The Icelandic Director for Circolo Scandinavo, Ingo Arnason has been working at the residency since September 2012. During his time at Circolo, the job description has changed a bit, and Arnason has been working towards bettering the feeling of community among the artists, something that a lot of the previous interviews have listed as important during their stay. "I wanted to create a sense of community among the artists. Not that they didn't achieve that on their own, but usually it took a while before they became friends, so by adding our breakfast meeting and a bit later the Trastevere tours, the artists were able to break the ice sooner." Arnason says.
From the beginning of his time at Circolo, the number of events has also increased thanks to adding new rooms for the artists to use. Today Circolo can welcome 7 different artists, a full house. Instead of having just one Meet the Artists event per month, it's now divided into two events, making it easier both for the guests and artists.
"The Director's post has challenged me in the right way" Arnason says. "I've enjoyed my time here tremendously. Meeting all these professional, hard-working and driven artists makes me feel very fortunate. The heart and soul of this residence truly is the artists." Artists come here to work on their projects and they value their time here, they don't come here for a vacation, but to be inspired and pursue their carreers. For the next Director, planned to start working in July 2020, Arnason has just one piece of advice: " Rely and trust the traditions that have kept this place going for 160 years. Don't try to control everything, this place can't be run like a factory. Let the magic of this place flow freely" Arnason contemplates.
After his time at Circolo, Arnason is aching to get back to directing opera. He prefers the opera because there, all the arts come together on stage, and it can be both fun and crazy! Going back to Iceland is not on the agenda for now, unless an opportunity arises that he can't say no to. After 14 years in Rome Arnason has come to appreciate the city's contradictions and the people's mindset. There is a special cheerfulness or happiness among the Romans, even when things go bad, they still seem to find something ironic in the misery. For an opera director it's also interesting to observe the dramatical and theatrical way of living here. Every day is like a baroque opera!
Text&photo: Oona Haapamäki