The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Bard Music Festival Events

Program Eight
Music and Fascism in Italy

[Program EightMusic and Fascism in Italy] Bard Music Festival 2013, photo by Cory Weaver
Bard Music Festival 2013, photo by Cory Weaver
7 PM Preconcert Talk: Ben Earle
8 PM Performance: Marnie Breckenridge, soprano; Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director 

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924), Inno a Roma (1919); Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880–1968), Preludio, from Lo straniero (1925); Alfredo Casella (1883–1947), Elegia eroica, Op. 29 (1916); Luigi Dallapiccola (1904–75), Partita for Orchestra (1932); Goffredo Petrassi (1904–2003), Magnificat (1939–1940)
In his prominent resistance to Fascism, Arturo Toscanini was rare among Italian musicians. Most composers of the time took a more pragmatic approach, prioritizing career advancement over the need to take a stand. Thus, while never active in politics, Puccini met Mussolini several times, and did not return the honorary party membership card he received. His patriotic Hymn to Rome, written to celebrate Italy's victories in the First World War, was posthumously renamed Hymn to Il Duce and co-opted for use in Fascist ceremonies and street parades. More directly complicit was Pizzetti, who accepted a Coppa Mussolini award. Similarly, notwithstanding the Jewish origins of both his first and second wives, Casella's problematic relationship with Fascism is well documented, and he publicly denounced the music of other Italian composers as "the product of international Judaism." It was he who inspired Dallapiccola's Partita for Orchestra, but unlike the older composer, Dallapiccola's own politics traced a complex path from Fascism to resistance. Similarly, Petrassi, considered by many the patriarch of modern Italian music, accepted the directorship of the Teatro La Fenice under Mussolini, but found ways to use his position subversively, programming works by Jews and hiring musicians opposed to the regime.
Make a night of it! Enjoy Night-Out packages, available for select Bard Music Festival performances.

Ticket Information

Fisher Center, Sosnoff Theater

Tickets: $25–75

This event occurred on:

Sat. August 13, 8 pm


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