Mittelfest reflects on what leadership means today?

11 June 2019

The 2019 edition of Mittelfest – one of the most prestigious festival of Central Europe and of the Balcanic area  - will take place from 12th to 21st of July in Cividale del Friuli.

This edition will have the title "Leadership", a concept of extreme topicality and fascination that will be declined in art, economy, family, politics and other areas of society, with a special focus on Greece.

"The theme of Mittelfest 2019 - Leadership - aims to invite reflection rather than giving answers to questions. How does the concept of leadership change? How does this change affect our lives and society? What prevents the leadership from becoming a dictatorship? What is "shared leadership" today? Is there a difference between male and female leadership? What are the qualities of a good leader? ”, Explains the artistic director Haris Pašović, in charge since the last edition, multi-award-winning theater and film director, from Sarajevo.


The program of the 2019 edition will present and explore, therefore, different forms of leadership through the best of local, national and international artistic production. The calendar will feature 29 shows from 12 countries, of theater, dance, classical, contemporary, jazz, world music and crossover performances; with many national and several world premières.

  • The new theatrical text by the crime writer and chemist Marco Malvaldi, author of numerous yellow best sellers: L’infinito tra parentesi with Maddalena and Giovanni Crippa. The show asks us: what is cultural leadership today? Does the scientific one or the humanistic one prevail? The day after the show there will also be a public debate in collaboration with ESOF 2020 Trieste.
  • The Berliner Ensamble, the most famous German theatre, will be also in Cividale in national premiere with Tin drum written by the Nobel Prize winner Günther Grass, which, like Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, revisited with the title Spared parts, from the father of research Romeo Castellucci, will give the opportunity to deepen the theme of political leadership and its prevarication in dictatorships.
  • The show Sissignora!, an example of participatory theater directed by Rita Maffei (premier), will focus instead on female leadership
  • For a special piano recital a world star of classical music will be in Cividale: Ivo Pogorelich (Croatia). For classical music, there will be also an extraordinary concert on history leaders by Beethoven, like Coriolano and Napoleone (opening concert, title Leaders) with Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary) and the extraordinary Armenian violinist Sergei Katchatrian.
  • Continuing, one of the most acclaimed musical formations in Europe, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (Netherlands) will propose a Tribute to Nina Simone, a leader in jazz music and a singer of opposition to white leadership. From Holland also Slagwerk Den Haag, a surprising performance of wooden percussions, played by the six musicians who go through the history of wood drums while playing them. Both shows will be in collaboration with Dutch performing Arts Fund NL. The collaboration is completed by the incredible Dutch perfomer Diamanda La Berge Dramm: who will play her violin, drums and pedals at the same time.
  • Mittelfest will inaugurate a new path in 2019: a ‘Country in focus’, and this year it will be the turn of Greece. A paradigmatic nation with respect to the theme of leadership and Europe, as the cradle of democracy, but with different reception solutions from other European countries, perhaps tracing a possible new future.
  • Six shows will be staged, including theater, music and dance, with the support of Onassis Stegi. In this program it will be presented a hit show, touring all over Europe, Clean City (produced by Onassis stegi) which stages 5 immigrant women, cleaning workers, who respond to nationalisms intent on 'cleaning up' Europe, asking their leaders: why then are we keeping clean your cities?  
  • Greek focus is completed with a great edition of Antigone by Konstantinos Ntellas, which premiered last year in Epidaurus, Hill 731 by Aris Biniaris on Mussolini’s defeat in Greece, A brief guide for prospective tightrope walkers from Jean Genet’s The tightrope walker (1955), by Stathis Markopoulos (with Ayusaya Puppet Theatre, Onassis Stegi production). As for the dance, Mittelfest will host Bastet by Marianna Kavallieratos and Anonymo by Tzeni Argyriou(Onassis Stegi production).

Beside the shows, two forum will be held in the days of Mittelfest: one concerning the Greek modern performing arts and Athens Digital Festival, a second one on Greece today at the presence of the former Prime Minister Georgios A. Papandreou.

 For crossover music, Tamara Obrovac and the Transhistria Ensamble, one of the most important contemporary Balkan musicians with its international ensemble (Croatia), and Avi Avital, mandolin player, and Omer Avital, two world-renowned Israeli musicians, will be protagonists (Israel) and examples of 'shared' leadership among multiple members of a group, as it is in the jazz style with the show Avital meets Avital.

Other shows will stage the big italian singer Simone Cristicchi, the cello player Michele Marco Rossi, a Drag queen version of Shakespeare’s King Lear: Queen Lear, the classic ballet Giselle in collaboration with Festival of Lubiana. This and much more - in meetings with great authors and launches of young Italian artists and new international artists - will be in Mittelfest 2019.

Check out the full programme here.