viernes, 26 de febrero de 2021


Cecilia Bartoli se prépare à endosser un nouveau rôle : celui de directrice artistique de l'Opéra de Monte-Carlo, une institution qu'elle admire.


Monte-Carlo Opera has announced that Italian coloratura mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli will become the first female Director of the Company when she succeeds Jean-Louis Grinda in 2023

Roman-born Ms Bartoli is acknowledged as the most successful classical artist of our times – with the sale of over 12 million video and audio products in her career to date. She made her debut as Rosina in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in her home city in 1987, and since then her spectacular career has taken her to concert halls and opera houses the world over, working with some of the world’s most illustrious conductors, and appearing in venues such as the Salzburg Festival, the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Zurich Opera House. the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie de Paris, Vienna’s Musikverein, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, to name but a few.

Among the many honours which Cecilia Bartoli has won are five Grammys, more than a dozen Echos and Brit Awards, the Polar Music Prize, the Léonie-Sonning-Music Prize, and the Herbert von Karajan Prize.

In 1999, Cecilia Bartoli launched the Vivaldi-Album – the first of her concept albums – in which she explores and sheds new light on a range of topics from the baroque and belcanto eras. This was followed in successive years by Opera proibita, Maria, Sacrificium, Mission and St Petersburg, and last year she released the latest album in the series, Farinelli.

Cecilia Bartoli has served as artistic director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival since 2012, where her contract was recently extended until 2026, and where in 2020 the Festival’s programme will revolve around a new production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale in which she will star.

Since 2016, Ms Bartoli has worked with Les Musicians du Prince Monaco – an orchestra which she created with Jean-Louis Grinda, and which was granted the patronage of the princely family of Monaco. “In no time,” she says, “this orchestra has performed more than 70 concerts, recordings and opera performances throughout Europe. The public and international critics have given it a unanimous welcome, naming it as one of ‘the best instrumental ensembles of the time’.”

In 2018, the Cecilia Bartoli Music Foundation created a new record label, Mentored by Bartoli, a project which aims to bring classical music to a wider audience, collaborating with talented young musicians. The inaugural release on this label was Contrabandista, the first solo album of Mexican tenor Javier Camarena.

Ms Bartoli says: “Taking over the direction of the Opera de Monte-Carlo is a new step in my career, but it is also the realization of a dream. […] I am overflowing with ideas and it is with immense joy that I will put my creativity and passion for music at the service of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo!”


 by Joseph Wade

The Kid (1921) Director: Charlie Chaplin

Screenwriter: Charlie Chaplin

Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance, Carl Miller, Walter Lynch

Inequality, wealth disparity, gendered oppression and prejudice have long been among the thematic building blocks of great cinema, but rarely have they been presented with such innocence as in a Charlie Chaplin motion picture, and perhaps never have we seen all of them presented at once with such a cheekiness as in Chaplin’s seminal feature The Kid, released 100 years ago in 1921.

Charles Chaplin, then credited as Charlie Chaplin, was one of Hollywood’s great early filmmakers; a worldwide megastar known for his character The Tramp – a short moustachioed man with baggy clothes and clown-like shoes pointed in either direction of his body. Through slapstick humour, the films of Chaplin translated to audiences across the world, the timeless messages of love and equality easily recognisable no matter the culture – and in a decade that would come to be dominated by his pictures, the great writer, director, producer, composer and performer would start as he would mean to go on, 1921’s The Kid being one of the most influential and certainly one of the decade’s most timeless offerings.

Telling the tale of The Tramp – Chaplin’s iconic silver screen character who would be the focus of each of his pictures for 20 years – and a child he finds in the trash and chooses to take in after reading a note from its beleaguered mother buried in its clothing, The Kid visits so many of the great filmmaker’s most iconic themes and ideologies, ultimately pitting the down-on-their-luck unlikely duo against the oppressive forces of the police, the government and the always looming threat of malnutrition and disease caused by the duo’s complete absence of wealth; all the while cheekily breaking the fourth wall and causing many a smile through its slapstick antics.

