Credit: Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, photographs by Musacchio, Ianniello, Pasqualini.
“Now comes the astonishing moment; first the elves, then a trio of dancing elephants”. That is the imaginative interpretation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony suggested in Howard’s End, the classic novel by E. M. Forster filmed by James Ivory. Legend has it that Beethoven referred to the famous opening motif as “the sound of fate knocking at the door”.
In the minds of music lovers all over the world, however, the Fifth, “the most Beethovian of symphonies”, is associated with the triumph of light over darkness and in that sense it was the star of a hugely symbolic event held on July 21.
Live music returns
That very special evening, held in the Cavea at the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome, maestro Antonio Pappano, musical director of the Santa Cecilia National Academy, conducted a concert featuring Beethoven’s Fifth and Eighth Symphonies, attended by the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella.
The concert was part of the “Beethoven STARt 2020” series devoted to Beethoven’s nine symphonies which, since July 9, has been paying homage to the Bonn-born genius in the year of his 250th birthday. Even more significant is the value of the initiative in these historic times we are living through, for the concert in the Cavea marked the restarting of live symphony music concerts after months of lockdown.
A light for the future
To underscore the solemn nature of the evening, it opened with the Italian National Anthem and the projection of a large Italian tricolour flag. To foster a sense of optimism about the future, we also illuminated the Cavea itself with the tricolour as Beethoven’s powerful movements were played with majestic skill by the Santa Cecilia orchestra. It was a moment that carried a “breath of hope”, as Maestro Pappano himself commented later.
“The tricolour illumination is a way of expressing our closeness to and support for local communities”, commented Carlo Tamburi, Head of Enel Italia. “We have used it in times of exceptional crisis as a message to all our colleagues on the ground – we are bringing you light, we are with you, we are thinking of you. We did it for our power plant stations and for our offices. Now we want to bring that message here to the Auditorium for this beautiful evening of music, culture and, also, relaunch”.
“Right now, using the tricolour means everyone gathering together around our culture, our country, the founding values of this Republic”, declared Michele dall’Ongaro, president and superintendent of the Santa Cecilia National Academy. “Enel lights up many things, including the path we have been walking together for quite some time now”.
Indeed, our Group was one of the founding partners when Santa Cecilia National Academy, Italy’s leading musical institution, reorganized itself as a foundation, and we have supported the Beethoven Anniversary gathering in particular. We have always paid special attention to the musicians of the future. “We are very close to Santa Cecilia but particularly the JuniOrchestra for young people to ensure that they can find, not just an outlet in culture, but also great prospects for work, for a career and success”, said Tamburi.
Farewell from the Royal Palace of Caserta
The Rome concert got underway with Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony, a light, witty, fun work at the other end of the spectrum from the epic, titanic atmosphere of the Fifth, which closed the event. The same programme was repeated on July 30 in the fabulously theatrical surroundings of the Royal Palace of Caserta. This marked the opening of the fifth edition of Un’Estate da Re (“A Summer Fit for a King”), a series of concerts featuring some of the great names in classical music. In addition to the Santa Cecilia National Academy, the line-up includes Placido Domingo, Daniel Oren and the Teatro San Carlo Ballet. Once again, the concert was supported by the our Group, which used the tricolour to illuminate the internal façade of the Royal Palace, the statue of Artemis and Actaeon and the Aperia. This is one of the Royal Palace’s less well-known architectural gems and it provided the setting for the concert.
The Santa Cecilia National Orchestra’s programme recommences in September when it embarks on a tour of Europe, taking in Budapest, Vienna, Linz and Bratislava, bringing a message of hope and a testament to Italy’s artistic excellence to each city it visits. Because, as Pappano, who is an Englishman by birth but of Italian heritage, maintains, “Italy is, by definition, art, culture and music.”