Abbiati Award

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The “Franco Abbiati” Music Critics’ Award

It was instituted in 1981, under the patronage of the municipal administration of Bergamo and through the passionate will of Filippo Siebaneck, then president of the Azienda Autonoma di Turismo, as a moment of reflection and analysis on Italian musical life. Named after the Bergamo-born Franco Abbiati, for forty years owner of the music column of the ‘Corriere della sera’ newspaper, the ‘Franco Abbiati’ Music Critics’ Prize is an award given to the protagonists of individual artistic years. Numerous prize-winners are listed in the roll of honour: in addition to the theatres, conductors Claudio Abbado, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Danielel Gatti, directors Luca Ronconi and Graham Vick, director-scenographers Pier Luigi Pizzi and Hugo De Ana, pianists Radu Lupu and Maurizio Pollini, singers Anna Caterina Antonacci and Samuel Ramey, chamber groups and composers for the “absolute Italian novelty”. The jury’s rigorous and independent choices have earned the Abbiati Prize increasing credibility.

Alongside absolute merit, the Prize has played an active role in signalling young talents and initiatives of particular political and cultural significance. Thus, Italian critics have emphasised, and sometimes unveiled, the role of small local realities, the authentic wealth of Italian musical life, and have committed themselves to pointing out the often isolated and silent work of unrecognised personalities. Giving voice to artistic operators, teachers, publishers, masters (not only of music), facts and events that, despite not having institutional roles, have been able to direct the musical life of our country in an authentically cultural sense. In 2000, following the death of Filippo Siebaneck, the Siebaneck Prize was established for initiatives of particular significance in the field of music education and/or the professional training of young people. In 2001, with the support of the Municipality of Fiesole and the Comitato Musica Cultura, the patronage of Siem (Società Italiana Educazione Musicale), the adhesion of ScuolaMusicaFestival and aslico/Opera domani, the Abbiati Prize ‘for schools’ was born. The award ceremony of the Abbiati Prize takes place in cooperation with the Municipal Administration of Bergamo and the ‘Festival Pianistico Internazionale Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli’ of Brescia and Bergamo. Since 2007, the Abbiati Prize has enjoyed the patronage of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, and since 2008 the High Patronage of the President of the Republic.

The Abbiati Award awarded to performers and events of the Festival della Valle d’Itria

1982 (2nd edition) to Lella Cuberli as best singer, for her interpretations of Donna del Lago (Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro) and Paisiello’s Barbiere di Siviglia (Festival della Valle d’Itria).

1985 (5th edition) to the Festival della Valle d’Itria as best musical initiative, for the coherence of the proposals aimed at rediscovering and re-evaluating the operatic tradition and the belcanto style of the 18th century, in a stimulating cultural sphere; to Mariella Devia as best singer in the part of Elvira in the Puritani at the Festival della Valle d’Itria.

1987 (7th edition) to Paolo Coni as best singer, for La traviata at the Comunale di Bologna, Alina in Ravenna and Attila in Martina Franca.

1999 (18th edition) to Guido de Monticelli as best director, for his brilliant recreation of the acerbic comedy of Donizetti’s Fortunato inganno or L’inganno felice (Festival della Valle d’Itria) and his imaginative exploitation of the open-air space of the Palazzo Ducale.

2000 (19th edition) to Patrizia Ciofi as best singer, protagonist of Traetta’s Ippolito ed Aricia that inaugurated the XXV Festival della Valle d’Itria, and Bellini’s Sonnambula performed in traditional Tuscan theatres.

2001 (20th edition) at the Festival della Valle d’Itria as best musical initiative, for the first modern performances, complete and in original language, of Roland by Piccini and Robert Le Diable by Meyerbeer.

2010 (30th edition) to Franco Fagioli as best singer in Rodelinda by Händel performed for the first time in
Italy at the Festival della Valle d’Itria.

2015 (34th edition) special prize to Fattoria Vittadini who provided original and lively theatrical material for the baroque dramaturgy of Armida by Traetta and La lotta d’Ercole with Acheloo by Steffani at the Festival della Valle d’Itria.

2019 (38th edition) to Giuseppe Palella as best costume designer for Orlando furioso at the Teatro Malibran in Venice and for Giulietta e Romeo at the Festival della Valle d’Itria, in which his mastery in the use of black in all its most subtle declensions emerges.

2022 (42nd edition) to Leila Fteita for the best sets and costumes for the production Le joueur by Prokofiev staged at the 48th Festival della Valle d’Itria.