The Kid opens with the title card “The woman – whose sin was motherhood”, and it is clear when viewing the piece with the knowledge that Chaplin was a child of the workhouse and his mother was placed in an “Insane Asylum” for raising him outside of marriage, that this opening title card was a targeted point made in opposition to the way governments and wider society ousted single mothers and their children into obscurity. Chaplin was a child born of oppression and poverty, and upon his arrival in the United States paid for his mother to be moved there with him to live in luxury for the rest of her life, and in The Kid it is clear this experience is central to the great filmmaker’s belief system and to the characters he creates. The woman in question, simply named The Woman and played by Edna Purviance, is alone and unable to feed her child when she comes across the car of a family of aristocrats and chooses to leave her baby there in the hopes of a better life for it. The car is then stolen by lowly criminals and the child put in the trash to be found by Chaplin’s Tramp, the narrative following the story of The Tramp and The Kid adjacent to that of The Woman, as The Woman is given a second chance at life, becoming famous and achieving all the things that the people of the time would never dare believe but Chaplin made integral to his story nonetheless.

The Kid’s politically motivated narrative is melted onto the structure of a superb stage comedy, the silent antics of Chaplin’s Tramp and Jackie Coogan’s The Kid rushing through frame, the characters playfully looking into the camera to evoke empathy or laughs when the time calls. Entire sequences are structured as jokes, with Chaplin placing us in the position of the all-seeing eye, awaiting the disaster that is coming to The Tramp unbeknownst to him. We laugh in anticipation of the silliness, and Chaplin strings it out for all it’s worth; then we laugh as the anticipated tension comes and is so gleefully performed, Chaplin never failing to seem as if he is enjoying himself. It makes for a joyous experience, and one that you can’t take your eyes off; what’s even more remarkable is how Chaplin isn’t done – he forces us to laugh again as he subverts expectations or offers a second laugh he’d set up earlier on but we’d probably forgotten about. It’s writing that can be described as nothing other than genius, and the performances are worthy of Chaplin’s great reputation as both an actor and director, every part played with a similar glint in the eye and physical gusto as the great man himself.

Yet, as with all great filmmakers, the narrative and the performances are just one factor to consider when judging a famous piece, Chaplin’s remarkable creativity behind the camera being somewhat revolutionary for the time. The film features a third act dream sequence that is bookended by soft fades in which Chaplin’s Tramp goes to heaven, goes shopping for wings, flies up and down the set, and is reunited with his son, only to be shaken awake on the doorstep of the house he’s no longer able to stay in. It’s a moment that evokes contemporary comparisons to the likes of Parasite and La La Land, each of which were inspired by films which were inspired by other films which were ultimately inspired by The Kid – and there’s no greater tribute to Chaplin’s work than this. Furthermore, late in the second act, The Woman looks directly into the camera to indicate to us that she is reminiscing on her time with her newborn baby – a distinct moment of juxtaposition to the cheeky smiles and looks of acknowledgement that have permeated Chaplin’s use of the technique to that point – while title cards and iris fades are regular occurrences that clue us in to the passing of time and the development of perspectives, illustrating Chaplin’s desire to further film language and make it as central to his storytelling as any other aspect. Chaplin was by no means the first to include such techniques in a feature film, but he was certainly an early purveyor, and was as talented as anyone at making them a part of his storytelling. During a time when the form was still brand new, Chaplin seemed to be from another world, his combination of the best of cinematic storytelling, narrative storytelling and performative storytelling being truly awe-inspiring.

In The Kid, humanity isn’t bad, but the constructs of society are – the absurd orphanage system and the people who uphold it without empathy or even humanity, the police who uphold the norms of an oppressive system through violence, toxic masculinity that pits those at the bottom against one another for scraps, the monetary disparity that causes thievery and starvation, the sexist agenda that sees women locked up for falling pregnant outside of wedlock yet has men continue as normal. It’s a stance Chaplin would take for the rest of his career – an ideological perspective that would have him chased from the United States for being a suspected communist – and so much of it remains so sadly relevant to our contemporary space. After a century of war, protests, technological advancements and political evolution, The Kid is just as necessary and just as important as it was at the beginning of the 20th century; an unmissable film not only to cinephiles and film aficionados, but a gently thought-stirring 53 minutes of cinema that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.


EL CLAVE BIEN TEMPERADO DE JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (II PARTE). Círculo de Bellas Artes, 28 de febrero, 2021, Temporada 2020/2021. 

Según informa el programa de mano, Piotr Anderszewski (Varsovia, 1969), pertenece a una extensa saga de pianistas de su país vinculados a la escuela francesa. Anderszewski estudió en su ciudad natal, en Lyon y Estrasburgo antes de establecerse como uno de los grandes de su generación. Después de algún disco como acompañante, su discografía en solitario arrancó en 1999 con un disco dedicado a Bach, compositor fetiche de su carrera. Aquí se acerca al segundo volumen de “El clave bien temperado”, una colección de preludios y fugas en todas las tonalidades de la escala cromática que mostraba los trabajos de Bach en torno a la compleja afinación de los instrumentos de tecla de su tiempo. 


