Series of concerts breathes life back into musical world
If 2020 proved one thing, it was that the need for music in people’s lives goes well beyond its capacity to divert and distract. As the acclaimed Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva put it: “Culture is as essential to life as the food we eat or the air we breathe. Politicians class opera as entertainment and no longer as something essential – but art is vital.”
Revitalizing the music world
In 2020, the “Perpetual Music” initiative served several purposes.
The three concerts, held between August 21 and September 3, at the Teatro Rossini, in Pesaro; the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, in Berlin; and at the Palais Garnier of the Opéra national in Paris, and streamed internationally, gave a worldwide audience an opportunity to enjoy music-making of the highest calibre at a time when most concert stages across the globe were empty.
In asking their star soloists to recruit musicians of their choice to perform at the concerts, Rolex also offered a hand of support to more than 100 artists, singers and musicians who had been struggling to survive. As Villazón said in his introduction to his concert (co-curated with Capuçon) at the Garnier: “There are a lot of singers, a lot of musicians, who find themselves without work, and, actually, many of them are looking for other jobs to bring food to their table, not jobs that their vocation is about.”
Championing the arts
The Paris concert had an eclectic repertoire, from the baroque of Monteverdi to Bach’s solo Cello Suite No 1 in G Major, to Richard Strauss’s Morgen and even George Gershwin’s Summertime. For his concert in Pesaro, on the Adriatic coast of Italy, Flórez concentrated on the works of local boy Rossini, who was born there in 1792. He personally invited a selection of artists who were Rossini specialists, and whom he had either sung with before or met in masterclasses. “The concert was a real means of support for them in this period of Covid-19 when artists were deprived of their audiences and their incomes,” he said. “When Rolex contacted me with their proposal, I immediately thought it was a fabulous idea.”
Elevating our lives
The concerts were performed to small audiences and then made available digitally until the end of the year to hundreds of thousands of people in more than 180 countries through the free streaming service medici.tv.
For all the artists, the performances were not only a pleasure in themselves, but a chance to reconnect with audiences from whom they had been separated in the strange times of exile from the stage that 2020 brought. By allowing them to sing with an orchestra and perform, finding the full range of their artistry, the “Perpetual Music” concerts of 2020 helped emphasize the way that music is not only an essential element in our daily lives – but a means of elevating and improving it.