Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Music has always played an important role in the artistic life of Florence: it was the birthplace of the melodrama at the end of the 16th century. Today musical life in Florence is focused upon the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, which is located in the Teatro Comunale. Founded in 1933 by Vittorio Gui, it is the oldest music festival in Italy, and one of the most important at international level.
The Teatro Comunale has seen the most prestigious names in music of the last century cross its threshold: conductors such as Vittorio Gui, Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Zubin Mehta, Herbert von Karajan and Riccardo Muti, “la divina” Maria Callas, Pietro Mascagni and Richard Strauss, Paul Hindemith and Bela Bartòk, Igor Stravinsky and Luigi Dallapiccola, Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio, who played their own music here.
They have been joined over the years by directors and set designers of the calibre of Max Reinhardt and Gustav Gründgens, Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli, Luca Ronconi and Bob Wilson, Giorgio De Chirico and Oskar Kokoschka.
Throughout its history, the Festival has paid the closest of attention to the development of 20th century music, from the avant-garde movements of the earlier years all the way through to more recent experiences, often inviting composers to perform their own works here. It has also, however, done much to promote the rediscovery of operas and authors from the past, and thus, phenomena such as the Rossini-Renaissance and the reconsideration of Donzetti and the early works of Verdi have taken off here in Florence.
The Festival takes up the months of May and June, but the Theatre is active all year round, with Opera Seasons, Concerts and Ballets, as well as the superb summer shows in the magnificent, monumental setting of the Boboli Gardens: an uninterrupted, wide range of musical occasions for an international, demanding, erudite audience to enjoy.