Back to Bollate With The Villa Arconati Festival
03.06.2021, by Luca Testoni
The Villa Arconati Festival comes back to Bollate, Milan’s very own little Versailles. Guided tours, excursions, theater and a lot (and we mean a lot) of music.
And so we have reached number 32. Thirty-two years since the Villa Arconati FAR – Music Festival opened its door for the first time. And we’re not talking about just any festival, but the longest-running festival in Milan and surrounding metropolitan area. Not even a global pandemic was able to stop it, which in and of itself is a record achievement. But it is not the only one the Festival can boast. How many other events are held in such an atmospheric setting? The Villa is the joy and pride of the Comune di Bollate and the Fondazione Augusto Rancilio, both supporters of the festival. And no surprise: many have praised the 18th century residence in the town of Castellazzo di Bollate as Milan’s very own little Versailles.
This year, just like in 2020, the festival had to come to terms with the consequences of Covid-19. Which means its performances, scheduled to run from June 25th to July 17th, will once again take place under the stars, with a reduced capacity of 500 seats (which will be, it goes without saying, properly socially distanced). As another reminder of the difficult times we are living in, this year’s festival will be unable to host any international guests. Moreover, all performances (with tickets sold at a reduced price) will take place starting at 8 PM, shortly before sunset. With just one welcome exception, a sunrise concert that will be a brand-new experience in the history of Villa Arconati. «Yes, our sunrise concert, scheduled for 6 AM, is an absolute first for us», says Lucia Albrizio, the Bollate councilwoman assigned to the promotion of Culture and Peace. «I believe new ideas and new perspectives will be the way out of this emergency. In my opinion, the performance by pianist-composer Remo Anzovino, on the morning of the 4th of July, will have a deep symbolic value. It will represent an awakening in beauty. It’s an experiment that deserves to be attempted. After the concert, guests will even have time for a nice walk around our monumental garden, and a cup of coffee. I like to regard it as the dawn of a new era».
The Bollate councilwoman was also behind the festival’s decision to create a program with a focus on equal gender rights. Rachele Bastrenghi, a vocalist and pianist with pop-rock band Baustelle, will inaugurate the festival’s 2021 edition on the heels of the release of her debut solo album “Psychodonna”, featuring collaborations with Meg and Chiara Mastroianni. Singer-songwriter Cristina Donà, fresh from releasing her new album “deSidera”, will perform on July 9th; on July 10th, the mike will go to writer Michela Murgia, who will perform her monologue “Where are the Women?”. The male quota, on the other hand, will be fulfilled by performances by Avion Travel (June 28th); Frankie HI-NGR MC with AljazZeera, and Moni Ovadia, on the 16th and 17th of July respectively.
Did we miss anything? Yes, a concert by synth-pop ensemble Il Quadro di Troisi, on July 3d – a collaboration with electronic music festival Terraforma, also normally hosted at Villa Arconati, that sadly could not go ahead this year.