Szymanowski in Italy


Italy is a charming country, attracting the entire world with its art and culture. Every step you take, architecture and landscapes amaze your eyes, your nose is filled with the scent of traditional dishes made of local ingredients, and your ears - with sounds of Vivaldi…

Italy also means a lot to the Competition.
This is where Giovanni Bonato and Daniele Gasparini come from, the two laureates of the Composition category in the 1st edition of Szymanowski Competition. This year, the Head of the Jury in the Composition category of the 2nd edition of the Competition is Francesco Filidei. The composer born in Pisa works with the I Teatri Foundation of Reggio Emilia, and with Villa Medici as an art director of the contemporary music festival Controtempo.

Italy enraptured Karol Szymanowski himself. The artist returned to this marvelous country multiple times. Sicily was especially dear to him. So much that he decided to dedicate his greatest opera, “King Roger”, to this island. The composer sought inspiration in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Syracuse, the ancient amphitheatre in Taormina, Palermo's archaeological museum, and Arab and Norman monuments. After returning to Poland, Szymanowski created a number of works inspired by the Sicilian discoveries. These works include: “The Love Songs of Hafiz”, Symphony No. 3 “Song of the Night”, “Nocturne and Tarantella”, and the piano miniatures “Myths” and “Métopes”.

In 2017, in the garden of Teatro Massimo, the biggest opera theatre in Italy and one of the biggest in the entire Europe, there was held a reveal of the plaque commemorating the Polish composer. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Poland and Italy and the city Mayor - Leoluca Orlando participated in the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of Szymanowski’s death. The plaque's location is a fair distinction itself, as it is located nearby a bust of Giuseppe Verdiego, the king of Italian opera. The plaque resembles the metopes referred to in one of the composer's works, i.e. a plate on a frieze, known in ancient architecture, decorated with a bas-relief.
Also, it was Teatro Massimo that restored "King Roger" to world fame in 2005, staging it for the first time since a long hiatus. A few months after this event, "King Roger" opened the season of the Saint Cecilia National Academy in Rome.

Karol Szymanowski was honoured with The Officer Order of the Italian Crown, The Commander Order of the Italian Crown, and The Honourary Plaque of Reggia Accademia di Santa Cecilia.

We are looking forward to seeing the Italian artists in the Competition, and we are curious about the participants from other countries.

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