The great Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio spent the last years of his life at the Vittoriale, his monumental residence on the Garda Lake. The structure of the building, with its beautiful gardens, reflects a “scenographic” study followed with great care by the architect Gian Carlo Maroni. The idea of performance is always present: interior and exterior spaces have a precise aesthetic logic, according to d’Annunzio’s desire.

In the gardens of the Vittoriale, there is an amphitheatre: it was designed in the 1930s, on the classical model, drawing on the research done by the architect Maroni in Pompeii. With its thrilling sight on the Garda Lake, the amphitheatre is a place of contemplation of the wonders of nature. Unfortunately, d’Annunzio never saw the final building, but it had to be the culmination of his juvenile dream of a theatre en plein air, shared with the famous actress Eleonora Duse. Its inauguration took place on 8 August 1953, with a concert by the Scala Orchestra (director Carlo Maria Giulini).

Since 2010, the Amphitheatre at the Vittoriale has been the location of the Festival “Tener-a-mente” for international artists (artistic director Viola Costa). Among the guests: Lou Reed, Keith Jarrett, James Taylor, David Byrne, Patti Smith, Arto Lindsay, Paul Weller, Franco Battiato, Ludovico Einaudi, Momix, the New York City Ballet, and the Martha Graham Dance Company.

“Teneramente” is an Italian adverb. With the special graphics created by d’Annunzio, “Tener-a-mente” can have two different meanings: “Keep-in-mind” and “With-tenderness.” This brilliant poetic combination is also the aim of the Festival: memorable events for moments of affections.

In 2016, the sixth edition of the Festival “Tener-a-mente” was a real success: from 24 June to 7 August, it had nine sold-out shows: Steve Vai (6 July), Fiorella Mannoia (8 July), Alessio Boni (9 July), Pat Metheny & Ron Carter (11 July), Joan Baez (14 July), Kings of Convenience (17 July), The Lumineers (20 July), Elio Germano and Teho Teardo (24 July), and Massimo Ranieri (29 July).

Festival “Tener-a-mente” 2016 drew a total audience of about 16,000 people, with an average of 1,462 attendees for each event (close to 100%: the amphitheatre has 1,470 seats). Also remarkable is the international level of the audience, from 31 countries, among them Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Finland, United States, Russia, Israel, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand.

It was a very good touristic result also for the town of Gardone Riviera, where the Vittoriale is set. Festival “Tener-a-mente” proves that music and performance can improve our everyday lives: a night in the amphitheatre on the Garda Lake is a precious occasion to refine the soul of the people. In search of the Beauty, as d’Annunzio says with his poetic lesson.

Official websites:

The Amphitheatre at the Vittoriale.  Image courtesy of Fondazione “Il Vittoriale degli Italiani,” Gardone Riviera (Italy).

The Amphitheatre at the Vittoriale. Image courtesy of Fondazione “Il Vittoriale degli Italiani,” Gardone Riviera (Italy).

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

This post was written by Maria Pia Pagani.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.