Today is the last day of “Omaggio alla Donna” a week dedicated to events celebrating international woman’s day and is closing with a final debate and buffet.
If anything was the crowning star of this week’s events it was last night’s lyric concert with mezzo soprano Arianna Lorenzi, soprano Maria Salvini, Alessandra Micheletti soprano and Angela Panieri Piano with presenter Franco Bocci.
The extensive repertoire included two arias from Mozart’s Italian operas, Handel’s “Lasciami Piangere” from his first London Opera, then led on to the classic Italian nineteenth century repertoire with arias from Verdi’s “Rigoletto”, Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”, going through the verismo of Puccini and Mascagni and ending with two songs from that immortal musical “West Side story”.
The performances from these artistes, none of whom I had ever heard before, was stunning from their assured vocal technique, to their dresses (and looks) to their great interpretative manner. The aria from the last act of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut”, sung by Panieri, where the heroine is left to die in a desert in Louisiana, completely melted me. (If one thinks Giacomo didn’t check up on his geography since there are no deserts in the state of Louisiana but plenty of swamps then they should realise that the USA’s 1803 “Louisiana Purchase” from Napoleon included vast tracts of Arizona and New Mexico filled with deserts capable of killing even the hardiest operatic heroine)
Within the heavenly setting of the hall of the lilies in Bagni di Lucca’s casinò, with the wonderful music that was being equally wonderfully performed by artistes who can only develop into higher vocal goddesses, it was, as the chair of the Fondazione Montaigne, declared, “una Serata stupenda”. I would also add “favolosa!”