The ORT’s Christmas Concert Brings a Musical Surprise


Principal ORT Guest Conductor Nil Venditti

For the long-awaited traditional Christmas Eve concert performed by the Orchestra della Toscana (ORT), Principal Guest Conductor Nil Venditti steps onto the podium to weave together the many sounds of eastern and western cultures on stage at Teatro Verdi (via Ghibellina 99) on the 24th at 5 pm. The Orchestra, along with violinist Alina Ibragimova, will play pieces by Fazil Say, in addition to a 19th century Italian opera composer and a German musician of the Romantic period.

“I aim to unite people through music without any borders, not even mental ones” says Fazil Say, the young composer whose work is heavily featured in this holiday show, “Music doesn’t need translations. Anyone can understand it, be they Chinese, Turkish or German.” The performance will feature two of Gioacchino Rossini’s overtures, which include “La Cinderella” and “Il barbiere di Siviglia” (Barber of Seville); Felix Mendelssohn’s “Concerto for violin and orchestra op.64”, where Alina Ibragimova brings her violin interpretative skills to the forefront; then ending with “Symphonic Dances” by Fazil Say, which expresses a contemporary orchestral sound in its composition. 

Fazil Say is regarded as a talented pianist and composer, who put a unique spin on his music thanks to his Turkish origins. After facing opposition from the government of Turkey, which he regards as “an authoritarian regime founded on religious dogmatism,” he wished to build bridges with his music and unite people with the emotions that it provokes. 

Italian-Turkish conductor Nil Venditti, returning from a long tour across Europe, returns to the ORT to lead this show to end the year off. Her performances across Europe saw her premiere in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France. Now with the experience she has accumulated throughout her travels for work, she brings her immense talent back with her to Florence. She is regarded as “one of the best new conductors of this century” thanks to her work and her extensive studies in Zurich.

Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova performs in the ORT for the first time with this stellar end-of-the-year concert. Born to a violinist mother and a father who played the double bass for the London Symphony Orchestra, she was considered a musician who was “born with an instrument in hand,” more specifically, a 1775 violin provided by Georg von Open that she uses to this day. Learning from both the Genesis School in Moscow and the Yehudi Menhuin in England, Alina brings her talent to help in this multicultural concert to bring about a grand finale for the end of 2021.  (nelson matos)