The hundred days of Italy’s most eclectic and cosmopolitan Festival: from 20 September, a non-stop series of international events in the most prestigious areas of the capital.
79 projects with 60 performances as well as exhibitions, installations, conferences and training courses; 174 repeat performances in 24 different locations, for a total of 57,600 tickets for sale; 7 world premieres, 32 international programmes. Now in its 32nd edition and defined by Les Echos as: “An international festival that relentlessly pushes the boundaries of art”, from 20 September to 2 December Romaeuropa convenes a battalion of over three hundred artists from 32 countries.
From Sasha Waltz to Dada Masilo, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui to Jan Fabre, Jeff Mills with Tony Allen to Carl Craig with Francesco Tristano as well as Marco Paolini with Mario Brunello and Frankie hi-nrg, and The Holy Body Tattoo with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Ascanio Celestini, CollectivO CineticO, Muta Imago, Alessandro Baricco with Dario Voltolini and Nicola Tescari, Roberto Herlitzka, Pippo Delbono alongside Alexander Balanescu, Petra Magoni, Enzo Avitabile and Piero Corso; 40 artists appearing for the first time, including Julien Gosselin, Dorothée Munyaneza, Rimini Protokoll, Agrupación Señor Serrano, She She Pop with Zeikratzer, Babilonia Teatri, Lisa Ferlazzo Natoli, Biancofango, Industria Indipendente, Dante Antonelli, Azzurra De Gregorio and Giuliano Scarpinato in addition to six orchestral ensembles: stars and new factors of contemporary creation create a kaleidoscope of expressive forms and answer the question Where are we now?, the title of this new edition.
“We have formulated a question as the title for REF17 because right now, it seems the right choice for the period that we are living in”, explained Fabrizio Grifasi, General Director and Artist of the Fondazione Romaeuropa presided by Monique Veaute. “The works of the artists make up a map of the present, as fragile as the house of cards that is our image this year, and no less ambitious. They go beyond aesthetic and gender categorisations into a conceptual geography that is constructed and deconstructed according to the strength of the interpretations”.
So if music is the linking element that runs through the entire REF17 programme, modulating the emotions of the present through listening, the festival is structured like a story with the “thematic groupings”: Visions, Powerful Stories, Sharing and Selfie. These will be accompanied by the focus events and reviews within the festival: the children’s and family’s shows at REF Kids by Stefania Lo Giudice (a new feature this year), the days dedicated to new European dance with Dancing Days by Francesca Manica, the youngest Italian theatre in Anni Luce by Maura Teofili, the Talks and the opportunities for discussion and training by Lara Mastrantonio and Matteo Antonaci.
Digitalife, the technological heart of the Romaeuropa Festival, will also be back this year for the eighth edition. Under the supervision of Monique Veaute, it will be arriving for the first time in the prestigious spaces of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, bringing together immersive works by Richard Castelli and video art selected by the Nomas Foundation and the Fondazione Giuliani. Monique Veaute commented that “The eighth edition of Digitalife stimulates us to reflect on the fragility of representations of reality, which are as deceptive as the virtual illusions that are capable of deforming it. Within the spaces of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, spectators will interact with complex audio-visual architectures, surrounded and embraced by vortexes of light and sound”. The artists hosted in the partnership with Azienda Speciale Palaexpo include: AES+F, Dumb Type, Granular Synthesis, Ivana Franke and Jean Michel Bruyère.
The logo for Romaeuropa Festival 2017 was specially created by artist and illustrator Chiara Fazi.
Romaeuropa Festival 2017 will be opened on 20 September by the great German choreographer Sasha Waltz, with the Italian debut of her new pièce “Creation”.
The support of the Italian Parliament, which included the Romaeuropa Festival in the law for promoting large festivals of national interest this year, is fundamental for the entire event, along with the confirmation of the support of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Roma Capitale, the Lazio Region and the valuable support of the Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo, which has been supporting Romaeuropa and promoting artists in the Mediterranean, and RAI, which uses its channels to offer the festival new opportunities to reach a wider audience with in-depth coverage.
