Ravenna Teatro Alighieri, July 23, 2018. Riccardo Muti and the Italian Youth Orchestra paid tribute to Raul Gardini on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death. “Tonight we are here for a tribute to a friend: an exceptional man, an uncommon person,” began the famous opera conductor before directing an instrumental program of Italian operas of the second half of the nineteenth century: Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Catalani, Puccini, Martucci and Verdi. By the end of the evening, the program had turned into a tribute to Gardini from all the citizens of the city of Ravenna who, once the free tickets for stalls and boxes were sold out, filled Piazza del Popolo and the Palazzo dei Congressi in front of two giant screens, quickly set up to respond to the numerous requests.
“In addition to his entrepreneurial successes,” continued Muti, “let us not forget what Raul Gardini did for this city and above all for culture. He generously supported some of the most important concerts of the Ravenna Festival.” He was also responsible for the construction of the Palazzo Mauro De André, the main venue of the Ravenna Festival, where the sculpture “Grande Ferro R” by Alberto Burri, commissioned by Gardini himself, stands out. “Once,” Maestro Muti remembered, “after a Cherubini Mass which I conducted, we found ourselves together at dinner. I complimented him on the tie he was wearing, and before I had even finished speaking, he took it off and gave it to me. It is the tie I am wearing tonight.”
The concert offered by Muti was carried out in collaboration with the Municipality of Ravenna, the Autorità di Sistema Portuale (the Port System Authority which restored Raul Gardini’s famous boat, the Moro di Venezia) and the Flaminia Foundation (remembering the honorary degree conferred to Gardini by the University of Bologna in 1987).The concert was preceded by the screening of a short excerpt of the documentary “L’ultimo imperatore,” “L’ultimo imperatore”, by Giovanni Minoli and Massimo Favia.