Determined to “fermare il tempo,” the Ritratti di Monopoli Festival captures moments in an artistic project that explores various aspects of a key parameter in music and science, which is also an experience of consciousness. Thus, time is primarily understood as rhythm, the very essence of jazz, which becomes sublime art with the highly anticipated super trio led by American pianist Brad Mehldau, joined by Larry Grenadier on double bass and Jeff Ballard on drums for the inauguration of the nineteenth edition, scheduled on July 17 at Masseria Spina.

“The Ritratti Festival – declared the regional councillor responsible for Cultural Policies, Grazia Di Bari – as one of the most anticipated summer events, capable of attracting visitors from all over Italy and beyond. It is always wonderful to see our young talents together with internationally renowned artists: the many tourists in Monopoli during this period will be able to enjoy a series of unique performances. This is the strength of Apulia: offering tourists shows that are impossible to experience anywhere else. This year, the festival will once again be itinerant, involving all the spaces in the city. Events like this are important for the entire cultural sector, which is why the Region intends to support this and other events planned in the coming weeks in every corner of Apulia. We have been working for some time to make the Region an increasingly attractive cultural destination: those who come to visit us must know that they can admire not only our natural beauty and savour our culinary delights but also count on a wide and diverse cultural offering.

‘No summer in Monopoli is complete without the Festival Ritratti, an event,’ says Mayor Angelo Annese, ‘that has become a feature of the calendar of events that the city offers its citizens and tourists. Various artists will alternate in a series of rich and prestigious events. For this reason, I would like to thank the Euterpe Music Association and Antonia Valente for their commitment once again this year in mapping out a rich, varied and above all quality musical itinerary. One-of-a-kind performances of high cultural value every evening in an evocative location, always different, to be discovered or rediscovered’.

«The life of a musician is a constant relationship with the parameter of time, and the great darkness of the pandemic – says the artistic director Antonia Valente – has sent our system of perceptions into a tailspin, paradoxically making us find the present just as it expropriated us of our daily lives.  That point of observation out of the ordinary, has slowly dug the track of the Ritratti Festival 2023, where music becomes a catalyst and timeless centre of gravity, re-innovating in the experience of live listening the relationship between sound and its impact in the community and in the places where it is created and received. An intimate relationship able, in the present, to welcome and incubate the moods of both the performers and the public, potentially capable of cancelling the distances between art and life, suspending or moving the hands of time, portrait of a moment, unique, unrepeatable and, also for this reason, magical».

The thematic dimension of the festival will be explored in various directions. For example, the obsession with youth by pop icon Michael Jackson will be at the centre of a tribute performed by the Abruzzo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Roberto Molinelli (July 20, Masseria Spina). Then, the time sold to the devil, which in the myth of Faust, inspires “The Soldier’s Taleby Stravinsky, a masterpiece of musical theatre directed by Cecilia Ligorio (July 22, Palazzo Palmieri). Additionally, time as an extension of space in the pieces chosen by pianist Emanuele Arciuli for the festival’s second year of residence, where he presents a project ranging from Lou Harrison to William Duckworth, featuring soprano Veronica Pompeo, violinist Lorenzo Rovati, and percussionist Igor Caiazza (July 25, Chiostro di Palazzo San Martino).

There will also be a window on didactic time with ‘Clocks’, a programme with a highly original layout that extends from Ligeti to Sollima, Adams and Miguel Del Aguila, the author of the six-movement suite entitled ‘Clocks’: a project that plays with the perceptual experience of durations and temporal planes, and an ensemble in which Stephanie Gurga (piano and harpsichord) and Antonia Valente (piano) are joined by the Albéniz de Prosegur Quartet, in collaboration with the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid (27 July, Cloister of the Palazzo san Martino).

Simultaneously, the focus will be on the ability of music to bring the “still image” representation of Goya’s paintings back to the “live” dimension with Enrique Granados‘ piano suite “Goyescas,” a work entrusted to the sensitivity of Viviana Lasaracina (July 29, Chiostro di Palazzo San Martino). This will be followed by a tribute project called “All You Can Beat,” honouring the complex polyrhythms of Frank Zappa (on the thirtieth anniversary of his passing) and Azio Corghi, one of the pioneers of post-avant-garde who passed away last November. Danilo Grassi will set the pace for a formation consisting of drummer Gianmarco Petrucci, an ensemble of thirteen percussionists, and two pianos (August 1st, Masseria Spina).

The festival will conclude, for the third consecutive year, with the «Cineritratti» section and the synchronization between music and images with the magic of Buster Keaton’s silent cinema and his «Seven Chances»: Stephen’s original compositions animate the film Prutsman and the musical direction of Alberto Maniaci (3 August, Roof Garden of the Radar Theatre).

To complete the programme, from 7 July the new «Riatti Exhibit» project, a cycle of widespread art exhibitions in collaboration with Doppelgaenger by Antonella Spano and Marina Bastianello Gallery, «Trovare il Tempo», in-depth meetings on the themes of the festival with several guests and the direction of the expert on the subject, Nicola Pedone, guided tours of the historic center and the «Riatti Kids» workshop directed by Andrea Gargiulo.

All concerts will start at 9pm.

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