participants and it is sure to be a truly exciting human experience with lots of unforgettable music as well. This is why we would now like to take you on a virtual tour of the festival.
First Theme: On Stage. Con moto.
The festival begins, just like that, spontaneously: when the singing begins a theatre of voices becomes an experience of people communicating, harmoniously and in counterpoint, for affinity or for curiosity. But then, the theatre was born as a place for the polis to meet, to exchange ideas and share points of view. Torino is ready to get fully involved, become the setting, offer acoustics, inspiration and surprises… the city will stimulate us to meet, chat, share emotions and values through the universal language that is music. It will be the stage of European choral music and offer its spaces as ideal settings in which to design “on stage” projects. When it comes to theatre, however, we don’t mean just the important experiences of the past, but an opening to an innovative way to perform choral music, with movement, recitation and space. Torino, the city of cinema, also wants to experiment with a stimulating amplification of the visual dimension from the stage to the screen. Choral music meets video, as an artistic product, suggests further implications in the field of sound recording and reproduction, the use of new technology and of new means of communication.
Second Theme: Festa! Allegro vivace.
Be curious! Bring something from your homeland, something special and precious, something unique to share with the other special guests, they too just as precious and unique! Italy’s famed hospitality is also this, knowing how to make everyone feel right at home, and therefore, invite them to be themselves. The piazza, in the warm season, is a meeting place where people come together, a place of exchanges, a symbol of the energy and the curiosity that animates this festival, it offers everyone the chance to be part of a microcosm enlivened by dance, games, performances and costumes, to be part of a great mosaic where song, dialects and languages from the world over gather to be one. But then, as Gian Domenico Peri wrote in 1651, “Torino is nothing but a small world or the whole world is nothing but a big Torino”. A “festa!” is, of course, meant to be a fun thing, but more than anything else, it is the very atmosphere that will reign during the festival. The Mediterranean, the sea that unites cultures and shapes history, where sounds, colours, flavours and languages are shared, is the source of its inspiration.
Like all self-respecting “festa!”, we too will be talked about for a very long time to come!
Third Theme: Soul Food. Tempo giusto.
When we sing together, an unstoppable wave of energy is created, the result of encounters, of a shared harmony and the opening of new horizons within oneself. A choir represents a social model where listening, respect, cooperation and solidarity work together with art, beauty and culture, where tradition and innovation blend not just to make music but also to mark how we live together and interact openly with one another. This is precisely why a choir is a road to precious growth, invaluable to children and teens, an important and efficient instrument which helps us deal with sensitive situations anywhere in the world – but also in our own cities – where not everyone has the tools, nor the chances, to access culture. The Festival is a showcase of ideas, projects and model situations where singing together creates a force that has the power to change people and create a better world.
Development. Canone for 4000 voices
How are these themes developed at the festival? How can each of us be a part of this choral fresco? Let’s, first of all, take a look at the setting: the piazza, the great main stage where the OPENING CONCERT and the FINAL CONCERT take place, where choral music explodes over the scene; where the singers are welcomed and then, after the concerts, where the music seems to linger in the air, leaving behind memories, new musical stimuli and, above all, an irresistible desire to sing… forever!
The stage where all this plays out is also where daily gatherings unite us in song – every day during OPEN SINGING a conductor will lead thousands of singers and locals through the exploration of a very varied but nonetheless simple repertoire that can be followed reading the score or by ear with the help of the choir on the stage.
The Europa Cantat Festival came about to unite countries, cultures and different traditions, but also to let us indulge the curiosity we all have inside us, the desire to know more, the pleasure of new experiences or an encore of the best experiences and the chance to learn unusual pieces that don’t come along every day. This is why absolutely everything is included: people of all ages and with every type of musical experience (from the neophyte who doesn’t read scores to the experienced professional), all types of music (from classical to contemporary, from popular music to pop/jazz, from Gregorian chant to exotic music), all professions (singers, directors, conductors, composers, music managers, audio and video technicians, acoustic specialists and musicologists), all lengths of time (from a single day to the entire period of the festival) and all types of choral singers (as a member of large choirs, with certain choir members daring “because no one else could”, or as single singer). In short, EVERYONE can participate and satisfy their special musical dream at one point or another during the festival.
By signing up for the very rich ATELIER programme, as a choir, as a group of choir members or as soloist, one becomes a participant in the festival. It offers the chance to spend some truly memorable mornings exploring new horizons or singing familiar music guided by experienced conductors who know how to share an entire world of music in a short amount of time. In the DISCOVERY ATELIERS a specific aspect of vocal and choral music is presented in a few hours in a practical and involving manner: perfect for a toccata e fuga, for a day free from one’s own atelier, or to be part of a multi-coloured mosaic: every day a different atelier.
THE PROGRAMME FOR CONDUCTORS AND FOR COMPOSERS gives these musicians (with or without their choirs) and the creators of new music a chance to meet one another, as well as getting to know the stars of the festival, nose about in the various morning ateliers, conduct seminars or master classes, study new pieces to add to their repertoires and generally do some valuable networking. It’s a week full of training, learning and/or pure and simple fun in a sort of Choirland of concentrated quality and quantity… all in one week and in one place.
