The Rimini Meeting and the performing arts
The Meeting is not a festival, but numerous cultural events and entertainers have appeared here.
One example is Giovanni Testori, who took part personally in 1980 and in 1989, and was also often present with his works: Post Hamlet in 1983, In Exitu in 1989, the Translation of the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, read by Branciaroli in '91 and performed by the Teatro dell'Arca, directed by Antonio Syxty in '96.
Some spectacles are events rather than performances. An example is Milosz’s Miguel Manara, directed and performed by Franco Branciaroli in 1989: it went on all through the night and right across the town, with a "chorus" of over twenty thousand people. Beginning in 1988 with Eliot’s Cocktail Party (its first performance in Italy), Franco Branciaroli conferred his talent on the Meeting in different forms: Shakespeare (The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, Macbeth), Ibsen, Leopardi, Dostoevsky, Sophocles, Goldoni, Eliot, Dante, Cervantes.
Others who have performed at the Meeting are Franco Parenti with readings from Pasolini, Orazio Costa Giovangigli, Giorgio Gaber with Il signor G, Giorgio Albertazzi and Anna Proclemer, Ugo Pagliai, Arnoldo Foà, Giulio Bosetti, Fernando Arrabal, Paolo Graziosi, Lucilla Morlacchi and the Teatro dell'Arca. Eugene Ionesco came in 1985 and then returned to the Meeting in ’87 and ’88, bringing as a gift not only his own person and his significant testimony but also an unpublished work, Maximilien Kolbe, presented by Krzysztof Zanussi and Tadeusz Bradecki with music by Dominique Probst. This was a major event, as was the tribute the Meeting paid to two great representatives of European culture, Madeleine Renaud and Jean-Louis Barrault, or the presence in 1984 of Martha Graham, for the first time in Italy and, in 1985, of the Japanese dancer Kazuo Ohno.
Show people come to the Meeting more like friends than stars, and for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the motives that generally take famous people to a festival or convention. In this way Andrei Tarkovsky arrived in 1983 for an encounter, just a few months before he left Russia for good. Then when he returned in 1985 it was like returning to friends. In 1986, by then seriously ill, he sent his last film, The Sacrifice, from Paris for its Italian preview with the dedication: "To my dearest friends in my second homeland." The following year, 1987, the Meeting paid tribute to the Russian producer and his wife Larisa with an exhibition and an encounter. In the same way Krzystof Zanussi came for the first time in 1981 and returned in 1985 as the producer of Job, a play by Karol Wojtyla, and in '98, with the film Our God’s Brother. Other regular guest are Pupi Avati, Jean Delannoy, Liv Ullmann, Alain Cuny, José Carreras.
Audiences at the Meeting are young and eager, different from all others, always making a personal demand for meaning, even in songs. This is the testimony of Italian performers such as Arbore, Mogol, Bennato, Battiato, Ruggeri, Baccini, Venditti, 883, Stadio, and international figures like Georges Moustaki, Juliette Greco and Miriam Makeba.
In 1998 the participants included David Horowitz and his band, Riccardo Muti, who spoke to the journalist Renato Farina of his experience and his poetic, and the Kirov Theater Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg with a performance of Giselle.
1999 Ennio Morricone conducts the Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia in a concert of music for cinema: soloists include Dulce Pontes. Antonio Calenda presents his Representation of the Passion with Piera Degli Esposti and Krzysztof Zanussi Weekend Stories, a series of TV films. Flavio Bucci, Andrea Soffiantini and the Teatro dell'Arca perform an adaptation by Davide Rondoni, Dante vs Shakespeare?
2000 The opening spectacle To The Ends of the Earth presents the traditional music of Portugal, Brazil, South Africa, Angola and Cape Verde. Preview of the play Joan of Arc, based on the text by Charles Peguy, produced by the Meeting and directed by Jean Luc Jeneer. Light music is provided by Ron, Ruggeri, Syria, De Marinis, Di Cataldo. A great festival by the sea, “Quasi Italians”, to the music of David Horowitz & Friends, Vaneese Thomas and Lou Marini of the Blues Brothers.
2001 The Meeting opens with a major theatrical preview, held outdoors in the historic setting of the Arch of Augustus: Barabba the Freed, a play by Rondoni with music by Bruno Lauzi, Angelo Branduardi, Claudio Chieffo, David Horowitz and Riccardo Marasco. There is an encounter with the film director Pupi Avati and finally cabaret by the sea animated by Zelig’s stand-up comedians.
