The Ravenna festival, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, should be high up on your list of festivals this year for the sheer choice and quality of its programme.
Since its foundation by Riccardo Muti in 1990 it has expanded into locations all over the city (another venue has been added this year too) until the whole of Ravenna is involved with the festival in some way. Once only a summer event it now also has a autumn edition, Autumn Trilogy.
The focus of the festival has also changed over the years, developing from a strictly classical music programme to one with broad, cross-disciplinary themes. This year's theme is 1914 the year that changed the world. The Great War marked a turning point not only in the political and the economic order of the time but also in the visual and performing arts.
This year’s programme is so varied and interesting that it is difficult to pick out the highlights of a festival that covers music, drama, dance, lectures, opera, cinema music and more. Here are just a few. Music.
The symphonic programme includes Yuri Temirkanov conducting the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, with violin soloist Vadim Repin husband of Svetlana Zakharov (7 June), Valery Gergiev with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son (14 June) and Riccardo Muti conducting the Cherubini Orchestra in Verdi's Requiem Mass (5 July) which is also a tribute to the late Claudio Abbado followed by Requiem for all victims of war (6 July) conducted by Muti at the world war one memorial cemetery at Redipuglia in Gorizia.
The music programme also includes a section called Music and War.
Opera. Dinner with OperaCloseUp, presents La Boheme (19, 20, 21 June and L'Elisir D'Amor (15, 16 ,17 June) by the London-based opera company OperaCloseUp which started life in a London pub.
Theatre. Father and Son (25-27 June) by Michele Serra, a tragi-comic monologue about the father-child relationship in today's technological age. It reflects on a verbose but ineffectual father and a son who swap family time for the silent, empty world of computer games. Giorgio Gallione directs, with Claudio Bisio. For more details see festival website