An interview with Matteo Aldrovandi


We never met, just exchanged a couple of emails, sharing a common interest. Half a year later, I already knew that Matteo is a serious and irrevocable lover of the Eurovision Song Contest. He comes from Italy, and although the country hasn’t participated in the European competition for 10 years, he cherishes a great zest for it. “Informed” is too weak a word to describe Matteo’s opinion of the ESC. So, small wonder that I turned to him for enlightening us on Eurovision.

  1. What is Eurovision to you? How long have you been engaged with the Eurovision idea?

    Eurovision Song Contest for me is a way to know new artists, new sounds and new Cultures. When I was a Child I used to watch yearly the “Zecchino d’Oro”, a tv programme for Children similar to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Foreign Songs were performed partly in foreign languages with traditional sounds. This led me to know new Countries, new words…. When I grew up I felt that the Eurovision Song Contest could be the ideal following of my interest in different Cultures: several Countries competing fully in their national language with their home-land sounds.

    My serious interest in the Eurovision Song Contest started back in 1990 when we won for the second time, but I became a huge fan only in 1997… when Italy took part for the last time :(

    Nowadays I’m the president of Ogae Italy, the Official Eurovision Song Contest Italian Fan Club since 2003.

  2. Matteo AldrovandiItaly was one of the original countries to join in Le Grand-Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne. What happened for 50 years so that Italy is not at the ESC today?

    Ah! This is a question that several persons ask me. There are some stupid stories about it, but the truth is only one. RAI used to broadcast the Contest very late in the night. Never “live”, only in 1991. So people, year by year, lost their passion for the Contest. People couldn’t stay up to watch it at 2 am or 3 am to watch it on Tv…. slowly also newspapers stopped writing about it… and the interest in this competition decreased in Italy.

    As You know in Italy we have the San Remo Festival, Italian Music Festival which appeals to around 15.000.000 people in front of the Tv yearly. Sponsors pay so much money to advertise their products and San Remo Festival is sold to foreign televisions worldwide. You can now imagine how much money and efforts RAI TV puts in organising this contest which is held in March every year, too close to the
    Eurovision Song Contest.

    When we asked RAI why not competing to the Eurovision Song Contest, RAI replied us: Why shall we have to take part in a Music Competition totally unknown in Italy, like the Eurovision Song Contest, while we have our San Remo Festival to sell worldwide and we earn so much money from it? As Ogae Club, we are trying to let people know and “remember” the Eurovision Song Contest to the Italian Press and Singers. Many Italian artists would be interested in taking part, but RAI said again a strong NO: Few Audience, High Costs, too near to San Remo Festival.

  3. I know people who say that the East “stole” the Contest from the West and turned it into something different. How would you comment the division East / West?

    I never cared about East and West inside the Eurovision Song Contest. This year this “division” was very strong as only “east” Countries ended in TOP10, but I have to admit that their songs were the Best. I still believe that people at home vote for the Song, not for the Country. Western Countries should learn to send decent songs, with something different and unique, not the same photocopied song.

  4. What I’ve noticed from my practice with Eurovision is that fans are very important. However, when a common viewer watches the show, they vote for a song they hear for the first time, and with some luck – a song they’ve been listening to on the radio. But very few of them have followed the ‘warm-up’ period. So, my question is, to what extent are the fan clubs important for the promotion of the ESC participants beyond the fan club?

    It depends how the Fan Club is working… There are some fan clubs who work in cooperartion with WebSites, with National Television and with Newspaper. Those media report the Fan Club activities and when these Clubs invite a eurovision singer these media cover the event. It’s a great way to be familiar with other Eurovision artists’ names. As for my Club, we work in cooperation with Radio, suggesting them songs to airplay, forwarding addresses to request promotional material to get Eurovision Music. Every single act made by a Fan will be important to make a singer or a song known to several people.

  5. What is your opinion of the introduction of the second Semifinal and the huge number of countries willing to join in the ESC?

    I’m not against new Countries at the Eurovision Song Contest, but only if those bring something “national” to the Contest. If a new country should perform a song in English, with an anonymous sound, I can really live without it in the Contest. For me the Eurovision Song Contest is discovering new sounds, new traditions, folklore in the Songs. So I’m always against using the English Language in songs representing a non-english-speaking Country.

    Ok, I could say: Yes to a song performed half in English and half in national language, but please use also Your national language, it’s something a Country shouldn’t be ashamed to use. A Country should be proud to perform in its language, it’s its heritage to share with Europe.

  6. Christmas and the New Year are coming. Would you be so kind a wish something to our readers?

    Ok, Two Wishes… First: to the Italian readers, that Italy will be back in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009… but probably this is too much. For the other readers that Your Country will win the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 so that You can experience what I felt back in 1990 when Italy won for the last time. Now It seems that I won’t experience that feeling anymore, but with the help of all of You, I hope to be able to bring Italy again in the Competition.


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