Early Music Festival opens in Utrecht

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The 30th edition of the Early Music Festival begins in Utrecht this evening. For tens days, Italian music from the early Middle Ages until late Baroque can be heard all over the 'Cathedral City'.

The festival opens with a carillon concert in the cathedral tower by Utrecht's departing bell ringer Arie Abbenes. The opening performance of the Dutch première of Cesena by dancers and singers from the Rosas and Graindelavoix is sold out.

This year's theme, Roma - città eterna Rome - eternal city, focuses on the repertoire of four composers who wrote for Rome's richest inhabitants, many of them popes. "They represent the music that could be heard in Rome back then," says a spokesperson.

The Early Music Festival in Utrecht is the world's largest in this genre with 120 concerts. There will also be lectures, workshops and a photography exhibition of the festival's 30 year history. The festival ends on 4 September with a performance by the ensemble L'Arpeggiata playing Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine.

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