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

Selección de El clave bien temperado, libro II (1738-42), (selección)

Preludio y Fuga n.º 1 en do mayor. BWV 870

Preludio y Fuga n.º 17 en la bemol mayor. BWV 886

Preludio y Fuga n.º 8 en re sostenido menor. BWV 877

Preludio y Fuga n.º 11 en fa mayor. BWV 880

Preludio y Fuga n.º 22 en si bemol menor. BWV 891

Preludio y Fuga n.º 7 en mi bemol mayor. BWV 876

Preludio y Fuga n.º 16, en sol menor BWV 885

Preludio y Fuga n.º 9, en mi mayor BWV 878

Preludio y Fuga n.º 18 en sol sostenido menor. BWV 887

Piotr Anderszewski está considerado uno de los músicos más destacados de su generación. Aparece regularmente en recitales en salas de conciertos como Wiener Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées y el Concertgebouw Amsterdam. 

Sus colaboraciones con la orquesta han incluido apariciones con las formaciones Berlin Philharmonic y Berlin Staatskapelle, la London Symphony y Philharmonia y la NHK Symphony. También ha puesto especial énfasis en la interpretación y la dirección, trabajando con instituciones como la Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe y Camerata Salzburg. En la temporada 2020-21 se podrá escuchar a Anderszewski en recitales en la Filarmónica de Berlín, la Zürich Tonhalle, la Elbphilharmonie de Hamburgo, el Lincoln Center de Nueva York y el Barbican Center de Londres, entre otras salas.

Su programación contará con una selección especialmente cuidada del Segundo libro de El clave bien temperado de Bach, que también será el tema de su próxima grabación para su lanzamiento en el 2021. Sus compromisos orquestales incluirán apariciones con la Orquesta dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, la Orquesta Sinfónica de Bamberg y la Sinfónica de Viena.

Reconocido por la intensidad y originalidad de sus interpretaciones, Piotr Anderszewski ha recibido el premio Gilmore, el premio Szymanowski y un premio de la Royal Philharmonic Society. También ha sido objeto de varios documentales del cineasta Bruno Monsaingeon. Piotr Anderszewski interpreta a Diabelli Variations (2001) explora la relación particular de Anderszewski con la obra icónica de Beethoven. Unquiet Traveller (2008) es un retrato artístico inusual que captura las reflexiones de Anderszewski sobre la música, la interpretación y sus raíces polaco-húngaras. En 2016, Anderszewski se puso detrás de la cámara para explorar su relación con su Varsovia natal, creando una película titulada Je m’appelle Varsovie.


El artista polaco realiza una reorganización del material del II volumen del Clave bien temperado, siguiendo sus propios criterios de selección de coincidencias tonales, mayor /menor y alternando las emociones derivadas de la reinterpretación de las partituras escogidas, originalmente creadas cuando el piano, estaba en ascenso, compartiendo escenarios todavía con otros instrumentos y el conocido clavecín, al uso.

A propósito de la obra de Bach, declaró en una ocasión Anderszewski, …"la polifonía en Bach, es algo peculiar. Algo que te desarrolla de una forma pura, física, la mano. Que nos divide las dos manos constantemente. Ya no solo dos, sino muchas. Bach es esto".

Recoleta, catedralicia e intimista lectura de un Bach, donde se utiliza el pedal para favorecer el legato y donde no faltan ciertos perfumes del siglo XIX, casi románticos, en una narrativa que se acerca mucho a la introspección, donde se revela con diafanidad la relación con su instrumento, la obra y además consigo mismo. Hay ligeros rubatto, trinos leves y licencias que persiguen la creación de atmósferas casi debussyanas, de épocas posteriores. 

Anderszewski es pudoroso, se reconcentra en su hábito gris, sonríe, saluda y explica, en otra entrevista realizada en Francia, que le horroriza la ópera italiana, "donde alguien abre la boca y grita". Lo suyo es la expansión del sentimiento pero controlado. Su sonoridad comienza a parecer una gran bruma interior que fluye desde el teclado, donde no abundan los staccato, ni los picados excesivos, ni la sequedad con que otras escuelas, seguramente más ortodoxas, han declinado la gran construcción faraónica que ha dado para el siglo XVIII su monumental, contrapuntística y desarrollada concepción de la música, los instrumentos que se abren a una gran variedad de búsquedas sonoras. 

