Just three names: Zubin Mehta, Peter Greenaway, and Charlotte Rampling. Of course, then there are the musicians, the vocalists, the whole thing that made up the opening night of the 71st Maggio Musicale on April 26th at the Teatro Comunale. It opened with an expected, but crowd pleasing, Haydn piece. Then the second, a Britten (Sinfonia da Requiem Op. 20) which blew me away. Especially the saxophone player. Superb. Finally followed by the not-so-expected Schönberg with Ms. Rampling reading a “Survivor from Warsaw” while Greenaway played as video-jockey with images from various human autrocities. Rampling’s powerful recital was what made it. Well, Zubin made it all happen for me.
(I should interject here that I have a love-hate relationship with films by Greenaway. My father should remember torturing my wee brain with The Draughtman’s Contract. Yet watching Pillow Book as an adult, lovely—and death by ink, yummy.)
So it started out a magical night. Well, there were some glitches in the magic. First, I keep hearing about the Florence audience and how they lack passion — perhaps that is true. The big problem was that Mehta was going to address the audience and his PA went out. Umm, hello? Kind of a big deal people. Regardless, a great prima volta for me. And the music was not over. The night ended with an intimate iPod concert for two featuring several gems from the 80s; dancing, loving the stirring-waking-effect of sound.
Beauty, experience, life; I’d almost forgotten what I was doing here. Thanks for bringing it all back.