REF17: Shows, artists and events
FOR A MAP OF THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD: VISIONS, SHARING, POWERFUL STORIES, SELFIE
VISIONS | Shows suspended between tradition and the future, scenes of emotions, sensations and dreams, new rituals that put the cultural heritage and landscapes of the future in touch: REF17 will be opening on 20 September with Sasha Waltz at Teatro Argentina (before the collaboration with the Teatro di Roma) with the Italian debut of “Creation”, a show where the powerful stylistic creations of Iris Van Herpen, the lights of Urs Schönebaum and the music of the New York band Soundwalk Collective converge.
This visionary slant is continued by South African choreographer Dada Masilo, on stage with his angry reinterpretation of Giselle to music composed by Philip Miller and images by William Kentridge; the Muta Imago company, together with the Arte Musica Ensemble, will be staging the entire Canti Guerrieri cycle from Monteverdi’s Eighth Book of Madrigals; Aurélien Bory with his Compagnie 111 in Espæce will be holding an authentic tribute to Georges Perec, transforming his words into pure, astonishing matter.
Visions not only for the eyes, but also for the ears with Geek Bagatelles, the work of French composer Bernard Cavanna presented in a national debut by the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese, CRM, GRAME and the Smartphone Choir of students from the “Teresa Gullace Talotta” high school in Rome; Lisa Ferlazzo Natoli together with Gianluca Ruggeri in LesAdieux! Words saved from the flames run through music, videos and some of the top moments of the October Revolution; Roberto Herlitzka, who, set to the music commissioned from Nuova Consonanza and again with the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese, presents his translation of De Rerum Natura into Dante’s terzine rhyme in an absolute national debut. In addition, Edison Studio brings new suggestions and sound tracks to the masterpiece Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, as well as organizing the second edition of the international film music competition, in collaboration with SIAE and the Cineteca di Bologna. Lastly, Robert Henke will be presenting his Lumiere III in which electronic music and illuminated images create a stunning show that promises to set the Teatro Argentina on fire. The show is a preview of the eighth edition of Digitalife.
SHARING | From electronics to techno, from tribal rhythms to symphonic music passing through Korean songs and Indian instruments: Sharing means sharing knowledge and identity, bringing together artists from different disciplines who each bring their skills to play. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui deploys in his Fractus V dancers and musicians from a wide range of geographical and professional backgrounds to tackle the problem of communication between propaganda and neutrality through the words of linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky; Alessandro Baricco meets writer Dario Voltolini, setting and interpreting his text Pacific Palisades set to Nicola Tescari’s music. From Canada comes the rock energy of The Holy Body Tattoo, along with the famous rock band Goodspeed You!, to stage Black Emperor, a monumental show/concert that is one of the cult shows of contemporary dance. Tony Allen, father of Afrobeat, meets techno guru Jeff Mills to create the live show Amical Music, while Detroit techno pioneer Carl Craig dialogues with Francesco Tristano in a translation of his entire electronic repertoire for keyboards and synthesizers performed by Les Siècles Orchestra. The dialogue between music and performance continues with choreographer Jan Martens, who in RULE OF THREE will be coming up against hard-core musician NAH and the female She She Pop group in Play!, reflecting on the canonical structure of a concert and the customs of the ceremony by ironically disrupting the Zeitkratzer group of German composers and musicians. For the inauguration of the Symphonic Season of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, Romaeuropa will be inviting the artistic duo MASBEDO to interact with the Orchestra and Choir of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in a live video screening and directing project of Karol Szymanowski’s Król Roger (King Roger) work.
