The garden of Villa Rufolo in Ravello, near Amalfi is a place of enchantment. The incredible construction juts 15 meters high from a rock formation, which serves as the world’s most bewitching stage. The blue sea and the mountains bearing small towns form the most spectacular backdrop for the stage.
This is where the most popular summer musical event in the Amalfi area takes place every year. The Ravello music festival is one of the oldest music festivals in Italy. The music festival kicks off during July and continues till September. Innumerable musical bands from all over the world come to perform in this prestigious festival. The venues include both indoor and outdoor spaces.
This musical festival is named after the great composer, Richard Wagner. The great man himself had visited Villa Rufolo in 1880 and was completely captivated by the incredible natural beauty of the place. The first musical concert of Wagner’s compositions was held in 1930 by the San Carlo Orchestra in Ravello. It was attended by many celebrities and was greatly appreciated.
The Second World War left the area wanting in revenue. Tourism was conceived to be the most feasible solution. While considering this, the great Paolo Caruso, with the support of the authorities decided to conduct the ‘Wagner’s festival’ on the terrace stage, which was built over the sea, in the gardens of Villa Ruffolo. So in 1953, on the 70 death anniversary of the great composer, a concert was once again conducted by the San Carlo Orchestra. It was the first summer concert that gained great momentum in the years that followed.
The festival had started as a ‘Wagner’s music festival’, playing only Wagner’s music. But it soon grew into one of the greatest summer music festivals that presented music of every sort. The single venue extended to several other indoor and outdoor venues. The musical festival itself spanned the better part of the two summer months. The festival presents a great opportunity for the musical fraternity of the world to meet and exchange ideas.
Generally, playing music in open space faces great challenges. But when the music is played in the terrace stage of Ravello, it is well complemented by the scenic beauty around. The incredibly romantic ambience presented by the venue compensated for any disadvantage presented by the open air auditorium. The most famous ‘Sunrise Concert’ is the ultimate performance that presents a rare opportunity of watching the sun slowly ascending to the magnificent music of the iconic composer...
by Marina Chernyak
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