Como explicaba en su cita de arriba, tiene dos manos excelentes, que declinan en ocasiones un discurso  complementario pero diferente, que se aprecia por separado y se funde un un conjunto bien empastado. Y atiende los matices, les "nuances" de cada párrafo musical, de cada preludio y fuga. Fue otro Preludio, el nº 12 en fa menor, como un "encore", el que clausuró la velada, premiada con vítores y aplausos por parte de una audiencia muy cómplice, que lo conoce y lo sigue.

El pianista polaco, es otra de las posibilidades que nos viene regalando en España el activísimo culturalmente hablando Instituto Polaco, encuadrado en los pilares de una sede diplomática, donde la Embajadora, la Exma Marzenna Adamcyk, apoya incansable y con mucha energía, el descubrimiento de Polonia, su país, en España y Europa.

Este será un excelente año profesional para un pianista de alrededor de cincuenta años que se muestra y se deja escuchar en salas con mesura, porque no toda la relación con su instrumento y sus compositores, donde tienen un lugar predominante Diabelli o Chopin, por ejemplo, se externaliza o se comparte.

Madrid se ha arriesgado durante estos meses de pandemia a mantener abiertos sus teatros y salas de concierto, con las precauciones sanitarias obligadas y debe agradecerse el esfuerzo de las instituciones, los artistas y el público, que se han volcado en un proyecto común para que estas circunstancias sanitarias, muy largas y desestructurantes ya, no sofocaran definitivamente la cultura.

Alicia Perris


miércoles, 24 de febrero de 2021


 Le Schloss Schulzendorf ? Bâti par le propriétaire d'un grand magasin de Berlin, confisqué par le Troisième Reich, occulté par les Soviétiques, restitué, abandonné, redécouvert...


Le lieu de tournage du "Queen's Gambit", Schloss Schulzendorf en Allemagne, près de Berlin, novembre 2020. (Autorisation de Felipe Tofani/

Dans la (très) populaire série Netflix, Le Jeu de la dame, la jeune prodige des échecs Beth Harmon est envoyée dans un orphelinat situé dans le Kentucky des années 1960. Mais le lieu de tournage situé dans l’orphelinat de Methuen était en fait un château abandonné, construit par un Juif non loin de Berlin et baptisé Schloss Schulzendorf.

Un flot de pèlerins ont depuis visité le château. Au moins l’un d’entre eux – le photographe Felipe Tofani – a déclaré qu’il regrettait de ne pas avoir appris le passé du château avant de le visiter, en partie parce qu’il n’y a pas de panneaux sur le site concernant l’histoire remarquable de l’édifice.

Le lieu de tournage du "Queen's Gambit", Schloss Schulzendorf en Allemagne, près de Berlin, novembre 2020. (Autorisation de Felipe Tofani/

Dans la (très) populaire série Netflix, Le Jeu de la dame, la jeune prodige des échecs Beth Harmon est envoyée dans un orphelinat situé dans le Kentucky des années 1960. Mais le lieu de tournage situé dans l’orphelinat de Methuen était en fait un château abandonné, construit par un Juif non loin de Berlin et baptisé Schloss Schulzendorf.

Un flot de pèlerins ont depuis visité le château. Au moins l’un d’entre eux – le photographe Felipe Tofani – a déclaré qu’il regrettait de ne pas avoir appris le passé du château avant de le visiter, en partie parce qu’il n’y a pas de panneaux sur le site concernant l’histoire remarquable de l’édifice.

« Au début, mon seul but était de visiter le Schloss parce que c’était le lieu de la série », a déclaré Tofani, qui photographie habituellement des bases soviétiques abandonnées et d’autres ruines de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

« Mais le passé du château était bien plus intéressant pour moi. Lire l’histoire après coup a rendu le voyage à Schulzendorf encore plus intéressant », confie Tofani au Times of Israel.

Construit dans le style néo-Renaissance, le château possède une imposante tour centrale et une serre vitrée, ou jardin d’hiver. Pour la série, le montage numérique a permis d’harmoniser parfaitement la tour d’aspect médiéval avec la façade du bâtiment historique. Le toit en ruine a reçu, entre autres, des dizaines de nouvelles tuiles fabriquées.

Derrière les murs imposants du Schloss Schulzendorf actuel, le passé est également caché – bien que l’histoire du château soit un microcosme de la vie juive du XXe siècle en Allemagne.

Situé au cœur du village homonyme, près de l’aéroport de Berlin-Brandebourg, le bâtiment actuel du Schloss Schulzendorf a été construit par Moritz Israel en 1889.

La famille Israel possédait le plus ancien et le plus grand grand magasin de Berlin, le Kaufhaus Nathan Israel.