SELFIE | Real stories of men and artists who pass through their own private universe and their own visions of the world: With BELGIAN RULES/BELGIUM RULES, a simultaneous invective and homage to Belgium, Jan Fabre returns to Romaeuropa Festival after presenting his Mount Olympus, a 24-hour winner of the Ubu 2016 Prize, in 2015. The film Surrender directed by Phil Griffin, which examines the creative processes of the great Belgian artist and deepens the relationship with its performers “warriors of beauty”, is dedicated to this monumental show. Pippo Delbono is another of the great innovators of international theatre, and has teamed up with Adesso voglio musica e basta to excavate his own memory and transform his passion for music in encounters with Alexander Balanescu, Petra Magoni, Enzo Avitabile and Piero Corso to analyse the theme of love in all its shades. Io non ho mani che mi accarezzino il viso by Roman company Biancofango is a hybrid of the biographies of the characters on stage, with Saint Joan of the Stockyards from Brecht, Woyzeck from Büchner and Arkadina from ?echov. “Autobiographical Circus” is the show directed by Olivier Meyrou in which acrobat Matias Pilet rifles through her childhood memories in search of her roots. Marleen Scholten of the Dutch group Wunderbaum answers the question that gives the title to the show, Who is the real Italian?, staging a real housing association meeting offering, from her particular point of view, a portrait or a self-portrait of the inhabitants of Quarticciolo district of Rome.
POWERFUL STORIES | Reality, with its powerful stories and contradictions, bursts onto the stage naked and unfiltered, or is transposed and represented by artists’ sensitivity: Ascanio Celestini brings the voice of the marginalized on stage in his PUEBLO, the second chapter of an ideal trilogy inaugurated at REF in 2015 with Laika; Babilonia Teatri closes its exploration of Dante’s Divine Comedy and with Paradiso takes on stage not only some elements of the Allegro Moderato Orchestra of Milan but also the actors of ZeroFavole, a group of disabled people and volunteers whose aim is to break down the barriers between people.
The words of the sentence filed in 1990 by Judge Rosario Priore regarding the Ustica massacre become “a Poetic Electronic Work” in the De Facto show by Ateliersi with Fiorenza Menni, while Marco Paolini, together with the Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble and Mario Brunello, a composition by Montalbetti and the voice of Frankie Hi-nrg, in #Antropocene offers an unprecedented view of the theme of the relationship between man and technology. From France, enfant terrible Julien Gosselin with his company Si vous pouviez lécher mon cœur will be staging one of the most powerful and famous texts of Houllebecq, Les Particules élémentaires, using metalinguistic mechanisms and live music to construct a provocative show capable of offering a no-holds-barred view of contemporary life Dorothée Munyaneza, singer and performer for the first time in Rome with her Unwanted, a collection of poetic testimonies on the theme of violence against women in Rwanda and the world, has an equally uncompromising view. From Spain, 2015 Silver Lion winner Agrupación Señor Serrano will be staging Birdie that, starting from the comparison between a famous photograph taken by Melilla da Josè Palazon and Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, deals with the theme of migration and movements of information, goods and men in the world. This exploration of reality will be anticipated by Nachlass, presented at Romaeuropa in collaboration with Short Theatre by Swiss company Rimini Protokoll: an insight into the meaning of death through the rooms of eight common people who chose to prepare for their passing.
REF KIDS: SHOWS FOR ALL AGES
The biggest new feature at Romaeuropa Festival 2017 is REF KIDS, a focus on international shows for younger audiences (from 18 months up), which will be divided into three different weekends at La Pelanda – MACRO Testaccio in Rome and La Factory. The focus will be opened by the famous Akram Khan Company on stage with Chotto Desh, a children’s version of the Desh masterpiece; the programme dedicated to young audiences will then continue with the elegant world of percussion built by the Theater de Spiegel in BEAT THE DRUM!, the illusions of BonteHond with the naughty but nice Ipad, a trip on a fantastic hot air balloon with the Farrès brothers and adventures in enchanted forests with teatrodelleapparizioni. Sounds and images intersect in Sensacional by Spanish company IMAGINART, in the amazing sound machine built by Laurent Bigot in Le Petite Cirque and in the shows by STEREOPTIK, returning to Romaeuropa Festival after last year’s success with Dark Circus and Congès Payès. Rustica X Band, the famous group led by Pasquale Innarella, will be presenting a new, exciting concert to get spectators of all ages having fun. The English-language workshops organised by the ARTandSEEK association are fun moments of artistic experimentation. At the same time, the adjacent space of the Factory becomes a multifaceted playground for young audiences and families, in which a sound and space installation created by teatrodelleapparizioni and a work by street artist Alicé coexist with the illustration exhibition Quindici Uomini curated by the B17 Illustration association and an ad hoc space, furnished with the creations of Fables’ Secrets, where readings and workshops will be held. Talks organized in collaboration with Family Punto Zero, a cultural content incubator and parenting advice centre, will also be included in the programme. Finally, Casa dello Spettatore will be exploring the function and responsibility of parents as cultural mediators.
