For those who think that August in Florence , Italy is boring, think again.
There are a number of reasons to embrace this “vacation month” of sorts and even if this year might be different, there are still exciting reasons to be in the city. The emergence of the Regeneration Festival from August 26th to the 29th in the Boboli Gardens is one of them and it sounds absolutely spectacular.
You’ve probably heard of The New Generation Festival, an annual celebration that takes place in Florence’s Corsini Gardens, creating an international platform for the finest young musical talent. This year, in response to the devastating effects of Covid-19 on the Italian and international cultural scene, the festivities will be relocating to the city’s historic Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace to create The ReGeneration Festival #ReGen, co-presented with the world-renowned Uffizi Galleries and produced in association with the City of Florence.
What is this festival exactly?
ReGen is a festival of youth and hope given by hundreds of rising artists engaged by The New Generation Festival in Florence. Stirred by Dostoevsky’s words that “beauty will save the world”, ReGen is an unprecedented four-day programme of concerts and productions, offered to audiences entirely for free; a festival staged by the young talent of the world for the city of Florence. It is fitting that the city of the Renaissance should now set the stage for another to be reborn. In fact, there is a historical connection in regards to the dates as well. The concerts will take place in the week in which, among other things, is the anniversary of the coronation of Cosimo I as Grand Duke of Tuscany (27 August 1569).
The Co-Founders of The New Generation Festival: Roger Granville, Maximilian Fane & Frankie Parham were kind enough to share the following with me regarding this year’s changes.
The situation throughout the world today is critical, and in many places devastating. To survive, flexibility, collaboration and creativity are fundamental. The New Generation Festival (NGF) decided to reimagine within a matter of weeks how live music, opera and theatre – performed, directed, managed and produced by some of the best young talents working in the performing arts today – can be presented in a way that embraces current limitations as a new set of parameters.
We are now immensely proud to announce the launch of The ReGeneration Festival in partnership with The Uffizi Galleries. The ReGeneration Festival #ReGen is an unprecedented four-day programme of socially-distanced concerts and productions running from 26 to 29 August at the Boboli Gardens in Florence which will be offered to audiences entirely for free. ReGen is a festival of hope given by hundreds of rising new generation artists and creatives to demonstrate the restorative power of the Arts from the city of the Renaissance. Extraordinary times call for an extraordinary response. Reservations for free tickets will open on our website and that of the Uffizi Galleries from 17 August.
What to expect?
The festival’s headline performance will be Rossini’s jubilant adaptation of Charles Perrault’s Cinderella fairy tale – La Cenerentola, taking place on both the opening and closing night. The production’s cast will be led by Svetlina Stoyanova, Josh Lovell, Gurgen Baveyan, Daniel Mirosław, Blaise Malaba, Marvic Monreal and Giorgia Paci. Bologna’s Orchestra Senzaspine will be returning this summer to perform with them.
The festival will also welcome back its ever-popular Symphony Night, with highlights including a performance of the Overture from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major, Hob. VIIb/1 with soloist Erica Piccotti and Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Both performances will be with the Italian Youth Orchestra from the Fiesole Music School in Florence conducted by Maestro Daniele Rustioni.
Maintaining the festival’s founding principle of giving young performers a platform to shine, 2020 will see the Catskill Jazz Factory return to The New Generation Festival for The Three Divas. This homage to the roaring 20s, peppered with iconic moments of Broadway and Hollywood, will be performed by some of the world’s best young jazz musicians including rising stars Veronica Swift and Sam Jewison, as well as Shenel Johns, Anush Hovhannisyan, Yasushi Nakamura, Dominick Farinacci and Dan Tepfer. In addition to the official programming, Swing Bands, Drag Queens and DJs provide late-night entertainment at the Pitti Palace, Palazzo Corsini and other locations across Florence.
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.
26th – 29th August 2020 Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace, Florence
WEDNESDAY 26 AUGUST OPENING NIGHT
Composed by Gioachino Rossini and conducted by Sándor Károlyi Directed by Jean-Romain Vesperini.
Featuring: Svetlina Stoyanova, Josh Lovell, Gurgen Baveyan, Daniel Mirosław, Blaise Malaba, Marvic Monreal, Giorgia Paci Orchestra: The Orchestra Senzaspine of Bologna
20:30 – 23:20 (including a 30-minute interval)
THURSDAY 27 AUGUST SYMPHONY NIGHT
Le nozze di Figaro Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major, Hob. VIIb/1 by Joseph Haydn Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conducted by Daniele Rustioni Cello Soloist: Erica Piccotti Orchestra: The Italian Youth Orchestra
20:30 – 21:40 (no interval). Late Night Concert: Natural Machines by Dan Tepfer 22:10 – 23:00 (no interval).
FRIDAY 28 AUGUST JAZZ NIGHT
The Three Divas
Starring Shenel Johns, Veronica Swift and Anush Hovhannisyan Accompanied by Yasushi Nakamura, Sam Jewison and Dominick Farinacci Co-produced with Piers Playfair, founder of the Catskill Jazz Factory.
20:30 – 21:45 (no interval).
Late Night Concert: DEVOTION a new act performed by British drag queens Crystal Rasmussen, Shirley Du Naughty and Aphrodite Greene, née Jones.
22:15 – 23:15 (no interval). Late-night programme given by DJ John Swing (Francesco Giannini) at the Manifattura Tabacchi.
SATURDAY 29 AUGUST FESTIVAL FINALE
Composed by Gioachino Rossini , conducted by Sándor Károlyi Directed by Jean-Romain Vesperini.
Featuring: Svetlina Stoyanova, Josh Lovell, Gurgen Baveyan, Daniel Mirosław, Blaise Malaba, Marvic Monreal, Giorgia Paci Orchestra: The Orchestra Senzaspine of Bologna.
20:30 – 23:20 (including a 30-minute interval) . Late-night programme given by DJ John Swing (Francesco Giannini) at the Manifattura Tabacchi.
*Entry to the Boboli Gardens will be granted at the main entrance to the Pitti Palace and will be open to audiences from 18:50 each evening for temperature scanning and ticket checks. Entry will not be permitted after 20:00. The food and drinks bar in the courtyard of the Pitti Palace will be open from 19:00. After the evening’s performances have ended, audiences will be ushered to exit the gardens through the Porta Romana access point.*
To find out more about The New Generation Festival, visit: www.newgenerationfestival.org . The free ticketing system for The ReGeneration Festival will go live on the website of The New Generation Festival on Monday 17 August.
Rules for attending the concert include
- At all times, audience members will be required to wear a face mask of their choice – flamboyant designs and colourful fabrics are all welcome. Guests will be asked to maintain a 2 metre (6-foot) distance from those outside their household.
- Guests will also be advised to refrain from touching any surfaces or their faces unless they have washed their hands or used an alcohol-based hand sanitiser and disinfected washing facilities will be accessible on site.
- Those displaying symptoms or with a high temperature will be refused entry. Socially-distanced fashion strongly encouraged. Please contact the NGF team for ideas.