Lucia Ronchetti appointed Artistic Director of Biennale Musica, Venice

Italian opera composer Lucia Ronchetti has been appointed Artistic Director of the Biennale Musica in Venice. Ronchetti will be responsible for programming the Biennale Musica for its 2021-2024 editions, which will all be devoted to exploring vocal music.

The Biennale Musica is one of the six Biennale di Venezia that showcase the best in contemporary Architecture, Art, Dance, Film, Music and Theatre. The 64th Biennale Musica, directed by Ivan Fedele, ran from 25 September to 4 October 2020.

Lucia Ronchetti commented on her appointment:

“As Artistic Director I’ll be inspired by Venice and its musical history – from being the cradle of vocal counterpoint with the experiments with the diffusion of the vocal sound in San Marco with the ‘Cori spezzati’ technique in the 1500’s, to Venice as the laboratory of new forms of baroque music theatre, the city where the first theatre became a public theatre (the San Cassiano in1637) and the Venice of today with its wealth of operatic and choral performances.

“By taking the Biennale Musica into the city’s historical spaces and creating connections with their history and contemporary practice I aim to stimulate understanding of the coexistence and the importance of the past and the present with the hope that something for the future will be created.”

Lucia Ronchetti is one of the leading Italian composers working today who is especially celebrated for her vocal works. Among notable performances this year Neue Vocalsolisten performed Never Bet The Devil Your Head at the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik; Ensemble Vocal Sequenza 9.3 premiered Sangu di Rosa and Ensemble Modern presented a retrospective of her work in their Happy New Ears series.

In 2021 the Oper Frankfurt will premiere Ronchetti’s opera Inferno and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin will produce her chamber opera Pinocchios Abenteuer, which also receives a new production at Oper Frankfurt. A new opera project will also be created at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf.

Ronchetti has announced the major themes for her four Biennale Musica, Venezia:

2021 Choruses: Dramaturgy of vocal sounds in contemporary music
Choruses examines the complexity of the use of the voice from monumental vocal works from the last 50 years to recent “a cappella” compositions for choir and vocal ensemble. Different locations in Venice will host the events in the form of site-specific compositions and processional performances.

2022 Out of the Stage: Action concert pieces and site-specific music theatre experiences
For decades contemporary music theatre has invaded unexplored spaces, alternative city locations, abandoned hangars and open-air spaces. This new form of music theatre experience, by leaving the traditional stage, has created a different setting for performances. Action-concert premieres and site-specific music theatre performances, together with new productions of seminal music theatre works, will be presented during the festival.

2023 Micro-Music: The ‘Sound Object’, past and new frontiers in sound treatment and diffusion
From the pioneers of the 1950’s to contemporary composers of electronic and digital music, the advancement of recording sound and playback technology has enabled composers to create new sound worlds and audiences new ways to listen to music.

The festival will present music which examines the culture of perception and develops new forms of consciousness of listening. Luigi Nono’s Tragedia dell’ascolto will burst into the actual world of creative sound design and innovative sound spaces.

2024 Absolute Music: New aesthetics of absolute music language
Who are the new sound dreamers? A special net of composers and curators will be spread from the Biennale to investigate new aesthetics and compositional inputs. The focus will be on composers who treat music as a non-verbalised and self-referential language without any extra-musical references. These composers are producing scores that will be decoded for centuries with innumerable interpretations and new sophisticated music instruments.

Above: Lucia Ronchetti (c) Vanessa Francia