Après que Moritz a décidé de vendre ses parts à son frère, il a construit le château sur les terres qui abritaient autrefois un domaine de chevalier.

Après la construction du château, la demeure a été offerte par Moritz Israel à son fils, Richard, un ancien combattant de la Première Guerre mondiale, et à sa nouvelle épouse, Bianca Cohn.

Pendant trois décennies, le couple a généreusement financé des aménagements en ville, allant de l’accès à l’eau potable à la construction d’écoles. Ils ont également financé l’installation de lignes électriques dans la ville.

Pendant les premières années du régime nazi, le couple a aidé ses enfants et petits-enfants à fuir l’Allemagne.

En 1939, Richard Israel a été dépossédé du château de Schulzendorf. Le couple a été déporté à Theresienstadt, un endroit hybride entre ghetto-camp de concentration où Richard est mort en 1943. Bianca a survécu à la guerre et a vécu pendant 20 ans à Hanovre.

Après 1945, le Schloss Schulzendorf, bien-aimé du couple, s’est retrouvé en Allemagne de l’Est sous contrôle soviétique, où l’histoire du château sous le nazisme a été effacée. Pendant ces années, la propriété – comprenant une chapelle et plusieurs dépendances – a été utilisée comme « maison de réinsertion » et comme ateliers mécaniques.

En 1993, quatre ans après la chute du mur de Berlin, le Schloss Schulzendorf a été rendu aux descendants de la famille Israel. Pour différentes raisons, la famille n’a pas entretenu le site, bien que des activistes et des blogueurs aient appelé à « une restauration qui honore le destin et l’héritage de la famille Israel ».

Qualifié de « belle au bois dormant » par certains visiteurs, le château est actuellement abandonné et en état de délabrement, sauf pour le tournage occasionnel du film.

Plusieurs bloggeurs-photographes ont écrit sur les intrusions, dont un aventurier qui est sorti après avoir découvert qu’un balcon était « humide et glissant », selon son blog.

Bien que le photographe Tofani n’ait pas tenté d’entrer dans le bâtiment, il a déclaré qu’il n’était pas préparé à cette expérience en novembre dernier.

« J’aurais aimé connaître son histoire avant d’y aller pour pouvoir le voir sous un autre angle », a déclaré le photographe Tofani. « C’était la première fois que j’explorais un endroit qui avait un passé aussi prestigieux et tragique », a-t-il déclaré.

Depuis qu’il a visité le château avec ses appareils photo et son drone, Tofani a été contacté par plusieurs admirateurs de ses photos et de son site web, intitulé Fotostrasse. Selon le photographe, l’histoire du château de Schulzendorf est ce qui maintient l’intérêt des gens à connaître la propriété, tout autant que les scènes de la série.

« Je crois que la plupart des gens qui m’ont contacté ont ressenti la même chose que moi », a déclaré Tofani. « Ils étaient curieux de connaître le lieu de tournage de la série mais, une fois qu’ils ont eu connaissance de l’aspect historique, tout a changé et le Schloss est devenu plus qu’un lieu de tournage ».


 "La 'Piccola Scala', inaugurata nel 1813, è uno scrigno di rara bellezza incastonato nel cuore della città, fonte di ispirazione, da più di due secoli, per celebri compositori ed interpreti che ne hanno definito storia e prestigio".

Il Teatro Sociale di Como, tra i più antichi e suggestivi del Nord Italia, venne inaugurato nel 1813, l’anno più noto agli appassionati di musica per la nascita di Richard Wagner e Giuseppe Verdi. Nel 1811 cominciarono i lavori di costruzione ed il progetto fu affidato all’architetto Giuseppe Cusi. La sala, dopo numerosi interventi e restauri, ha attualmente la forma di una cassa di violoncello, con 5 ordini di posti di cui: 3 ordini per i 72 palchi di proprietà privata, oltre al palco reale, e due ordini per le gallerie (IV e V ordine). Nel 1938 l’Arena del Teatro Sociale veniva trasformata in teatro all’aperto, con una struttura capace di contenere fino a 4000 persone, tutt’oggi usata durante il Festival Como Città della Musica. Il Teatro Sociale di Como è altresì noto con l’appellativo di “Piccola Scala”, dal momento che ospitò il Teatro alla Scala, dopo il bombardamento del 1943.