ANNI LUCE AND DANCING DAYS: AN EYE TO THE FUTURE
Anni Luce is dedicated to new theatre, transforming the Romaeuropa Festival into an inter-galactic probe ready to navigate in far-off territories and discover some of the most innovative independent artists in the young Italian scene: La Pelanda, the new theatre by Giuliano Scarpinato, the corporeal and musical experimentation by Industria Indipendente, the visionary citationism of Azzurra De Gregorio, and the stage writing of Dante Antonelli will all be on stage.
The most interesting European dance names, on the other hand, will be involved in Dancing Days, featuring internationally renowned artists who are disrupting the choreographic landscape with their eclectic and unpredictable performances. These days of dance will be opened by CollettivO CineticO: the company founded by Francesca Pennini will be presenting their new show Benvenuto Umano, starring an eclectic tribe of dancers and circus performers. From the Netherlands, Arno Schuitemaker will be staging “I will wait for you” and transforming the feelings he really experienced during a long distance relationship into a performance in abstract and minimalist language. The relationship between music and the body is the protagonist of the shows of Jesús Rubio Gamo (Spain), Jonas & Lander (Portugal) Daniele Ninarello and Francesca Foscarini (Italy), along with Timothy and the Things (Hungary), all part of the Aerowaves network selection for 2017. The winner of the DNA appunti coregrafici award for young choreographers grappling with their first work, won last year by Orlando Izzo | Angel Pandey, is back this year for Dancing Days with the half-serious Trattato semiserio di oculistica. Lastly, Italian choreographer Floor Robert finally leads us back to our childhood imagination with his INFLUENZA, representative of the younger Italian choreography.
COMMUNITY: Meeting spaces
REF17 is not just about shows, but also communities: Master classes that offer the chance to meet and study with the internationally renowned choreographers that are guests at the festival, workshops to let the viewer get right inside the dynamics of the stage and the gestures of choreographers, talks and debates.
During the presentation of the book Corpi in Bilico. Danza contemporanea per attori, Monica Vannucchi, Vice Director and teacher of contemporary dance at the Accademia Nazionale d’Arte Drammatica Silvio D’Amico, will be running through the archive material of the Fondazione Romaeuropa to in a meeting paying homage to Trisha Brown, a central figure in the 32 years of the festival. The actuality and the problems of reality dealt with in some shows are the stars of two talks organised in collaboration with international shows Agrupacion Señor Serrano and Dorothée Munyaneza. Post It, the series of meetings post-show with artists of the festival in collaboration with Rai Radio 3, will be back again this year featuring the live shows’ biggest icons: Sasha Waltz, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, The Holy Body Tattoo, Alessandro Baricco and many more. Edited by Teatro e Critica, Vis à Vis instead focuses on the most innovative aspects of the festival, comparing the poetics of artists and introducing the vision of the shows in their own words. Lastly, while the Academy of France will be hosting the Pilet/Meyrou duo to bring viewers to the intimacy of Tu, the Swiss Institute of Culture will be presenting within the Migrations, chances et tournements project a sound installation entitled DREAMS & NIGHTMARES by Daniel De Perrot, a founding member of the Zimmermann & De Perrot duo.
