After Elio e Le Storie Tese’s very entertaining preview, helping us all celebrate the stars that are the pride of our land, it’s not by chance that ERF 2016 opens its season with the sensational national debut of the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre. Under the artistic direction and choreography of Dexin Kong, the 77th descendant of Confucius, the show tells us the story of the philosopher’s life.


Faithful since its inception to its mission of eliciting emotion and reflection in its audiences, this year too, ERF seeks to send a very strong and clear message starting from the very title of this edition “Building bridges”. These sound bridges will be built by many young artists from the most remote corners of the world, including great stars like Xi Chen, Ramin Baharami, Gemma Bertagnolli, Marc Coppey, Dave Lin, Alexander Chaushian, Luis Bacalov e and the international project with the Türksoy organization.


“Confucius created a ritual system and a moral and social doctrine that addressed and tried to remedy China’s spiritual decadence, at a time of deep corruption and great political turmoil”, words that are ancient yet ring true today. Is perhaps Il Bel Paese too in need of its own Confucius to help it fight neglect, distance, disaffection, negligence, and apathy? And couldn’t culture, education, creativity, aesthetics and welcoming others be “our Confucius”?


The daily hardships we encounter in the artistic and cultural fields are an important litmus test to gain a better understanding of the current situation in our country. We are talking about a lack of opportunity, long term vision, unified planning and an idea of the future, in a country where our young talents, musicians, artists, actors and others often leave. With the aid of music, we can create opportunities, sharing, stimulate curiosity without preconceptions, cultivate small acts of caring to launch new challenges in these hard times, such as the season and the winter concerts to be held in Faenza, Imola, Bagnacavallo, Castel San Pietro Terme and Comacchio.


We are a community, we do not listen to the voices of fear calling inside us to build walls, retreat into ourselves, reject cultures and values that are different from ours. Our dear Emilia Romagna is a happy island, a shining example of values and humanity. Perhaps our region itself is “our” Confucius!


Massimo Mercelli, President and Artistic Director