Italy: RAI gives us the first look at the Sanremo 2020 stage

We are just a week away from the start of the big week long extravaganza in Italy. The Italian tradition will embark on its seventieth contest from the iconic Teatro Ariston on Tuesday of next week. While fans have not been able to listen to the entries yet, they can now have a glimpse at the stage the Italian contestants and presitgious guests will have to showcase their talent.

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RAI revealed the image of the stage along with some commentary. What we know is that the stage is without heavy machinery, but instead is designed – and animated – by images and curved lines that give depth to the space. It is a tribute to the past, even with a hint of old Broadway but also looking to the future, designed by Gaetano Castelli for the 70th Italian Song Festival.

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Sanremo 2020 stage design, source: RAI

For Gaetano it is the eighteenth time he has designed the stage and marks the return to the wings of the Ariston after 8 years:

“My choice – he says – was to completely eliminate the automations, replacing them with volumetric scenographic elements designed to expand the scenic space and acquire as deep as possible. And in this space I make the light “dance”.

Reduced, but not eliminated the scale, Castelli brings the orchestra back to the sides of the stage – in the mystical gulf – and has worked above all on the integration of elements of the scenography, video and lighting equipment:

“The main stage, the backdrops and the scenes contain video and scene-luminous apparatuses which, for the first time, are completely integrated with the lights of the director of photography Mario Catapano. The scene acquires dynamism thanks to its sinuous forms, perspective devices and synchrony with the musical rhythm of all the luminous and graphic effects, personalized for each artist and underlined by the dynamism of the shot signed by Stefano Vicario “.

The acts competing in this year’s Sanremo music festival are as follows:


The format of Sanremo 2020 has undergone a few changes. Most notably, a jury made up of all the members of the orchestra will have a say on the third show, while they’re also completely getting rid of the expert jury.

  • First and second nights (4-5 February):
    • The 24 performers will make their first appearance, 12 per show. The voting for this show is fully up to the demoscopic jury (a jury selected by RAI that represents the Italian population).
    • The 8 artists from the youth category will also perform for the first time. The demoscopic jury will decide which four of them will advance to the next show.
  • Third night (6 February):
    • The 24 artists will cover memorable songs from Sanremo’s past commemorating the 70th anniversary of the competition. The orchestra will vote this time.
    • The 4 qualified youth artists will perform their entries once again. A combination of the televote, the press jury and the demoscopic jury will decide the two finalists.
  • Fourth night (7 February):
    • The 24 artists will perform their entries again. While the press jury will decide the results of that show.
    • The 2 youth artists that had made it to the final will perform their entries. Once again, the televote and the two panels will decide the winner of the Youth category.
  • Final night (8 February):
    • The 24 artists will perform their entries for the last time. A combination of the televote, the press jury and the demoscopic jury will decide the outcome. As usual, the three superfinalists will be decided after adding up the votes of all shows. 
    • At the superfinal, the winner of Sanremo 2020 will be decided through the same voting combination, but, this time, the points will be reset. So, only the points of the superfinal will help choose the final winning entry. 

Last year’s Sanremo winner, Mahmood went on to represent Italy at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv. He finished second place, narrowly being cut short of bringing Italy it’s first Eurovision victory in decades.

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