Four Minutes, Four Questions with Francesco Micheli, Artosphere

Four Minutes, Four Questions with Francesco Micheli, Artosphere


When the Artosphere Festival Orchestra presents a program June 29 celebrating the moon, it will be with the backdrop of French movie director Georges Melies’ 1902 masterpiece “A Trip to the Moon.” The ground-breaking film was named by The Village Voice one of the world’s 100 greatest films and is widely considered one of the world’s most influential projects. More importantly for this event, however, the film’s primary subject is the moon — a perfect fit for Artosphere’s over-arching theme of space. Music Director Corrado Rovaris and Artistic Director Francesco Micheli carefully selected music that relates to that theme to accompany the evening: Selections include Strauss’ “The Blue Danube,” Monteverdi’s Toccata from L’Orfeo and Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582. Micheli answered four questions for What’s Up! about the upcoming performance.

Q. What went into developing the concept for this concert?

A. For several years I have been working with the desire to combine narration and classical music. Great music is capable of making us fly; moreover, flying is the most common desire of human beings. Finally, I think it is important to celebrate the anniversary of the landing on the moon 50 years ago — [it is a] historical event with a strong symbolic value. All these ingredients are the basis of the electrifying project “The Moon” which I joyfully shared with Corrado Rovaris and the charming staff of Artosphere.

Q. Was it difficult to find orchestration that you thought represented the theme well?

A. The creative path in choosing instrumental tracks with Corrado was exciting and challenging. Since ancient times it tells of the thousand attempts of man to win the story of gravity: Icarus, the mythological Greek character who first manages to fly with artificial wings, is a sort of ancestor of the astronaut Neil Armstrong. Our concert is a sort of musical journey that traces a sort of history of written music thinking of the sky of which the moon is the night queen: a goddess to whom we are all in love. We want to fly to her, and we are melancholy when we understand that such love is impossible. From the mythical music of Monteverdi to the waltz by Strauss to the mythical Star Wars by Williams, the musical journey in space is guaranteed.

Q. Your concert will feature the film “A Trip to the Moon” by Georges Méliès. Can you talk a little bit about the experience of presenting an event that provides for the audience an aural and visual feast? Do you find that it provokes in the audience a different kind of investment?

A. I liked trying to show what I see when I listen to music, like in a travelogue. In this particular case the music makes us fly to the moon: Mèliès managed to make us see it a century before the Apollo 11. The wonderful fragments of this fairy tale film are intertwined with designs created specifically for production. For several years I have collaborated with an exceptional Italian artist, Franceasca Ballarini; she has succeeded in giving form to these visions.

Q. Do you enjoy developing concerts that are based around a theme? If so, why?

A. I’m not a musician, and theater is the medium that allowed me to enter the world of music. I love classical music because it is very eloquent without words: music speaks to you and you, thanks to it, are free to think about what you want. That’s why it’s a “journey”! For years I have been creating concerts in which music dialogues with words creating narrative events that involve newcomers because they feel led by the hand but they also like experts because they show masterpieces with new points of view.



Artosphere Festival Orchestra

Celebrates: The Moon

WHEN — 8 p.m. June 29

WHERE — Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville

COST — $10-$49

INFO — 443-5600

Categories: Music