A magpie is a clever bird and takes what it likes. The main thing is that it shines. In Gioachino Rossini’s melodrama “La gazza ladra”, a missing spoon leads to a turbulent love story, for which the “Swan of Pesaro” wrote a sizzling overture, ideally suited for New Year’s Day. Nicolò Paganini shone as arguably the most brilliant violinist of all time and was also a fine, very Italian composer. He wrote furious violin concertos that perfectly combine southern fire and sensual string bel canto. Benjamin Schmid, the charismatic star violinist from Salzburg, is a worthy successor to the legendary virtuoso from Genoa. The “magic of Italy” was explored by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in the Romantic period, and he had very own things to say about it. In the finale of his “Italian Symphony” we can already look forward to Carnival with a wild Saltarello dance from mysterious Naples. The British Leo McFall, winner of the German Conducting Award 2015, and “his” young and playful Symphony Orchestra Vorarlberg guarantee enchanting and swinging concerts.