Artistic Director Remarks

Thanks to the two partner organizations - the National Congress of Italian-Canadians, Edmonton District and the Celebrating Italian Families of Edmonton Society - the Italian Community will bring to the City of Edmonton one of the largest events in the world to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi.

I am honoured to be part of this project as member of the Executive Committee and Music Director. The calendar of the events is tremendous. For six months, starting in June until November, Edmonton will be the “City of Verdi” with his music performed in several venues, involving many performers and major institutions such as the Edmonton Opera Chorus and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra.

Giuseppe Verdi, together with other great composers from the same time such as Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Giacomo Puccini, means operatic music, the Italian Opera of the nineteenth century that left an indelible mark on the history of music.

With the four Appuntamenti Musicali Verdiani on June 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, we will offer a large view of the operatic music of Verdi and other composers around him. We will be featuring vocal works performed by a selected number of talented singers. At present, the Artistic Committee, including pianist Stephanie Kwan, violinist Mattia Berrini and cellist Silvia Buttiglione, is holding auditions at the Alberta College Conservatory of Music, Grant MacEwan University. Italian community choirs will be participating as well as pianists and string players. Music by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Bellini, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Donizetti, Boito and other Italian composers will be performed in a chamber form such as voice and piano with some of the most famous arias, piano four-hands and two pianos transcriptions, duo and trio for cello, violin and piano, string quartet and piano quintet. In honour of another great operatic composer that this year sees the 200th anniversary of his birth, Richard Wagner, we will feature as well his music with a unique work for piano quintet based on his opera Tristan and Isolde that we have commissioned for the Festival.

The Edmonton Verdi Festival will with the Appuntamenti Musicali Verdiani, themselves a concert series of great interest, taking place in different venues such as the Italian Cultural Centre, the Ital-Canadian Seniors Centre, Giovanni Music Concert Hall, and the Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre Theatre. That’s only the beginning!

After our Verdi Festival Launch on July 24th with a taste of live performed music of Verdi at City Hall, on August 4th at noon will take place Verdi per Tutti, a main-stage performance at Edmonton’s SERVUS Heritage Festival. Dancers, choirs, soloist singers, pianists and string players will be the performers that will entertain the largest audience with the music of Verdi featuring some of his most famous themes such as the “Va Pensiero” from Nabucco, the “Brindisi” from La Traviata, a selection of arias, and other instrumental works.

With the Viva Verdi Gala Concert at the Winspear Centre on Friday, October 11th, the Edmonton Verdi Festival will reach its peak. The partnership with the Edmonton Opera Chorus and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, respectively under the direction of Michael Spassov and Michael Massey, will bring us a memorable event entirely on the music of Giuseppe Verdi. Works for orchestra, choir and orchestra, soloist singers and orchestra and choir, from Nabucco, I Lombardi alla prima crociata, Rigoletto, La forza del destino, La Traviata, Otello, Aida, will be performed for a great program that reflects the evolution of Verdi’s musical language. Piano music will be featured as well with the wonderful piano solo transcriptions of Franz Liszt on the themes of Ernani and Rigoletto, a piano four-hands Fantasy on Trovatore, and a two pianos commissioned work on Don Carlos. Finally, we will have the chance to hear also the only chamber work written by Giuseppe Verdi, with a selection from his beautiful E Minor String Quartet. Simply, the Viva Verdi Gala Concert is going to be an impressive event, unique for the City of Edmonton.

The Incontro con Verdi will be the final excellent chapter of the Edmonton Verdi Festival with the CIFES “20 Regions of Italy Extravaganza.” Live performed music of Verdi will be featured by young talents and soloists, alongside of two distinguished Verdi experts, Renato Garavaglia from Teatro alla Scala of Milan and the American musicologist Philip Gossett. I have no words to say how amazing that is going to be.

Thank you for your support. We are looking forward to the Edmonton Verdi Festival.


Emilio De Mercato, Music Director
Edmonton Verdi Festival

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The National Congress of Italian-Canadians, Edmonton District (NCIC)
and The Celebrating Italian Families of Edmonton Society (CIFES)