A Como, nell’arco dei secoli, si esibirono grandi interpreti: da Giuditta Pasta e Maria Malibran a Toti Dal Monte, Simionato, Favero, Pagliughi, Cigna, Barbieri, Carosio, Caniglia, Zeani, Scotto, Olivero, Kabaivanska, Devia, e poi ancora Tamagno, Gigli, Pertile, Schipa, Merli, Filippeschi, Del Monaco, Tagliabue, Pasero, Bechi, Poggi, Stabile, Bastianini, Rossi Lemeni, Bruscantini, Di Stefano, Bergonzi, Kraus, Dara, Giacomini, Nucci, per menzionare solo alcuni nomi. Molti furono anche i grandi direttori d’orchestra, da Arturo Toscanini a Riccardo Muti.  Straordinarie furono le atmosfere create dai grandi virtuosi e artisti, riportate nelle cronache del tempo: 1823, Nicolò Paganini «fece sentire in quell’accademia il suo violino toccato dalle dita del suo genio portentoso e sublime. Dal teatro tutti partirono meravigliati e convinti non poter altri arrivare a tanto valore». Nel 1837 Franz Liszt vi eseguì La serenata. Il 24 dicembre 1837 nasceva a Como, da Franz Liszt e Madame d’Agoult, Cosima Liszt, futura sposa di Richard Wagner.

Dal primo gennaio 2002 la gestione degli spettacoli e l’intera attività teatrale è  passata all’AsLiCo. Il Teatro, aperto oltre 300 giorni all’anno, fa parte del circuito OperaLombardia, ed è sede di numerose attività: una stagione d’opera, concerti, balletti, in cui si alternano generi e contaminazioni diverse; il Teatro è altresì sede delle Scuole del Teatro.

Il Concorso per Giovani Cantanti Lirici, che nel 2020 ha festeggiato la 71esima edizione, è stato trampolino di lancio per alcune delle voci più applaudite. Tra i tanti progetti rivolti alla formazione di un nuovo pubblico, detiene un primato importante Opera Education, noto e riconosciuto in tutta Europa, che si articola in 5 grandi macro-attività: Opera meno 9 (per le mamme in dolce attesa); Opera baby (per bambini da 0 a 3 anni); Opera kids (per bambini da 3 a 6 anni); Opera domani (da 6 a 14 anni; nata nel 1996, che chiama a raccolta ogni anno piu? di 3000 insegnanti e 150.000 bambini); Opera smart (per adolescenti da 14 a 18 anni e under 30).

Il Teatro è un luogo storico, visitabile sia in aperture prestabilite, sia in visite guidate dedicate, con una prenotazione che comprenda minimo 15 persone. Sovente vengono abbinate agli spettacoli visite a tema e guide all’ascolto, insieme a degustazioni di prodotti tipici del territorio. Questo format, con un concetto di experience che può essere declinato in innumerevoli varianti, in cui i visitatori vengono accompagnati ed il più possibile coccolati, può, a seconda della disponibilità degli artisti, comprendere anche incursioni nel backstage; la durata può variare dai trenta ai sessanta minuti, a seconda delle esigenze dei partecipanti, che già possono fruire del servizio in italiano e in inglese.


L’attuale dipinto della volta del soffitto, che rappresenta le muse che scendono dall’Olimpo ad incoronare gli artisti, è opera di Eleuterio Pagliano su progetto di Gaetano Spelluzzi, eseguito durante i restauri del 1855. Dopo il restauro in teatro si potevano ospitare sino a 2000 persone (posti in piedi in platea e ingressi in piedi nel loggione). Nel 1864 l’illuminazione a gas sostituì completamente l’illuminazione a candela. Anche il lampadario centrale fu cambiato con una elegante lumiera donata dal Comune. Nel 1899, in occasione del centenario dell’invenzione della pila di Alessandro Volta, il teatro fu dotato della luce elettrica. Nel 1909 furono poi aboliti i palchi di quarto ordine a beneficio di un’unica galleria, per assecondare la crescente richiesta del pubblico comune. La sala ha attualmente la forma di cassa di violoncello e le murate hanno una struttura in legno con 5 ordini di posti di cui: 3 ordini per i 72 palchi di proprietà privata, oltre al palco reale, e 2 ordini per le gallerie (IV e V ordine). Il teatro possiede un sipario storico di Alessandro Sanquirico, grande scenografo e pittore della prima metà del 1800, che rappresenta la morte di Plinio il Vecchio durante l’eruzione del Vesuvio del 79 d.C. Nel 1938, l’Arena del Teatro Sociale veniva trasformata in teatro stabile all’aperto, con una struttura progettata dall’Ing. Ponci, capace di contenere fino a 4000 persone.

