Rossini Opera Festival

Promoting international opera festival performances, Pesaro

A unique multi-disciplinary workshop of applied musicology, aiming at the revival of all Rossini’s lesser-known works through musicological research, theatrical performance and publication.


The Rossini Opera Festival is an autonomous body (ente autonomo) promoting international opera festival performances, going under the same name, entirely devoted to Gioachino Rossini. Its aim is to revive, to perform on stage and to study the musical heritage connected with the composer, who, by leaving all his considerable fortune to the town council of Pesaro, gave birth to the Conservatory of Music and the Foundation that bear his name today.

The Rossini Opera Festival was instituted in 1980 by the town council of Pesaro with the intention of backing up and developing, by means of theatrical performances, the scientific work of the Rossini Foundation: this has given birth to a unique multi-disciplinary workshop of applied musicology, aiming at the revival of all Rossini’s lesser-known works through musicological research, theatrical performance and publication.

The development and growth of the event has also been made possible thanks to the financial contributions of public and private bodies, such as the Ministero dello Spettacolo e dei Beni Culturali (the government ministry responsible for cultural and archaeological activities), the Regional governmental board of the Marche, the Provincial government of Pesaro and Urbino, banks such as the Cassa di Risparmio di Pesaro and the Banca Popolare Pesarese (now re-named Intesa Sanpaolo), not to mention the local Pesaro industrial firm Scavolini, for more than thirty years a contributor.

For the first five years the Rossini Opera Festival was under the direct control of the Pesaro town council, but then in 1985 it was declared an ente autonomo supported by the local town and provincial governments of Pesaro.

As from April 1994 the Festival has been legally denominated a Foundation, whilst still keeping its original name. The new organisation is supported by the Pesaro town council, the Province of Pesaro and Urbino, the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Pesaro, the Banca Popolare dell’Adriatico (now Intesa Sanpaolo) and the Scavolini Foundation. In this new institutional guise the governing body, of whom the Mayor of Pesaro is chairman, is nominated by an assembly of the founder members.

The sovrintendente is appointed by this same assembly; his is the responsibility for artistic appointments and decisions, in which he is able to call upon the collaboration of the artistic director. The Rossini Foundation is the Festival’s internal guarantee of musicological standards.

On the 20th December 2012 parliament approved Law N. 238, which includes the Rof in the restricted group of “musical and operatic festivals of great international prestige”. A legislative decision such as this underlines the interest that the State has always evinced in the Rof’s restoration of Rossini’s works, officially included among the operations that govern the artistic heritage of our country ever since Law N. 319/13 of August 1993: “Regulations in support of the Rossini Opera Festival”, which was subsequently confirmed when transmuted into the current Law N. 237/12 of July 1999.

The Rossini Opera Festival is a member of Italiafestival and Opera Europa.

Rossini Theater, Pesaro

Prizes and Awards

In 2015 the Rossini Opera Festival won the International Opera Award with Aureliano in Palmira, for being the “Best Rediscovered Work”, after having had two nominations for best Festival and best production with Guillaume Tell in 2014.

During its history the Rof has been also awarded the Premio Abbiati [Abbiati Prize] (the Oscar of Italian classical music, consigned every year by the Italian musical critic fraternity) 14 times:

in 1982 for being the best musical event of the year;
in 1984 for Il viaggio a Reims (the best theatrical production);
in 1990 for Ricciardo e Zoraide (best scenery: Gae Aulenti and best costumes: Giovanna Buzzi);
in 1997 for Moïse et Pharaon (best stage direction: Graham Vick);
in 1998 for La Cenerentola (best scenery: Margherita Palli);
in 2004 for Matilde di Shabran (best stage direction: Mario Martone);
in 2007 for La gazza ladra (best stage direction: Damiano Michieletto);
in 2008 for Ermione (best conducting: Roberto Abbado);
in 2010 for Sigismondo (best scenery: Paolo Fantin and best costumes: Carla Teti);
in 2011 for Mosè in Egitto (best theatrical production);
in 2012 for Ciro in Babilonia (best costumes: Gianluca Falaschi);
in 2016 for La donna del lago (best conducting: Michele Mariotti).

The Festival has also received the Premio Viotti [Viotti Prize] as the best musical event (1991), the Premio Samaritani [Samaritani Prize] for La Cenerentola (best scenery: Margherita Palli -1998), two prizes from the magazine Musica e Dischi for the CD recording of La Gazzetta (2002) and the DVD of Bianca e Falliero (2006), the Diapason d’or of the French magazine of the same name for the DVD of La gazza ladra (2008) and, in 2009, a prize from the Music Pen Club Japan as the best live show from abroad for Maometto II, on tour in Japan in November 2008.

Images ©Rossini Opera Festival