Ravenna Festival 2016

13 May-13 July. This year's festival is dedicated to Nelson Mandela and the theme of freedom.

This year the programme's festival is dedicated to the value of freedom and in particular to Nelson Mandela, based on two quotations, one from Dante “I seek Liberty” and the other by Mandela “I have walked that long road to freedom.”

This top quality festival, launched by Riccardo Muti in 1990, is now one of Italy's most comprehensive, imaginative and well financed. It includes art exhibitions, concerts (classical, contemporary and jazz), dance, cinema and more.

Some of the highlights include South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo (28 May); Italy's top jazz pianist Sefano Bollani (29 May); a contemporary music concert titled Perduto in una città d'acqua, with music by Salvatore Sciarrino, Michele Foresi, Alessandro Ratoci (of the new millennial generation) and Luigi Nono (3 June); the Cape Town Opera with Mandela Trilogy (9 June); Cellolandia in which Giovanni Solimma's 100 cellos will take the festival and Ravenna by storm for a week (12-18 June); performances by Muti's Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cerubini, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Daniel Harding (19 June); two jazz concerts inspired by Mandela and South African music (20-23 June); Folia Shakespeariana in the park with actress/directors Chiara Muti and Elena Bucci (22 June).

The dance programme includes Twyla Tharp a choreography by Micha van Hoecke called Chanteuse des Rues dedicated to Edith Piaf and Jean Cocteau (28 June); Svetlana Zakhavrova and the stars of the Bolshoi and La Scala (30 June); the Batsheva Dance company (6 July); Alonzo King Lines Ballet (9 July), Michael Nyman and Water Dances (23 July).

There are also days dedicated to the Danube (1 July), to Irish music (25 June) and to Italy-Japan friendship (3 July). Add to this the Tallis Scholars (27 June), The Westminster Boys Choir (4 July), Joan Baez (13 July) and the daily homage to Dante Alighiere every morning at his tomb and you have the measure of this imaginative festival.

It is also worth downloading the festival's programme for the beautiful images of the world's top freedom fighters – Mandela, Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, Ghandi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Malala Yousafzai and more.

Events take place around the city, for the full programme see the website www.ravennafestival.org.

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Ravenna Festival 2016

Ravenna