Florence’s answer to Glyndebourne

The inaugural New Generation Festival of opera and classical music begins on August 31

New Generation Festival artistic director Charlie Siem, who will perform Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 in G Minor Op 26
New Generation Festival artistic director Charlie Siem, who will perform Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 in G Minor Op 26

There are few formal gardens in Italy as pretty as those at the Palazzo Corsini al Prato in Florence. The walled space, in the heart of the Tuscan capital, was designed at the end of the 16th century, and with its fountains, lemon orchards and ornamental cherry trees it’s a pristine and secluded oasis in the Renaissance city. It’s also the location for the first-ever New Generation Festival, a showcase of fresh talent in the worlds of opera and classical music taking place from August 31 to September 3.

The festival will take place in the grounds of Florence’s Palazzo Corsini al Prato
The festival will take place in the grounds of Florence’s Palazzo Corsini al Prato
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Featuring a series of live concerts complemented by picnics in the Corsini Gardens, the weekend (tickets from €55) has a loose black tie and formal evening dress code (“or indeed any beautiful outfit you enjoy wearing”, suggests the invitation), and opens with a gala performance of Donizetti’s comic opera L’Elisir d’Amore, starring rising soprano star Anush Hovhannisyan in the lead, alongside up-and-coming tenor Khanyiso Gwenxane. VIP tickets (€2,500 for two, limited availability) for the festival include a two-night hotel stay, invitations to the gala dinner on the opening night and a hamper for the closing night.

The walled Corsini Gardens were designed at the end of the 16th century
The walled Corsini Gardens were designed at the end of the 16th century
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The line-up also includes an evening of orchestral performances on September 1, featuring The Barber of Seville Overture by Rossini, Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 in G Minor Op 26, performed by the Festival’s artistic director Charlie Siem, and Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 in C Minor Op 67, conducted by festival co-founder Maximilian Fane. There are also plans for a special surprise concert, to be held at another secret location in the city, for which guests will be given details shortly before the weekend begins.

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