On a recent beautiful weekend, I had the chance to visit Villa Salviati, a gorgeous locale in the hills outside of Florence. Singers from a Florentine operatic school performed in the main building’s cortile. It was so beautiful and here’s a sample.
Villa Salviati is home to the Historical Archives of the European Union, a unique resource for researchers at the EUI and far beyond.
By housing the European Union archives, the long international tradition of this villa is continued. Over the centuries this villa had Italian, French, Swedish and American owners.
The estate has naturally strong ties to Florence as well, as the original owners, the Salviati family, wealthy wool merchants and bankers, were in the 15th century closely connected to the Medici that held great power and influence in the city.
The Salviati family’s fortune grew and they went on to add grottos to the site which still stand today. The grottos are made up of frescoes and elaborate stonework that hark back to an era of affluence.
Lauretta makes a final plea to her father with “O mio babbino caro” (Oh, my dear papa), in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Performed today in Fiesole in a Renaissance villa. Magical.
Founded in 1920, the Amici della Musica or Friends of Music is one of the oldest and most prestigious concert groups in Florence. The group presents some of the best works and performers on the international scene. And its home is the beautiful Teatro della Pergola, Florence’s oldest theater built in in 1656, so you can enjoy a wonderful Florentine evening from boxes once maintained for the private entertainment of the city’s aristocracy and social elite.
There is surely also much scope, now that Italian performers have become experts in this field, for further exploration of the Baroque repertoire, not to mention the grandsopéras of Meyerbeer, which were staged for the first time in Italy at the Pergola in the mid-nineteenth century and have been absent from the Maggio Musicale since the 1971 production of L’Africaine with Jessye Norman. The neglect of the French repertoire in general has been one of the weaknesses of operatic programming in Florence. It is hoped that the galvanizing presence of the new general manager will succeed in breaking down this barrier, too.
For more, see http://amicimusicafirenze.it