International Conference “Behold the World”: Arrigo Boito, the Future in the Past and the Past in the Future

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
plus NOV, 1315 2018

13 – 15 NOVEMBER 2018
VENICE, ISLAND OF SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE

The Institute of Theatre and Opera is holding an international conference entitled “Behold the World”: Arrigo Boito, the Future in the Past and the Past in the Future to mark the centenary of the death of Arrigo Boito and the 150th anniversary of his opera Mefistofele. Part of the activities associated with the recently established
National Committee for the Centenary of Arrigo Boito’s Death, the conference has attracted specialists from the various artistic fields in which the leading intellectual worked during his multifaceted career as a composer, librettist, avant-garde writer, theatre and music critic, translator and stage director. A special study will also be dedicated to the opera Mefistofele, a landmark in the 19th-century Italian operatic repertoire, staged for the first time in 1868 at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan. This theme will be tackled with the participation of the director Robert Carsen, whose classic version of Mefistofele has been on stage for thirty years in major European and world opera houses; this year to mark the anniversary, Carsen’s Mefistofele will return to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
In November and December, again as part of the activities of the National Committee, there will also be two important Boito events at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan and the Teatro La Fenice, Venice. Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) was educated in Venice, Milan and Paris. Among the leading exponents of the Scapigliatura movement, he played an active part in the social life of the Milanese literary salons. A composer and writer, he produced numerous novels, poems, translations, critical essays and scores. Once of his most important musical works is the unfinished Nerone, staged by Toscanini in 1924, after his death. His principal works as a librettist include the texts for Verdi’s Otello and Falstaff, Faccio’s Amleto and Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. He was a playwright and early director of Eleonora Duse (they corresponded at length), for whom he
translated Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth; moreover, he directed the great diva in the first of these plays.