Buon anno, happy new year, auguri, yada yada yada* and good riddance to 2020. Like most Italians we stayed home in the family, respecting the Covid-19 lockdown and the ban on fireworks. From the explosive sound of our neighborhood, this ban was about as well-enforced as parking regulations.
For the past few years Rome has put on a pretty impressive New Year’s Festival but this year they had to think of something different. The solution, a streaming event called OLTRE TUTTO, (above all) was a smart compromise, I thought. Although I only watched a bit, I was intrigued by the idea: live concerts, professionally staged and filmed from dramatic locations like the Ara Pacis and the Capitoline Museums (Tabularium). Mixed with this were drone shots of the city, returning frequently to Circo Massimo where Alfredo Pirri’s installation “Fuoco – Cenere – Silenzio” was visible from above. Of the artists who performed I confess I only recognized Gianna Nannini, but it seemed to be a smart strategy to highlight music many people probably like rather than appealing to a cultured niche.
Instead of staying home and watching a party elsewhere, as often happens (at least to me, I confess), in this case the party was a collective event of lots of people staying home, or maybe nurses at work or patients in hospitals, watching on screens, large and tiny.
OLTRE TUTTO was of course a collaborative venture with lots of partners: MIBACT e Parco Archeologico del Colosseo, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Casa del Cinema, Fondazione Cinema per Roma, Fondazione Musica per Roma, Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, Fondazione Romaeuropa, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Associazione Teatro di Roma, ACEA, and others.
Artistic Directors were Francesca Macrì and Claudia Sorace.
But I think I’m correct in assuming that much of the credit goes to Luca Bergamo (Rome’s Vice-Mayor and Cultural Commissioner) who has been the mind behind many of the city’s most impressive cultural initiatives in recent years. So I think it’s worth ending with this statement by him.
“2020 has clearly shown us what we must not do: go back. The causes and effects of the pandemic, like climate change, show us another direction. We must have the strength to make a whole new start that puts human relationshipsat the center. The very preparation of “Oltretutto” has in itself elements of a new way of being, people who show themselves more attentive to each other in order to achieve a result together, in unprecedented conditions. Thanks to their common commitment, the determination and sensitivity they have put in place, we have succeeded in creating a unique and unprecedented project, Oltre Tutto.”
-Luca Bergamo (Rome’s Vice-Mayor and Cultural Commissioner)
But so as not to end on a positive note (boring), here’s one criticism. I thought it would be easy to capture a few screen shots from the event to illustrate here, but the website where it streamed live says to come back soon to “relive the experience”. What, they managed to pull it off live but can’t upload the video to youtube?
And here I thought everything would be perfect in 2021. Happy New Year.
Further info at www.culture.roma.it
*I just learned that the expression “Yada yada yada” comes the 1961 album “Lenny Bruce – American.”