Berlin in Rome

by Danilo Brunetti

A magnificent concert to close a remarkable festival. Tiffany Parks reports.

The city-wide ten-week performance and media festival Romaeuropa is drawing to a close this month, and it’s doing so in grand fashion. None other than the Berlin Philharmonic, indisputably one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world, will be hosted on the stage of Rome’s own Santa Cecilia Orchestra for the first time in 17 years, interpreting Mendelssohn and Shostakovich to close the mega-festival on the 21st. This unmissable and extraordinary concert will be conducted by the orchestra’s principal conductor Kirill Petrenko, who lets his work—his revolutionary way of conducting—speak for itself,radiating an incredible energy, recognized by the musicians themselves and by the public as a “source of infinite emotions.”

The concert marks the final stop on the Berlin Philharmonic’s European tour and aims to be a message of solidarity, hope, and brotherhood in memory of all the victims of the pandemic. “When the pandemic reached Europe last year, Italy was hit first, and very hard,” said the German ambassador to Italy, Viktor Elbling. “Nobody will forget the numerous victims. As a sign of European solidarity, it was natural for Germany to make its hospitals available to Italian patients as well. The images of Bergamo, and also those of the Italian towns and citizens who played on their balconies and in their living rooms thus expressing their confidence in the future, will remain indelibly etched in our memory.”

The concert’s program covers a time span of more than a century, starting with the romantic approach of Felix Mendelssohnwith hisScottish” Symphony no. 3, completed in 1842 and dedicated to Queen Victoria. In a completely different vein, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 10, written a few months after Stalin’s death in 1953, traces the torment of the long years of dictatorship.

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