On October 23, the city council of Vicenza bestowed honorary citizenship on Iván Fischer, founder of the Vicenza Opera Festival. According to the commendation, the Hungarian conductor “has become worthy of this honor in view of his exemplary attachment to the city of Vicenza through the festival he has organized, which for years has boosted the reputation of the city, emphasizing its historical, artistic and cultural heritage across Italy and the world.”
At the meeting of the Vicenza city council, speakers representing each political party supported bestowing the title. In their remarks, they highlighted that this celebratory occasion is also important for the city, as Iván Fischer’s presence adds invaluable international perspective to Vicenza’s cultural life. The distinction was subsequently presented at a ceremony at City Hall by Vicenza Mayor Giacomo Possamai and city council chair Massimiliano Zaramella.
“This is a great honor. I love this beautiful city, and I felt that organizing a cultural festival in Vicenza would contribute to spreading the word about the city throughout the world,” the newly minted honorary citizen said in his remarks.
Iván Fischer founded the Vicenza Opera Festival in 2018. The event is implemented by the Società del Quartetto (with the support of the city), which is also joined by an international group of friends, including patrons from Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Hungary and other countries. This year, the festival will take place between October 26 and 29 in the city. As part of the program, the Budapest Festival Orchestra will perform Pelléas and Mélisande, directed by Iván Fischer, three times at the Teatro Olimpico, the first modern covered theater, built in 1585. The performance will be followed by a concert, featuring works from the first half of the twentieth century banned by the Nazis; among others, the performance will feature pieces by Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill. The Budapest Festival Orchestra has already performed this line-up in Budapest, at a concert with OMIKE, the Hungarian Jewish Educational Association, at the Rumbach Sebestyén Street Synagogue.
Vicenza is the second city, after Budapest, to grant honorary citizenship to the Hungarian conductor. Iván Fischer’s most important awards and recognitions: In 2006, he was awarded the Kossuth Prize; the same year, the government of the Republic of France bestowed the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres upon him. In 2011, he was awarded the Music Award of the Royal Philharmonic Society, Hungary’s Prima Primissima prize and the Dutch Ovatie Prize. In 2013 he was accorded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London.