Nel 1984, per l’adeguamento alle norme di sicurezza, il teatro fu chiuso per restauri, ma la tenacia della Società dei Palchettisti, che si fece interamente carico degli oneri economici, riconsegnò alla città il suo Teatro, che riaprì il 23 ottobre 1988. I lavori di restauro proseguirono col rifacimento del tetto e il ripristino e la tinteggiatura dell’intero edificio, oggi, riportato al suo stato originario. Con un accordo di programma sottoscritto nel 2005 da Società dei Palchettisti, AsLiCo, Regione Lombardia, Comune e Provincia di Como, il Teatro è stato nuovamente sottoposto ad accurati lavori di restauro, che hanno interessato gli stucchi, la volta, il palcoscenico e, di recente, la sostituzione completa delle poltrone della platea. Nel 2013 è stato abbattuta la torre scenica degli anni ’30, ormai in totale stato di abbandono, e recuperata la facciata posteriore del Teatro, opera dell’architetto Cusi. L’Arena del Teatro Sociale, utilizzata per spettacoli all’aperto fino agli anni ’60 (quando è poi diventata un parcheggio) è stata restituita alla città nel giugno 2013 con il Progetto 200.Com Carmina Burana, ambizioso progetto dell’AsLiCo. Nel 2015 sono iniziati i lavori di adeguamento normativo fino a quando nel 2018-19 con un nuovo progetto ed a seguito del sopralluogo effettuato dalla Commissione di Vigilanza per il Pubblico spettacolo il 26 febbraio 2019 la struttura ha ottenuto il Certificato di Prevenzione Incendi e l'Agibilità.

La Scala al Sociale

Il Teatro Sociale ospitò il Teatro alla Scala dopo che il bombardamento del 1943 rese inagibile la prestigiosa sala milanese. Grazie a questa collaborazione, a Como si esibirono i migliori artisti dell’epoca. Tutti i ‘grandi’ cantarono al Sociale: Giuditta Pasta e la Malibran, e poi, Tamagno, Gigli, Pertile, Schipa, Valletti, Merli, Galeffi, Filippeschi, Basiola, Del Monaco, Tagliabue, Pasero, Bechi, Poggi, Stabile, Bastianini, Rossi Le Meni, Bruscantini, Taddei, Di Stefano, Bergonzi, Kraus, Dara, Montarsolo, Giacomini, Nucci; e prime donne quali: Dal Monte, Dalla Rizza, Adami Corradetti, Pacetti, Elmo, Simionato, Favero, Pagliughi, Cigna, Barbieri, Carosio, Caniglia, Zeani, Scotto, Olivero, Kabaivanska, Devia. Molti furono anche i grandi direttori d’orchestra, da Toscanini a Muti. Gli stessi compositori seguivano con attenzione le sorti dei loro lavori, tenendo in considerazione il giudizio del colto pubblico comasco; molto spesso, presenziavano alle esecuzioni delle proprie opere. Nel 1883/84 Carlo Gomes presenziò al successo della sua Salvator Rosa rispondendo a ben quindici chiamate del pubblico entusiasta. Anche la prima comasca dei Pagliacci 1892/93 fu seguita da Leoncavallo chiamato alla ribalta tantissime volte.

Per la prima assoluta di Ettore Fieramosca di Vincenzo Ferroni, il 25 gennaio 1896 furono mobilitati i critici delle migliori testate giornalistiche. Molte furono le lettere e i telegrammi delle autorità musicali fra cui Verdi e Massenet. Il maestro Ferroni non potendo presenziare alla serata, scrisse: «Questo successo mi è tanto più caro, in quanto che è stato ottenuto in un ambiente riputato dei più delicati ed esigenti; intendo parlare dell’ambiente comasco». Stanislao Gastaldon partecipò nell’estate del 1899 al successo della sua Pater come pure Emilio Ferrari per il suo acclamato Cantico dei Cantici. Nel 1905, durante le repliche di Iris, magistralmente concertata dal maestro Tullio Serafin, fece la sua comparsa Pietro Mascagni con signora, venuto apposta per seguire i ripetuti successi della sua opera. L’anno seguente, nel 1906, Mascagni diresse la seconda replica di Amica e fu necessario l’intervento dei carabinieri per regolamentare l’affollamento e l’entrata del pubblico. Nel 1932, Mascagni ritornò per dirigere l’ultima replica di Isabeau con la grande Bruna Rasa. Umberto Giordano fu presente nel 1948 alla prima recita in programma di Fedora e ai festeggiamenti del cinquantenario dell’opera.


Poet and countercultural pioneer put on trial for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s Howl went on to become a beloved icon of San Francisco

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, outside City Lights in San Francisco. Photograph: Clay Mclachlan/AP

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet, publisher, painter and political activist who co-founded the famous City Lights bookshop in San Francisco and became an icon of the city himself, has died aged 101.

