Normally, I would use this blog to publicise forthcoming events. Unfortunately, this time I have to do the opposite. There are at least two events, formerly in the established calendar, which have little chance of happening this year.
One is Barga Opera and this is a particularly sad situation since the pioneering festival, which has seen so many forgotten masterpieces re-staged, should have been celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. For some of us who have decided to spend much our lives in these parts Barga Opera was a principal reason for coming here in the first place. Even in my workplace in South East London and even before I ever attended Barga opera I would meet people who would enthuse about the festival. Those who were fortunate enough to attend can hardly forget the magnificent productions over the years, particularly the Vivaldi operas conducted by Sardelli in that jewels of an eighteenth century theatre, the Teatro dei Differenti. At least, however, concerts are promised. (See
for some of my reviews).
Another event which is not happening is the Bagni di Lucca Arts festival. Although a much more recently established event (the first festival occurred in 2013) it had already established itself as a focal centre in the Lucchesia arts scene and one in which my wife and I were proud to have made a contribution last year in the literary section.
It doesn’t require much analysis to understand why these festivals aren’t happening this year. Money, radix malorum, or the lack of it is the cause. After eight years of pitifully slow recovery from the last major Italian (and world) economic crash there simply isn’t the financial encouragement to continue with artistic ventures, which remain to a large extent subsidised. The money can be found elsewhere. The leading lights of the Bagni arts Festival are pursuing their projects in countries which have a securer economic basis – places like Germany, China and Finland. It’s unfortunate but true. The problem is that if there is a discontinuity to the festivals it’ll be all the harder to recommence when the situation improves and, furthermore, tell the public out there that the event is returning. It’s easy to see that the public will probably have made other arrangements and gone to different places.
On the positive side there will still be large scale events that will continue this year. Among them are the Serchio delle Muse – a feast of music in unfamiliar locations throughout the Serchio valley – and the Lucca Summer festival. Let us ensure that at least these occasions will continue well into the future and that the absence of Barga Opera, at least, is just a blip; for it would be truly tragic to lose it…