Training activities start in May: Casa dello Spettatore is designed for teachers looking to teach their students about the theatre, while Waiting for REf, a series of three meetings led by Gaia Clotilde Chernetich, Magdalene Giovannelli and Annalisa Piccirillo, will tell the audience about the work of choreographers in the festival program, with the support of the Romaeuropa archive materials. From September, the presence in town of internationally renowned artists will offer the chance to attend master classes for dancers (in collaboration with the D.A.F. -Dance Arts Faculty), actors and directors; the companies involved include: Sasha Waltz & Guests, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, The Holy Body Tattoo, Agrupación Señor Serrano, Babilonia Teatri and Ateliersi. Danzografie will be renewing their relationship with the Romaeuropa festival along with the National Dance Academy, offering students the opportunity to follow the festival through a series of encounters with scholars Ada D’Adamo and Gaia Clotilde Chernetich. Investigating topics and choreographic techniques with the body will be the focus of RE-Visioni, a series of workshops led by Diana Damiani, Maria Grazia Grosso, Clare Ossicini and Ketty Russo, while music will be a free experimentation with Polifonie Creative by the Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia. The European project Connect on audience development, conceived by Melting Pro and supported by REf17, will be dedicated to artists and culture managers. Lastly, Danzaeffebi will give a group of spectators a chance to write about the festival on its website.
DIGITALIFE: The body, between art and science
Art and science meet in the final days of the festival, conceived as an integral part of Digitalife 2017. Where are we now? is the title of the symposium that tries to answer the question that has spanned the entire 32nd edition of Romaeuropa, through a reflection on the body and its relationship with new technology: organized by Prof. Massimo Bergamasco, the event is composed of a set of talks with distinguished researchers, and starring the artist who made her own body into a living cyberpunk sculpture: STELARC.
The body is once again the protagonist in the performances of ArtOnTime: a prize as well as an exhibition and curator project designed and launched by Marco Trevisan, Christie’s consultant, by collector Giorgio Fasol and Tommaso Cinti, manager of the crowdfunding platform Artraising.org. Giordano Rush, Luigi Presicce, Julia Krahn and Invernomuto, artists selected by a jury of top profile names – composed of Fasol himself, along with curator Antonio Grulli, Riccardo Lisi (Director of La Rada Locarno) and President of the Fondazione Romaeuropa Monique Veaute – will be presenting their performances at the Romaeuropa Festival, as the last stage of the project.
The Fondazione Romaeuropa has always been committed to discovering, stimulating and supporting the career of great artists and new proposals, in order to catch a glimpse of contemporary art, anticipating every possible cultural, social and existential change, picking up on creativity, artistic languages and visions from all over the world. It is interesting to note how many of REf 2017’s artistic proposals actually abandon the traditional categories into which entertainment is divided. The boundaries between theatre, dance, music, circus, technology and experimentation dissolve in the individual works, in favour of a new multimedia form.
The Romaeuropa Festival 2017 is held by the Fondazione Romaeuropa and is made possible thanks to the support of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, the Councillor for Cultural Growth of Roma Capitale, the Lazio Region, and the Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo.
The festival relies on a valuable network that spans the public and private sector, Italian and European, including the Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati, the Institut Français and La Francia in Scena, the Goethe-Institut, the Fonds Podium Kunsten Performing Arts Fund NL, the Spanish Embassy and Acción Cultural Española, the Québec Delegation in Rome, the Canadian Embassy, RAI as main media partner of the festival, institutions like the Teatro di Roma, our main theatre partner, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Fondazione Musica per Roma, the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome and MAXXI – National Museum of 21st century art.
REF17 is sponsored by prestigious international embassies such as the Belgian, British, German, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Swiss, South African, US and Hungarian embassies, and is networked with the Biblioteca Quarticciolo, Olimpico, Vascello and Vittoria theatres, Conciliazione e Carrozzeria Auditorium | n.o.t., with the Accademia di Francia a Roma – Villa Medici, the Swiss Institute, the Nomas Foundation, the Fondazione Giuliani, the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa and its PERCRO – Perceptual Robotics Laboratory, Nuova Consonanza, Short Theatre, Prohelvetia – Swiss Arts Council and the Aerowaves network, along with the partners of the Conservatorio di Musica di S. Cecilia, Accademia Nazionale di Danza, IED – European Design Institute, Casa dello Spettatore, DAF – Dance Arts Faculty, European Dance Alliance, Danzaeffebi and Teatro e Critica.