Ferlinghetti died at home on Monday night. His son Lorenzo said that the cause was interstitial lung disease.

Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, New York in 1919. His father died before he was born and his mother was committed to a mental hospital, leaving him to be raised by his aunt. When he was seven, his aunt, then working as a governess for a wealthy family in Bronxville, abruptly ran off, leaving Ferlinghetti in the care of her employers. After attending university in North Carolina, he became a journalist in 1941, then joined the US navy during the second world war. While studying for his doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris on the GI Bill, he began to write poetry.

Returning to the US in 1951, he was drawn to California as a place to start afresh. “San Francisco had a Mediterranean feeling about it,” he told the New York Times. “I felt it was a little like Dublin when Joyce was there. You could walk down Sackville Street and see everyone of any importance in one walk.”

In 1953, he co-founded the City Lights bookshop and publishing company with friend Peter Dean Martin, who left soon after, with the mission to democratise literature and make it accessible to all. “We were young and foolish,” he told the Guardian in 2019. “And we had no money.”

While most bookshops across the US closed early and on weekends at the time, City Lights stayed open seven days a week and late into the night, fostering a countercultural community that attracted the likes of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. City Lights initially focused on selling paperbacks, which were cheaper but looked down on by the literary establishment, and publishing poetry, offbeat and radical books by the likes of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Paul Bowles, Gary Snyder and Gregory Corso.

In 1955, Ferlinghetti heard Ginsberg’s seminal poem Howl read for the first time at the Six Gallery in North Beach. The next day, he sent a telegram to Ginsberg: “I GREET YOU AT THE BEGINNING OF A GREAT CAREER. STOP. WHEN DO I GET MANUSCRIPT OF HOWL?” The epic poem was printed in Britain and shipped to San Francisco, where the copies were seized. Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg were arrested on obscenity charges in 1957.

“I wasn’t worried. I was young and foolish. I figured I’d get a lot of reading done in jail and they wouldn’t keep me in there for ever. And, anyway, it really put the book on the map,” Ferlinghetti told the Guardian. Having already sent the poem to the American Civil Liberties Union, “to see if they would defend us if we were busted”, the ACLU successfully defended the poem at a trial that lasted months. The verdict set an important precedent for reducing censorship, and heralded a new freedom for books around the world, while also making both men internationally famous.

In 1958, Ferlinghetti published his own first collection, A Coney Island of the Mind, which sold more than 1m copies. He went on to write more than 50 volumes of poetry, novels and travel journals. As a publisher, he maintained a lifelong focus on poetry and books ignored by the mainstream, even as it became harder in the face of behemoth, profit-driven presses.

He self-identified as a philosophical anarchist, hosting many sit-ins and protests against war at City Lights. He regarded poetry as a powerful social force and not one reserved for the intellectual elite, saying, “We have to raise the consciousness; the only way poets can change the world is to raise the consciousness of the general populace.”

In later decades, Ferlinghetti became an icon of his city. In 1978, when San Francisco was rocked by the double assassination of the city’s mayor, George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk, Ferlinghetti wrote a poem that ran two days later in the San Francisco Examiner. It was titled An Elegy to Dispel Gloom, and he was personally thanked by the city for helping maintain calm. In 1994 a street was named after him, and four years later he was named San Francisco’s first poet laureate.

He remained active in City Lights until the late 2000s, chatting with fans and tourists who popped in just to meet the legend. “When he was still here every day, fixing a lightbulb or some other little thing, he never refused somebody who wanted to talk to him,” Elaine Katzenberger, the current manager of the shop, said. “He usually looked for some commonality to have a little conversation with them.”

Though mostly bed-bound and nearly blind in his later years, he remained busy, publishing his final book, Little Boy, on his 100th birthday. A loosely autobiographical novel, Ferlinghetti refused to describe it as memoir: “I object to using that description. Because a memoir denotes a very genteel type of writing.”

In 2019, San Francisco named 24 March, his birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day to mark his centennial, with celebrations lasting all month. In an interview from his bed to mark the occasion, he told the Guardian that he was still hoping for a political revolution, even though “the United States isn’t ready for a revolution … It would take a whole new generation not devoted to the glorification of the capitalist system … a generation not trapped in the me, me, me.”

When asked whether he was proud of his achievements, Ferlinghetti said: “I don’t know, that word, ‘proud’, is just too egotistic. Happy would be better. Except when you get down to try and define the word happy, then you’re really in trouble.”