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Inclusive classical Music at Cigognola Festival, on stage at the Moratti castle in Pavia

How Cigognola Summer Festival brings big names to a small town, making everyone open up their ears, and minds

Talent, Italian youth, and inclusivity.  When asked to describe the Cigognola Summer Festival, this is what Artistic Director Paolo Gavazzeni reports on when reminiscing about the soon-to-be second annual event. Established by Gabriele Moratti with the purpose to bring together the different parts of the Pavia region. Cigognola Festival is a juxtaposition of all arts, food, wine, and wellness. 

With an ambition to develop the area to residences, the purpose is to bring people together to enjoy the wine and food of the region, as well as talents, and bring business to the locals. The combination of arts and culture to the Milanese people has given them a reason to part with the city and venture out south of Milano. 

With the first Cigognola Summer Festival commemorating in 2021. The idea was shared and flourished onwards. «Gabriele Moratti had the idea as he works very closely with the wines in the regions not far from Milano. As the family owns a castle in the rolling hills, an interest sparked to develop the area. Looking at it from both a business and cultural point of view. There was the need of a festival that cultivates art, wine, culture, and wellness that brings the Milanese people a little out of the city to experience the highlights of the regions».

Old friends with new ideas 

Concerning the Cigognola project, Artistic Director Paolo Gavazzeni and Head of Creative Projects Emilie Fouilloux have joined forces. Bringing the background of theatre and dance to new aims. 

With the responsibility of running a television channel dedicated to classical music in his pot of projects, Mr. Gavazzeni began documenting the ins and outs for the channel. Fast forward a few months, he now serves as Artistic Director of the Festival. «The Festival is a combination of classical music and dance. Emilie used to be a classical dancer at Teatro Alla Scala, and we met there. I was working there for twelve years, and she danced during my whole time there, making it almost twenty years of friendship. Returning to Milano five years ago, the Festival reunited us and invited us to put our heads together to collaborate. I began by bringing my options and ideas to the table as a partner. And that soon led to me directing it one year later».

Making the arts accessible for all

With Gabriele’s idea of bringing young Italian talents from different areas of the State together, this mixture aimed at creating a cultural exchange. This way, the Festival was able to become a stage for dance and classical arts, not meant to only be shared with an elite. Indeed, as part of the ethos of Cigognola project, «inclusivity is claimed to be as important as exclusivity, making the arts accessible for all […]. At the end of the day, sometimes it only takes one experience to have a lifelong influence on someone, possibly making them the next performer of their time».

The performances are going to begin on June tenth, with artists such as Andrea Zanon, recently known for his performance during the ceremony of closure of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Followed by the cellist Erica Piccotti, ICMA Award as “Young Artist of the Year” in 2022. And Filippo Gorini, winner of the First Prize and the Audience Award at the Telekom-Beethoven Competition in Bonn in 2015. 

Lampoon Magazine Performer, Teatro alla Scala
Performer, Teatro alla Scala

Gathering local young talents: «This festival aims at giving everyone a sense of self»

«We want to collect people to the land of Pavia and Cigognola. We work with the 18th-century theaters to show the first few performances and manage to arrange collaboration between locations. In addition, we also want to include the academic natures of Pavia, where four ancient and historic colleges are home with the main purpose of supporting and lifting the students of the region. This festival aims at giving everyone a sense of self. To do something for yourself, for your culture, and for your dreams. Calling young talent, we want to give the message that we show the talent that believes in itself. Passion sometimes means sacrifice and when speaking to these artists. There is never anything said about the difficulties, because as long as you do something with passion, you will never feel that you are not strong enough to prevail, no matter the cost».

Cigognola Summer Festival also aims at giving everyone the freedom to move at their own speed. «The five days of festival allow everyone to think for themselves. Whether the objective for one is to come. Enjoy a glass of wine and the view, or rather come to listen to the sounds. Everyone wants to feel, move and listen». 

The gesture of opening doors to the arts

«It’s an emotional moment for Emilie and me. We are bringing together experiences for people that are very close to ourselves».

Moving through many career paths themselves, Ms. Fouilloux and Mr. Gavazzeni’s ambition is to transmit the passion for music to others. «Opening doors to the arts is a gesture not many can be familiar with». 

«Nowadays there is a cliche that if you prefer classic music, it is only due to background or studies. Classical music can attract anyone. From any time and moment in life, it is simply a question of being there with your mind, open to what you don’t know. Classical music makes my daily life better, I have joy when listening to music.  Our main purpose is to transmit this passion, especially to people who don’t go to the opera hall or theatre regularly. We want people to have fun, they have a drink before, an appetizer while listening to music. We bring the peculiarities of the area to the people».

«Opera can be boring, and it was for me until I was a teenager. I then discovered La bohème and started to feel that this is forever. To experience just one thing can change a perspective, even if the first impression might be different. The outcome can be great. Classical Music is POP. It represents the popular music of the past, and this is what is shared with all creators of the festival».

The in-the-moment feeling that guests experience is both present and timeless. As it can be brought back by the memory endless times. This is something that Ms. Fouilloux and Mr. Gavazzeni often reflect on, as both of them know what if feels like to both be in the audience and be on the stage.

The challenge: to have something for everyone

It’s all in the details, «Organizing performances will always raise the question of ‘why do people want to come to see it? Finding a reason for people to come and spend their time at Cigognola. Whether it is their first time here or if they are long time visitors. It is always something to reflect on while conducting the program. In order to have something for everyone. This aspect represents for sure a challenge. Both artists and the audience can be difficult, but passion always brings idea’s forward».

Having had the occasion to learn discipline and respect in some Italian theatres, Ms. Fouilloux and Mr. Gavazzeni bring their intentions to Cigognola Summer Festival; after being the performers, now directing the show.  

Cigognola Summer Festival aims at bringing inclusivity to the world of arts, taking place in a peripheral location that many may not be familiar with. Begenning its second annual event from the ninth to the twelfth of June, the Festival aims at bringing a new perspective of classical arts to both familiar, and unfamiliar faces. 

Bianca Bonomolo

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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