R – ROTA IN RIGA
Soundtrack of many cult films, masterpieces of an era, Nino Rota’s music seems to reach straight to the heart of the audience, while enclosing an extraordinary rhythmic, harmonic and stylistic complexity that makes them far superior to any merely contemporary musical product “commercial”. Basically it’s popular music, since it is able to emotionally communicate to the mass audience, but with a very refined subtext that can be enjoyed by a narrower elite of expert listeners: neither more nor less this, the secret of the success of the greatest ever, from Verdi to Puccini, from Rota to Morricone. Music such as “Brucia la terra”, jewel of “The Godfather”, or “Ai giochi addio” exquisite expression of the innocence stolen in Romeo and Juliet, even those who do not know them enter the head as echoes of something ancestral experiences, shared fears, dramas of everyday life more or less overcome, translated into sequences of notes. A wonderful repertoire, prepared in four months thanks to the Masters Marcello Rota and Fabrizio Francia (for the orchestral arrangements) and to our Rossella who takes care of the vocal harmonies and rewrites some texts, adapting them for the first concert, reserved exclusively for the important stage of the Verona Philharmonic Theater. This is just the first of a series of vocal symphonic hits that later landed at London’s O2, Prague’s Smetana, Belgrade’s Sava Center, Moscow Kremlin Square and the Riga Opera House. The capital of Latvia has the charm of Central European cities with the added value of the Baltic Sea: the characteristic neighborhoods with wooden inns, the Art Nouveau buildings, the area of colorful clubs down by the port, frame the purely medieval heart of the city. We’re so happy to represent here the Italian music and authors, particularly appreciated also by the Ambassador, who after the concert invites us to a sort of a very elegant cocktail in a hall of mirrors and crystals at the Theater itself. What the Ambassador does not know is that a soprano after the performance would be able to tear an ox to pieces: instead, very serious waiters with trays of canapés, full of every fish delicacy from the North Sea, begin to parade. With Claudia we make a quick calculation of how many dozen we will need to feed ourselves and we line up in strategic points of the room to be sure to cross as many trays as possible. Even the divas eat, and not a little.
S – SIBERIAN TOILETS
The big chill, the absolute white. “Don’t mind, it’s a dry cold” it’s the most common sentence you can hear from relatives and friends before leaving, but it’s difficult tell them the feeling when your freeze nose seem to fall down. The first memory flashes I have when I think to Siberia are my sight lost in something soft and pure and the babushka who sells colored PIGNE at the entrance of “alternative” toilets. But let’s proceed with order: Russia is now a wonderful habits for us when they ask to stay longer for two more concerts: the organization will prepare everything in order to take us from the Krasnoyarsk’s airport to the venues. No problem (if you think to a transfer like Rome-Florence), but these new locations are in effect 500 km far from each other and it means travelling slowly and carefully under violent snowstorm and get through the “Siberian desert” without autogrill for cappuccino and cornetto, but mostly without available toilets. The show must go on: let’s go! The warmth in the car, the heated seats, the safe driving of experienced drivers and obviously very accustomed to the worst of weather conditions (just like in Rome when it rains two drops …), make the journey very pleasant and allow us to cast our eyes really beyond, towards a spectacular and rarefied elsewhere that seems to quell any thought. But soon the first “technical stop” alarm: suddenly a wooden hut emerges from the white, low, unsafe, but it seems to protect from snow. Upon entering the aforementioned babushka, who would appreciate an offer for its colorful pine cones. Now, we make the offer to him with all our heart, but we would also like to take it away in the heated machines, because leaving her there takes us really badly. However, first toilet experience not to be repeated: it takes about an hour to regain sensitivity in the frozen lower limbs. For the next one we need to organize ourselves better. After three hours we are all over again. We see a kind of hotel from afar and we ask our kind guides to make a detour to take us to a masonry bathroom. We are satisfied and enter a fuchsia pink hall, with strange plants with phallic shapes. In a few moments the situation is quite clear to us: we pay for a room, we alternate in the acid green bathroom, but finally warm, and we run back to our drivers as soon as possible.