In 2016 the “In viva voce” Polyphonies series celebrates twenty years’ of activity. When it began back in 1997, it was conceived as a small experiment which, however, was quickly consolidated in subsequent years. At the time two groups of Albanian-Italian women from the Basilicata were invited and later other representative groups of the Albanian choral tradition were also guests, including some from the Cham Albanian minority. Many other European choral practices were then also presented in Venice: from the Bulgarian Bistritsa Babi (grandmothers of Bistritsa) – among the first polyphonic traditions to be acknowledged by UNESCO as a intangible living heritage – to singers from Georgia, an almost legendary country for polyphonic singing and related studies. There was no lack of examples from the Mediterranean area: from Sardinia (the “tenor singing” of the Tenores de Bitti, and devotional singing from Santulussurgiu), to Corsica and Sicily. They were followed by the polyphonic singing of the Dong people, a small minority in southern China, they too acknowledged by UNESCO.
To celebrate twenty years of activity the curator of the series, Maurizio Agamennone has organised an afternoon dedicated to polyphonic singing on Thursday, 1 December. The event will begin with talks by some authoritative scholars, who will engage in “reflections for several voices”. The usual afternoon session, on the other hand, will focus on polyphonic singing from Corsica (“Voices from Corsica: Confraternal Singing”), while the Cunfraterna Sant’Antone abbate di Speluncatu will take the stage for the final concert.