From September 5th to September 13th the beautiful, ancient hamlet will become a stage to 25 artistic projects, 10 national and international premières and 3 "Mittelforums". The festival's artistic director Haris Pašović announced "empathy" as the 29th edition's theme in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, wondering if a new world and a more compassionate society could be ensuing as a consequence.
Mittelfest 2020: programme's highlights
Among the events scheduled for the opening day, the FVG Orchestra will play Mozart's "Requiem" at the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, honouring Covid-19's victims. The Mittelfest 2020 programme will feature big names from the Italian and Middle-European cultural scene: actor Alessandro Benvenuti will premiere his Covid-themed monologue, award-winning actor Elio Germano will perform his "La mia battaglia", while from neighbour countries there will be a homage to the late Slovenian director Tomaž Pandur and the drama "Till Death Do Us Part" by Croatian actress and author Mira Furlan. The Dutch Ikarai Ensemble will present their show dedicated to boxer Mohammad Alì, "Muhammad", in collaboration with Dutch Performing Arts, and famed theatre director Emma Dante will put on stage her pièce "Misericordia".
There will be varied live music too, from classical to folk: Italian eclectic musician Vinicio Capossela will bring a bit of "Pandemonium", while the Philharmonic String Quartet (the Berliner Philharmoniker's chamber ensemble) will play Beethoven and Haydn. Digital and visual arts will also be a central focus of the festival, with many performances.
30 years promoting culture and tolerance
Mittelfest was born during hard times, when the Iron Curtain was crumbling down but things in the near Balkans were getting worse, instead. It is one of the most important cultural events of the Central European Initiative area (which includes most Eastern and Central European countries, and Italy of course) and spanning over three decades it gave voice to extraordinary artists from all over the world: choreographer Pina Bausch and dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, actress Isabelle Huppert, musicians Brad Mehldau and Richard Galliano, film director Emir Kusturica and writers and intellectuals of the likes of Václav Havel, Peter Esterhazy, George Tabori, Claudio Magris and Biljana Srbljanovic. The festival's director himself, Haris Pašović, is a renowned theatre director and the founder of the Sarajevo Film Festival.
To mark the importance of Cividale del Friuli, it would be enough to mention that the region’s very name came from it. The city was founded by the Roman emperor Julius Caesar under the name “Forum Iulii” (Julius’ square), hence the toponym “Friuli”. It then grew to become, in 568 a.C., the first Langobardic duchy in Italy, for which reason in 2011 it has been enlisted into Unesco’s World Heritage sites. Many archaeological discoveries belonging to that era helped resurface ancient treasures, like the ones found in the city’s wide Langobard necropolis: relics are on public display at Cividale’s National Archaeological Museum. Having also been a home to Aquileia’s Patriarchs for a long time, extraordinary artefacts are also kept in the Museo Cristiano del Duomo, testifying its early Christian heritage. The Tempietto (little temple) is another impressive monument worth visiting, but Cividale’s history is so interesting and ancient that we’ve set to devote an entire article (or even more, maybe) to it. So stay tuned, then!
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All photos by Luca A. d'Agostino/Phocus Agency, taken from the website www.mittelfest.org