The Venice Biennale announced the programme for the 66th International Festival of Contemporary Music. Programmed by its director, composer Lucia Ronchetti, Out of Stage will present a wide perspective on contemporary music theatre; the role of new technologies and multimedia, and ways in which virtual and augmented reality is being applied to sound.

Out of Stage refers to works conceived for places and situations other than those offered by traditional stages, presenting a wide perspective on contemporary music theatre and the role of new technologies.

New commissions from the Biennale include experimental theatre works by Simon Steen-Andersen, Helena Tulve, Michel van der Aa, Paolo Buonvino and Annelies Van Parys, in addition to the Italian premieres of new projects by Alexander Schubert, Rino Murakami and Ondřej Adámek co-produced with other European institutions.

The Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement 2022 will be presented to Giorgio Battistelli whose Jules Verne will be presented in a new production performed by Ars Ludi,winner of the Silver Lion 2022, on the inaugural evening of the Festival at the Teatro La Fenice. The new production will feature the construction of large sound sets as part of the stage design by Angelo Linzalata. Battistelli, the author of this chamber fantasy inspired by Jules Verne, will appear in a new role as director. Ideally suited to interpret this new vision of percussion theatre are Ars Ludi, the charismatic musicians who consider every performance an existential experience to be shared in a spirit of fun and complicity.

The Festivalwill involve the entire city of Venice, from the historical spaces of the ArsenaleCa’ Giustinian, the Basilica di San MarcoTeatro La Fenice, the Malibran and Goldoni theatres, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and many others.

The 2022 Festival programme further examines the role of contemporary music theatre by presenting works by Mauricio Kagel, Georges Aperghis, Carola Bauckholt and François Sarhan.

Contemporary music theatre is constantly evolving, elaborating forms from the past that can bring meaning to the present time and to the complex global reality we live in. Diverse compositional voices presented include Mehdi Jalali from Iran; Yvette Janine Jackson, the American composer representative of the Afro-Diasporic Experimentalism; Klein, the Nigerian performer based in London; the American composer and producer of Taiwanese origin X.Lee; the composer of electronic music from Florence Daniele Carcassi and the group of Native American composers showcased by the collective project of the Shenandoah Conservatory, which includes a world premiere performance of a work by the composer of Mohican origin Brent Michael Davids.

Lucia Ronchetti comments:

“The Biennale Musica 2022 offers artists who bring protest back to contemporary music theatre a space to present their work against dispossession, abuse, the denial of rights, the refusal to acknowledge and respect sexual identity – all of which continue to take place before our very eyes. We will be giving some of these voices a place in which to express themselves, encouraging them to experiment with new forms of performance.”

The fertile collaboration between Biennale Musica and Rai Radio3continues with four episodes of Lezioni di Musica, the programme curated by Paola Damiani and broadcast live from Ca’ Giustinian, in which Giovanni Bietti will explore the history of ancient and modern experimental music theatre in Venice. In addition, a cycle of audio-documentariesfor Tre soldi documents the composition and performance workshops attended by the young artists selected for the Biennale College Musica. Il teatro di Radio3 will host the live broadcast of the new opera created by the young Catalan composer Gemma Ragués.

BBC Radio 3 will produce a special edition of The New Music Show which will be dedicated to experimental music theatre curated by Tom Service who will be in Venice during the Festival to moderate the two concerts on September 17th and 18th dedicated to instrumental theatre.