2002 Renzo Arbore and his Swing Maniacs is the biggest of the shows at the Meeting. Another great success is Portuguese Fado music presented by Mariza and pop by Formula 3. There is a preview of Tarkovsky’s masterpiece Solaris, reissued in the original version. In the context of the Meeting, Krzysztof Zanussi receives the Bassano Award for Catholic Culture. Paul Badura-Skoda plays Beethoven.
2003 Great theater returns to the Meeting: the Anglo-French Footsbarn theater company marks the opening with Perchance to Dream, inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. The tenth anniversary of the death of Giovanni Testori is commemorated with a performance of I Promessi Sposi alla Prova, directed by Maurizio Schmidt and with Virginio Gazzolo in the lead role.
2004 La nota dominante (The Keynote) is the title of the opening performance at the 25th edition. José Carreras and Frank Branciaroli sing a selection of the most important Italian arias accompanied by a commentary from texts by Fr. Giussani. Verdi’s La Traviata brings opera to the Meeting; it is sung by the Ars Nova choir of Parma and the Orchestra of the Province of Lecco. A deeply moving experience is the staging of the Magnificat by the poetess Alda Merini, with the actress Paola Pitagora in the lead role.
2005 The 26th edition of the Meeting opens with the masterpiece of the modern age, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, 400 years after it was written, directed and performed by Franco Branciaroli and produced by the Teatro degli Incamminati. Among the great interpreters of classical music, Krzysztof Penderecki conducts the Vilnius Festival Orchestra and Ramin Bahrami, a pianist of Iranian origin and a rising star of classical music, plays Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Great Italian rock music is also represented by Stadio in concert.
2006 The adventure of Christopher Columbus is the theme of the opening event: Datemi tre caravelle (Give Me Three Caravels), performed by Alessandro Preziosi. Classical music is much in evidence: there is a tribute to Igor Stravinsky with two evenings devoted to his work L’histoire du soldat, performed by Luigi Maio and the soloists of La Scala Opera House; Schubert and Mozart performed by the Accademia delle Opere. a triumphant concert is presented by the SAT, the world’s most famous Alpine choir, preceded by a seminar on Alpine songs. "Concert for a friend" sees the return of the singer-songwriter Claudio Chieffo to the stage of the Meeting. Finally, there are guides to listening by "Spirto Gentil" with live performances.
2007 The silent movie “The Passion of Joan of Arc” by the great director Carl Theordor Dreyer, was the opening show, accompanied by the live premiere of Voices of Light, the American composer Richard Einhorn’s opera devoted to the saint. David Horowitz returned to the Meeting with his all American band. A great success was “Nessun dorma” by the Claudio Cinelli-Porte Girevoli Theater Company with a show for children and families. Ireland was featured in “The Dawning of the Day”, a reading by the poet Patrick Kavanagh and the Irish band Dervish. An evening was devoted to two great friends of the Meeting: Bruno Lauzi and Giorgio Gaber. Events were wrapped up with “Everyone Wants to Play Jazz” and, on the final evening, the folk music group “La signora stracciona.”
2008 Four previews between March and July with celebrities such as Lucrezia Lante della Rovere, Massimo Dapporto, Alessandro Preziosi and Giancarlo Giannini were were the overture to the great success of the inaugural spectacle: “The Stranger” of “La Rocca” by Thomas S. Eliot, exhibited at the Meeting with first-time-seen videos, with the participation of Maurizio Schmidt and Giovanni Battaglia and with the original theme music by Marco Poeta. Cinema returns with the prize-giving of the shorts’ contest “What’s in your city?” with the participation of Pupi Avati. An evening was also dedicated to Nino Rota. The group Oldarra with their Basques, arrived from Spain, while the great Italian Fadoist, Marco Poeta, brings back to the Meeting the notes of Fado. This year the final feast was the concert of David Van De Sfroos.
2009 The drama Miguel Mañara by the Lithuan playwright Oscar Milosz, interpreted by Gigio Alberti inaugurates the Meeting. Back to the meeting are Master Ennio Morricone, the song with Enzo Jannacci and the popular one with Ambrogio Sparagna. The attention on cinema still alive with the second edition of the contest for short films “What’s in your city?” and a cinematographic review. The end of the Meeting will be celebrated with Naples music with singer song writer Alfredo Minucci.