Italian cultural world - outcomes of the initiative in Italy

3 March 2005

Open Theatres: 100 cities for Culture Outcomes of the initiative More than 1.000 people have participated in the national agitation of the Italian cultural world against governmental cutbacks in Rome on February 21. Many prominent personalities of the world of performing arts came out to rally in a crowded Piazza del Pantheon to protest against the precariousness of the cultural world, the absence of a precise ruling system and the failure of the political world to acknowledge the value of arts and culture, which are seen as an expense to be cut, rather than a field to invest in. The rally then moved to the Teatro Argentina, Giorgio Albertazzi read in front of a full house the epilogue of the ³Memories of Adrian² and the Ouverture of the ³Barbiere di Siviglia² was performed under the baton of Gianluigi Gelmetti by a mixed orchestra composed of members from the orchestras of Santa Cecilia, Rome Opera Theatre, Lazio, and Abruzzo meant to represent all Italian orchestras. Gabriele Lavia read out the appeal to the audience and Alberto Francesconi, President of AGIS, analyzed the principal issues of the mobilization. Manifestations have taken place in many cities all over Italy where the appeal has been read before the beginning of the events and many institutions have organized local sign-in. To date more than 18.000 people have subscribed the appeal. Italian performing arts are one of the pre-eminent aspects of classical and contemporary Italian culture and have always been an important resource for the state budget. It is now essential to replace music and performing arts in a context of excellence in our country and to conceive a new investment planning in order to confer to it competitiveness in Europe. The Italian Minister of Culture Giuliano Urbani had already pointed out this perspective. Gianni Letta, Vice President of the Council of Ministers, received a delegation of Agis representatives - among which Gisella Belgeri, Vice President of Music Compartment - and artists who bemoaned the concerns about the cuts undermining thousands of jobs and the necessity of exploring new policies in order to meet the needs of the artists and of the cultural world. Gianni Letta, concurring with the worries expressed by the delegation, ensured that he will be plenty supportive with both the Council of Ministers and its President Silvio Berlusconi. On the occasion of a second meeting the same concerns and motivations have been expressed to Publio Fiori, Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, who proposed to establish an institutional round-table discussion among the categories of AGIS (Cinema, Theatre, Music and Dance) at the Parliament in order to work jointly with deputies of all political alignment and open a debate about the policies for the world of performing arts.