Emilia Romagna Festival concluded season with exceptional concert

1 October 2009

Music to promote remembrance. This is the theme chosen this year to close the 2009 edition of the Emilia Romagna Festival. On September 11, a date that has become highly symbolic, the Festival presented Estaba la Madre, a masterpiece by Academy Award winner Luis Bacalov, composed by the Argentine maestro to commemorate over 30,000 desaparecidos. They were the victims of a most cruel and bloodthirsty dictatorship that plagued Argentina beginning in 1976. Presented as an Oratorio and staged at the Teatro Diego Fabbri, in Forlì, the performance featured the Solisti della Scuola dell’Opera Italiana of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, together with the Coro del Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Orchestra Mitteleuropea conducted by Bacalov himself, all under the direction of Carlos Branca. The event received the generous sponsorship of the Legislative Assembly of the Emilia Romagna Regional Administration thanks to its President, Dr. Monica Donini, as well as the sponsorship of the Embassy of the Republic of Argentina in Italy. Estaba la Madre celebrates the courage of "las Madres y las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo", the mothers and grandmothers of the victims of the atrocities committed in that period. Thanks to their bravery, the world learned about the horrors of the military dictatorship in Argentina. The first version of Estaba la Madre, was commissioned in 2004 by the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. It is a secular Stabat Mater that tells four stories of unswerving courage of mothers and grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in their search for their missing children. It’s an unbearable pain that Bacalov succeeds in conveying onstage, with modesty and dignity, without engaging in sentimental or political blackmail. In this regard, the director Carlos Branca stated: “This creation by my friend Luis Bacalov is proof that even the most barbaric acts can be transformed into cultural documents. The perfect blending of classical music and urban music from Buenos Aires results in a magnificent musical score. The bandeon is transformed in an essential instrument, it sounds like Bach’s harpsichord. Besides providing a geographic point of reference it adds tragic and even sacred sounds, most appropriate to the opera’s topic.” The music oscillates between the highly evocative notes of the bandeon and the rhythm section of the orchestra. Projected on the background are images of desaparecidos, historical videos from the archives of the Argentinian government, photos of previous performances in Rome (2004) and Buenos Aires (2007), as well as the complete Italian translation of the opera. The performance has a strong emotional impact because of its closeness to September 30, the date set for the opening in Rome of the trial of former Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera. He was one of the main champions of the 1976 coup and one of the main enforcers of the cruel repression of dissent that took place in that country. In this trial he must account for the death of three Italian desaparecidos who disappeared in Argentina between 1976 and 1977. Massera’s trial is the first one in which the Italian State is part of the suit against the defendant, along with the families of the victims. This exceptional concert concluded in a very positive way the 2009 season of the Emilia Romagna Festival, devoted to the European Year of Creativity and innovation (EYCI). With close to 50 events distributed among the provinces of Bologna, Ravenna, Forlì-Cesena and Ferrara, this year’s edition fully confirmed the successes of previous ones. Download the press release here.