The Ravenna Festival is a summer festival of opera and classical music (as well as dance, jazz, ethnic, electronic music, drama, film, plus conventions and exhibitions) held in the city of Ravenna, Italy and the surrounding area each June and July.
It was founded in 1990 by Maria Cristina Mazzavilani, the wife of conductor Riccardo Muti, who makes regular appearances there.
Over the years Ravenna has become a significant date on the international musical calendar with its success in offering the world’s finest orchestras led by some of the most important conductors: Pierre Boulez, Claudio Abbado, Chung, Gavazzeni, Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, Muti, Zubin Mehta, Georg Solti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Carlos Kleiber, and Georges Prêtre. But the Ravenna Festival is not only symphonic music. In June and July there is opera, theatre, dance, chamber music, ethnic music and much more.
One of the distinctive traits of the Festival programme is the incorporation of Ravenna’s extraordinary and very rich architectural heritage. The Teatro Comunale Alighieri is the main venue for opera performances, but, in addition to the theatres, there are also splendid Byzantine basilicas (San Vitale, S. Apollinare in Classe, S. Apollinare Nuovo, S. Francesco), plus cloisters and piazzas which become the setting that gives special charm to the events, exploiting the magical link established between art and music.
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