It’s time for lunch. Let’s catch our breath before we dive headlong into the afternoon programmes! Inhale deeply. Now exhale. Enjoy a nice lunch in the Giardini Reali. Strolling among the stands of the MUSICAL PUBLISHING EXHIBITION we prepare for the rich programme of CONCERTS that take place until deep into the night in churches, theatres, concert halls, under portici and on piazzas. All of the participating choirs will perform during the festival, together with selected groups of special guests, and this means that in Torino one can hear groups from very many different places and of many different types – from “terrestrial” choirs to “Martian” choirs, all of whom sing so well that you just want to keep listening and, who knows, even learn some of their secrets! True choral EVENTS will be heard from the stages of the most prestigious venues of the city, from opera to pop, from Monteverdi to John Lennon (well, not in person, of course!).
Indulge your curiosity and feel free to sing: always and anywhere. FRINGE is the programme designed for spontaneous initiatives. Do you feel like performing in a different place of the city every day? Do it, we’ll come and we’ll listen. Want to do an exchange with another choir, maybe even teach it your favourite piece? We’ll let you meet your choral twin. Do you want to record a demo-CD, something inspired by the exciting atmosphere of the festival? We can let you use one of our recording studios. Want to shoot a clip and then upload it onto internet so that thousands can see it? We can help you film it and load it onto the festival YouTube channel. Would you like the festival to include something that hasn’t occurred to us yet? Tell us about it!
In summary: do you want to take this chance to tour around the Piedmont region of Italy and maybe even perform somewhere special? The TRANFERS programme managed by the Associazione Cori Piemontesi will let you spend your day off from your atelier, or after it has concluded, enjoying the region’s cultural, natural and culinary delights, and then crown the day with a concert.
Reprise. Tempo primo, con variazioni.
How to describe a typical day at the festival? Impossible! It’s just so varied! Let’s, nonetheless, try to imagine one, from sunrise to sunset (and beyond…).
- 9:00 What a lovely idea these morning exercises are, I’ll sing even better today!
- 9:30-13:00 A morning spent singing directed by that really talented conductor, time has flown…
- 13:00-14:30 A stroll, lunch and an espresso.
- 15:00 I think I’ll take in the vocal groups concert at the Conservatory.
- 16:30 A delicious gelato in town, with musical accompaniment provided by a really nice all-male choir singing under a nearby portico.
- 18:30 An early dinner, I get to sing tonight!
- 21:00 My choir, one from Estonia and an Armenian one sang sacred music in the Church of Saint Domenico (it was packed!).
- To top the day off, everyone down to the Po River waterfront, it’s full of night life!
- 9:30-12:30 My atelier has the day off today. I think I’ll go to a Discovery Atelier about Beat-Boxing. I have always wanted to know: how on earth do they manage to use voice and microphone to imitate drums?
- 13:00-14:30 I’m walking around bopping up and down like a rapper. This is so much fun! After lunch I’m going to buy the CD of a Spanish group that I can’t find anywhere else.
- 15:00 My choir has rented the recording studio for an hour to record a piece. How exciting! We’ve never done a recording before!
- 17:00 I was really impressed by the choir and orchestra of kids from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds! Torino really is a world in miniature.
- 19:00 A nice dinner and then …
- 20:00 Open Singing: page 32. (I don’t read music very well, but I’ll follow the lead from the choir on stage)… (I may even learn to read music when I get home, there’s an idea!)… Behind me everyone is singing and dancing along with the music just like me!
- 21:00 I’m staying here on the square. A pop singer is going to perform with a gospel choir – and everyone else – later on 😉
- 23:00 After the pop concert? A bit of ancient music in a Gothic Church, why not? Will I exhaust myself? Probably, but that’s what all part of the festival too! When I get into bed I fall asleep… inspired.
- 9:00 My atelier ended yesterday. We gave a really great concert, and today is dedicated to… sightseeing!
- 10:00 Piedmont, it’s so hard to decide where to go: the Lago d’Orta, an lovely alpine valley, a sumptuous Savoy residence… hey, let’s go wine tasting in the Monferrato area!
- 13:00 A picnic lunch accompanied by a nice bottle of Barolo we bought at the winery.
- 17:00 We come across the Piedmontese choir that will host us this evening. We even practice one of our pieces together!
- 21:00 The choir introduces us with two songs and then it’s our turn; it went really well!
- 23:00 … party time after the concert! Now it’s time to head back to Torino. The festival ends tomorrow with a huge concert on the piazza and a party… into the wee hours! (I sure wish it would never end!)
CODA or “everyone is included!”
Now that we have taken you on the virtual tour of the festival, now that we have given you an idea of the excitement, the many opportunities and the intricacy of Europa Cantat XVIII, one last thing cannot remain unsaid: we are grateful for the great pleasure we derive from hosting all of this in our country, Italy, for the first time. We can’t wait until everything we have written on these pages actually becomes a reality.
Bring your voices to Torino and help us sing: we are ready to sing!