Sebastian F. Schwarz introduces the 2022 Festival

The words of the Artistic Director

ince opera was invented in Italy in the late 1500s we continue to recitar cantando, to tell the tales of our today or to transform the myths, literature and history into librettos and scores to then entrust singer-actors and musicians with them, concentrating all the art forms – visual, figurative, performative – onto that big stage that means the world.
And yet, in Italy we see little of this. Despite the over 40.000 operas that have supposedly been written so far (no one has ever convincingly been able to count them), astonishingly, for years and years the same about 30 operas seem to be rehashed over and over again as if our audiences didn’t ask for more.

Since 1975, nestled in the spellbinding countryside of the Itria valley around Martina Franca in the very heel of the Italian peninsula, the Festival della Valle d’Itria reminds the world of its forgotten operas. Fruit of tireless research, it proposes titles that, in our opinion, can enrich our theatres and our repertory. And the audiences agree and keep coming from all over the world to discover these musical novelties and to be intrigued by them. Many of the operas proposed over the years, in fact, have made it to other theatres as well, some have even become household names.

I myself have been coming to Martina Franca for 21 years now to follow the festival; first from Austria, then from the UK; always feeling richly rewarded by the experiences, be it by concerts under the olive trees of some masseria, the warm summer evenings in the courtyard of the Ducal Palace or the even warmer evenings in the Teatro Verdi right next door; now newly restored and perfectly airconditioned waiting to host us again this summer for a few nights. I have come to love this place and its people to the point that I made it my home. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone after twenty years of coming here.

I want to take this occasion to give heartfelt thanks for the trust that has been shown to me by this prestigious appointment. I accept this challenge and recognize the responsibility in building upon the excellent work of my esteemed predecessors. I will continue to remain true to the DNA of the festival because there is no higher good for an artist than curiosity. And it is this curiosity that I hope to be able to infect our audiences with in the coming years.

Today we are starting to reveal the titles and the names of our amazing directors and conductors. In the spring, as usual, we will announce the names of all the artists and the complete program of the festival. This year we will tour from the very beginnings of opera throughout the 4+ centuries until our very own time with an especially created world premiere. An exciting journey through time which we warmly invite you to join.


Sebastian F. Schwarz
December 13th, 2021