From Rome to Dubai, Petrocelli is the superintendent of the UAE opera: “There is no turnover in Italian foundations”

“In our companies, but also in the Councils, the new generations of managers have somehow managed to make space for themselves. Thirty years of driving, there is. While in theaters, opera foundations, museums or festivals, nothing moves: the inclusion of new figures is not favored in any way. However, there are many graduates in Cultural Economics, with prestigious master’s degrees, who leave our universities and academies every year. But, in Italy, we cannot look to the future. We are not concerned about supporting the executive class with a group of young managers who will in time be able to develop the skills to meet the challenges of tomorrow. without And I say this without controversy, but with deep concern.


Paolo Petrocelli, 38, from Rome, did, but thousands of miles from home: he was appointed superintendent of the Dubai Opera in the United Arab Emirates. And, in recent days he has been included by the World Economic Forum in the list of the hundred Young Global Leaders of 2023. His career (which has taken him to Coldplay, of which he has been a cultural advisor since 2018) begins at Santa Cecilia. conservatory, where he studies violin.


After almost twenty years of playing, a diploma and degree in literature and musicology from the Sapienza University of Rome, Petrocelli changes music and moves to the other side of the stage, dedicating himself to artistic and cultural management for institutions outstanding, international soloists. , tours of major symphony orchestras, festivals and concert seasons. Collaborating with the United Nations, Unesco, the European Commission and the Nobel Peace Prize Summit. In 2011, at the age of 27, he joined Img Artists, world leader in performing arts management and as associate director he has overseen the careers of many artists (Alexander Romanovsky or Anna Tifu). In 2013 he founded Emma for Peace (Euro-Mediterranean Academy of Music for Peace), a non-profit structure for the promotion of musical diplomacy between Europe and the Middle East, of which Riccardo Muti is honorary president.

Stauffer Academy of Cremona

“To manage companies related to the world of live entertainment, the preparation of the field is essential. But, in Italy, it is an impossible path. There are practices for junior groups, yes. But you don’t work in leadership. Which, therefore, ends up being entrusted again to older people, or professionals from other sectors». In 2014 he joined the Board of Directors of the Opera of Rome and until 2021 he was assistant for international development and external relations to the then superintendent, Carlo Fuortes. Appointments at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena and the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory of Music in Venice. He then deals with the relaunch of the Stauffer Academy in Cremona.


He is a researcher at Harvard University’s metaLAB and a professor at Bocconi, Luiss, the Sole24ore Business School, the Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the ISPI (Institute of International Political Studies). A curriculum that has convinced those responsible for the “nascent” Dubai Opera, a multifunctional futuristic structure, with two thousand seats, capable of hosting any type of performance, from opera to ballet, from symphonic music to jazz and pop. “Inaugurated six years ago, it represents a global context for an international community. A stage for the cultures of the world, but with a distinctive and recognizable identity”, he explains.

Social and economic value

The challenge is ambitious: “to propose a model of both cultural and economic development”. For the privately owned Arab structure, ensuring that the excellence of the proposals has a commercial impact is a primary objective. “But the issue of designing theaters that generate social and economic value is at the center of an international debate. And that’s why I think it’s essential to cultivate, in Italy, professional figures capable of bringing the two needs into dialogue. Among other things, I repeat, our courses are of the highest level, as are the Academies, true excellence. However, there is a lack of knowledge about access. And it’s a shame because young people could contribute to the management of theaters less tied to tradition and closer to the needs of the public.” Petrocelli does not consider himself a brain drain: “Italy has given me many opportunities. But the dynamics of our institutions often interact with politics. And this is not an opinion, but a fact. A factor that, however, limits turnover at the top”.

Source : IL Messaggero

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