Music is what has led the Italians through the pandemic and now is the central theme for rebuilding the future. It comes as no surprise, Italy is the land where musical notation was invented, where many musical instruments - from bagpipes to most of the musical instruments in the violin family - including the piano - were created or perfected. It is no wonder that the development of opera also happened in Italy - where the language itself lends perfectly to song.
Italians, still today, naturally and effortlessly sing their way through life. Francesco has earned the name “human jukebox” because he immediately comes up with a song at about every comment we make. His mother always sang her way through all sorts of activities, making even the most mundane things more enjoyable. One time, his sister was singing in the shower late one night in a B & B in Washington D.C. I was so afraid the next morning the owners were going to reprimand us for being too loud, instead they were thrilled to have an opera singer as a guest! I am sure they were disappointed to never see her name on the playbill of an opera performance!
Music has served many purposes during the pandemic - Do you remember the impromptu balcony concerts during the country’s lockdown in the spring of 2020? This article, which appeared in the New Yorker during the lockdown, shares how music united and healed the county. And, in this video you can see how a young musician who adapted Ennio Morricone’s famous piece, Deborah’s Song, for the electric guitar. Another beautiful piece by Morricone can be enjoyed in this performance.
Throughout the pandemic, there were many special events, albeit virtual, where music was used to provide solace and to unite us in our isolation. You may recall Bocelli’s concert in Piazza del Duomo in Milano, but maybe you didn’t see this performance of Verdi’s “Va Pensiero” in Piazza San Marco in Venice. This performance was one of the daily musical offerings La Fenice made available to everyone on their YouTube channel.
And now, as the country continues to work to keep infection levels down, while eyeing a hopeful future, it is fitting that a Venetian artist made a floating violin boat to carry a string-quartet through the canals of Venice, bringing what Italians cherish so much to all on the street: music. To read more about the event, click here. The performing arts centers are now open, and with proof of vaccination or negative test - you can enjoy in person. Recently, La Scala opened the lyrical season with a performance of Verdi's Macbeth. Here is an interesting promo video.
On our tour: Northern Italy and Opera, we celebrate music right along with the Italians, all accompanied by wonderful food, wine, art and nature of the region. During this tour, we visit: Cremona, Verona, Parma and Venezia. It truly is a symphony of all wonderful Italian treats. To see a video from a recent trip to the area, click here. And, maybe you can join us in 2022! More details are here.
Do you have a favorite song or playlist that you have turned to over the past months? Share it with us in the comments if you do! Or let us know which of the performances we shared in this blog that you liked.
Buon ascolto (happy listening), Jane and Francesco