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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Music: 50th Edition Of The Stresa Music Festival Is About To Begin



Did you happen to read the previous post, about how Stresa is listed in the top ten Italian VIP destinations according to Hotels.com? Maybe the Stresa Festival is one of the reasons why. Also sometimes called Settimane di Musicale, the festival will be opening for its 50 th year on Saturday, May 21.

In honor of the 50th year, let’s look back at the history of the Festival. It all began in 1961, thanks to a Venetian lawyer by the name of Italo Trentinaglia de Daverio. His father, Erardo Trentinaglia, was the general director of the Teatro alla Scala di Milano and the Teatro la Fenice in Venice, as well as a composer, and Italo, growing up in this environment, developed a great love for music.  




The family owned a villa in Stresa where they often hosted famous musicians. It was during a stay at the villa in 1961 that Italo thought up the idea for a festival… he imagined an event that would put Stresa onto the international music map.

August 27, 1962, Italo inaugurated the very first Settimane Musicale di Stresa, as he named it, with a concert by the Orchestra del Teatro all Scala, conducted by Nino Sanzogno. It was an immediate success, and since that first year many of the world’s most important musicians have performed in the Festival. In addition, many young artists have gone on to great success after performing in Stresa as winners of musical competitions.
And so, on

 Italo Trentinaglia (right) with Zubin Mehta, in 1987.


In the first years the performances were held in three locations: the Conference Hall in Stresa, the Tapestry Hall in the palazzo on Isola Bella, and in the Loggia del Cashmere in the gardens of Isola Madre. The number of performances has grown greatly, and many new venues have been added. As much as the music, it is the venues that really make the Stresa Festival: the Hermitage Santa Caterina del Sasso, the Visconteo Castle in Vogogna, the Borromeo Castle La Rocca in Angera, Villa Ponti in Arona, Villa San Remigio in Verbania, and the Basilica San Giulio in Orta are just a few of the locations on the schedule each year. I don’t think I can stress this point enough: these are not your average concerts. The combination of these venues and these performers is something I don’t believe you can see in this scope anywhere else.

And that’s how it all began. Italo’s dream came true, his vision of Stresa as an international music destination has come to full fruition. He was more than right in his belief that people would want to come to Stresa to see great performances. The Festival has become one of the most important events in Stresa during each summer season, as well as important in the music world.

 Artistic Director Gianandrea Noseda


Since 2000 the artistic director of the Festival has been Gianandrea Noseda, whose accolades are far too numerous to list here. You can read all about him, and so much more about the Festival, on the official website. You can buy your tickets there as well, and I strongly advise buying them as soon as you know the dates that you will be in Stresa. Many of the performances sell out quickly, and this 50th year should be even more popular.



The historical information for this post is from the book by Giuseppe Pugliese, "30 Years of International Festivals." 

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