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21 Jul 2020

The ReGeneration Festival 2020

Grand open-air celebrations in the Boboli Gardens of Florence's Palazzo Pitti for this year's transformed New Generation Festival

The ReGeneration Festival, Wednesday 26 August - Saturday 29 August 2020, Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace, Florence


In an exceptional manifestation of hope and renewal, the 4th edition of The New Generation Festival will be transformed into The ReGeneration Festival, co-presented with the Uffizi Galleries and in association with theCity of Florence at the landmark Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens, from 26 August to 29 August 2020.

Introducing a budding cast of tomorrow's stars in a staged production of the Cinderella story in Rossini's magical La Cenerentola , the ReGeneration Festival will host opera, jazz with Anush Hovhannisyan, and concerts at the Palazzo Pitti in collaboration with Musica con le Ali and in the charming ornamental gardens of Palazzo Corsini al Prato.

It is fitting that the city of the Renaissance should now set the stage for another to be reborn. Extraordinary times call for an extraordinary artistic response. The ReGeneration Festival will demonstrate the restorative power of the arts in the face of a global pandemic.

The unprecedented four-day programme of concerts and productions will be offered to audiences entirely for free and will be broadcast both online and on-air.

Strict COVID-19 protocols will keep artists and audiences safe throughout the rehearsal period and festival. The New Generation Festival will stage a unique celebration of creativity that conforms to the requirements of social distancing and follows rigorous health and safety protocols, including temperature checks and obligatory masks. The festival will also encourage spectators to wear original social-distancing outfits and bygone crinoline dresses as magnificent sartorial adoptions of safety measures that marry form and function in the tradition of the great Renaissance carnivals.

Performed on 26 and 29 August 2020 at the Palazzo Pitti, Rossini's enchanting retelling of the Cinderella fairy-tale features rising stars Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Svetlina Stoyanova as Angelina (Cenerentola) and Canadian tenor Josh Lovell as her Prince, Don Ramiro.

Both singers are young members of the Vienna State Opera ensemble, and Stoyanova is the 2017 winner of the Neue Stimmen competition. Lovell previously appeared at the 2018 Festival in Don Giovanni, with his Don Ottavio described in The Independent as "dream casting […] with an expressive purity of tone which we all too seldom hear" , winning the Grand Prize at the 's-Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition the same year.

The production will be directed byJean-Romain Vesperini and conducted by Sándor Károlyi. Video mapping designed by Etienne Guiol and lighting by Christophe Chaupin will transport audiences to the Royal Court of the French King Louis XIV, with the costumes of Anna Maria Heinreich also drawing on the Renaissance theme.

The young cast is completed with Gurgen Baveyan (Dandini), Daniel Mirosław (Don Magnifico), Blaise Malaba (Alidoro), Marvic Monreal (Tisbe) and Giorgia Paci (Clorinda). All singers are current members or recent graduates of notable programmes worldwide including the Royal Opera House's Jette Parker Scheme (Blaise Malaba) and Opernstudio Frankfurt (Gurgen Baveyan). The international cast performing at the outset of their careers are drawn from seven countries around the world.

The roaring twenties come to Florence with iconic moments of Broadway and Hollywood in The Three Divas on 28 August 2020, featuring singer Veronica Swift (a double winner in the Jazztimes 2019 Readers' Poll), Anush Hovhannisyan, Shenel Johns, Sam Jewison, Yasushi Nakamura, Dominick Farinacci and Dan Tepfer, in an event co-produced with Piers Playfair, founder of the Catskill Jazz Factory.

Each evening will end in late-night musical entertainment and revelry, in the Boboli Gardens and in the festival's usual home, the centuries-old Palazzo Corsini al Prato across the river.

Dr Eike D. Schmidt , Director of the Uffizi Galleries, said:
"After the enormous success of the collaborations between the Uffizi Galleries with the Maggio Musicale, with the Musica con le Ali association – which offers two festivals every year in the Sala Bianca – and now also with the Florence Conservatoire which for some weeks has been staging concerts for visitors to the Palazzo Pitti every Saturday morning, now the relationship that the Uffizi Galleries has with music is intensifying and strengthening even more. This is thanks to The ReGeneration Festival: a great event that will enchant the Boboli Gardens during the week in which, among other things, we will have the anniversary of the coronation of Cosimo I as Grand Duke of Tuscany (27 August 1569)."

The New Generation Festival provides an international platform for young musical talent, with the aim of breaking down barriers between generations: the age of the Festival's 2019 audience ranged from 8 to 91 and over 50% of the opera audience was under 35. The 2019 Festival sold out to a diverse and international audience that represented over 25 countries.

The New Generation Festival was created by co-founders Maximilian Fane (Artistic Director), Roger Granville (Creative Director), and Frankie Parham (Executive Producer) alongside star soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, Head of Artistic Relations. The Festival is created with the support of Princess Giorgiana Corsini and other members of the Corsini family.

Mascarade Opera Studio

In September 2020, New Generation Festival will offer year-round opportunity to budding opera singers as the Festival launches an international Mascarade Opera Studio in Florence, providing a carefully designed high-ability nine-month training programme for eight singers and two répétiteurs.

The studio will provide extensive performance skills training by expert coaches, vocal consultants, performance specialists and internationally acclaimed masterclass teachers, including legendary Italian soprano Mariella Devia as Honorary President and world-renowned English baritone Sir Thomas Allen as Honorary Patron. The studio will be directed by Dr Ralph Strehle and the artistic advisory board includes Claudia Assmann, Christoph Boehmke, Susan Bullock, Jessica Cottis, Roger Granville, Anush Hovhannisyan, Sam McShane, Jonathan Papp, Frankie Parham, Jonathan Santagada and Carmen Santoro. In accordance with its founding ethos, Mascarade Opera Studio envisages to be a place where knowledge and practices are exchanged freely.

The Mascarade Opera Studio Artists 2020 are:

  • Sopranos Alexandria Wreggelsworth (USA), Marianna Hovhannisyan (Armenia)
  • Mezzo-sopranos Gabrielė Kupšytė (Lithuania), Lauren Young (Scotland), Xenia Tziouvaras (USA)
  • Tenor Ángel Vargas (Puerto Rico)
  • Baritone Thandolwenkosi Zwane (Eswatini, Swaziland), Paweł Trojak (Poland)
  • Répétiteurs Henry Websdale (UK), Kristina Yorgova (Bulgaria)

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