“In that enormous mosquito-ridden plain of the Po river valley, between Parma and Mantova, where the genius of Giuseppe Verdi was destined to be born and Parma would become the stronghold of music” Bruno Barilli – In the Land of Opera –
Legend: = travel time from Parma = length of tour
PARMA, FROM MUSIC TO THEATER
Cultural tour of the history of theater in Parma: from the Farnese Theater to the Royal Opera House and other less-renowned buildings that have disappeared over the centuries but which were crucial to the history of this city’s theatrical heritage (the Ducal Theater and the Reinach Theater), as well as the Verdi Monument, plus anecdotes and curiosities about the people who made Parma famous for music and theater.
PARMA, VERDI, AND TOSCANINI
An excursion into the Parma–Verdi relationship: visit the Casa della Musica, home to both the Opera Museum and the “27 Club”, whose every member goes by the name of one of the Maestro’s operas. The tour continues on to the Verdi Monument and then to the Arturo Toscanini Museum, dedicated to the world-famous orchestra director and most important interpreter of Verdi’s oeuvre.
HISTORY OF THE PERFORMING ARTS TOUR
Music and theater have always been important to the cultural identity of Parma: this tour will take us on a historical trip through the evolution of theater and concert performances and their most important locations in the city. We will visit the medieval piazza where concerts are held, the church of San Ludovico where 19th-century chamber concerts were popular, the “gaming” palace which once contained the Ducal Theater and where members of the nobility went to see and be seen, the Farnese Theater where the Duke’s celebrations were held, the Royal Opera House and its historical “Ridotto” ballroom, and finally the Piazzale della Pace, a space which once held the multipurpose Reinach Theater and the monument to Giuseppe Verdi, where concerts and commemorative events are held.
3 hours approx.
CASA DELLA MUSICA AND THE HOUSE OF SOUND
This tour visits the Opera Museum at the Casa della Musica, which puts four centuries of opera on display through the people and works that left their marks on its history. We then visit the House of Sound, located in the inspiring space of the deconsecrated church of St. Elizabeth (mid 17th century), which has a collection dedicated to the history and evolution of “sound machines”, from the phonograph to the gramophone, from the radio to CDs and the iPod.
ON THE TRAIL OF MAESTRO VERDI
COMPLETE TOUR (full day)
This tours follows the chronological history of Giuseppe Verdi, beginning at the birth house of the Maestro in Roncole Verdi and at the Church of St. Michael to see the organ he first learned to play on. We continue with a visit of the town of Busseto, of the Antonio Barezzi Museum dedicated to the beloved father-in-law and mentor of Verdi, and the Verdi Theater.
Our final stop is at the Villa Verdi in Sant’Agata, where Giuseppe Verdi lived with his life companion Giuseppina Strepponi during the most productive years of his career.
5 hours | 1/2 hour
SHORT TOUR (half day)
This shorter tour focuses on the key places that influenced the life of Maestro Verdi: his birth house, in which young Verdi would get his first taste for music and musical composition under the encouragement of his father Carlo, and Villa Verdi, a place of inspiration and collaboration with artists like Arrigo Boito, Giulio Ricordi, and Teresa Stolz.
3 hours | 1/2 hour
SPECIAL PROJECT FOR MIDDLE SCHOOLS AND HIGH SCHOOLS
VERDI HOMO ITALICUS – THE POLITICAL INFLUENCE OF VERDI
In 1842, Verdi officially entered the upper ranks of Italian composers with the debut of his Nabucco. The music and the themes it addressed (the dreams of the Jews to gain freedom from Babylonian tyrants) helped create the myth of an artist “speaking” for the future Italian nation. Verdi, who was tied to Mazzini and inspired by Manzoni, is a classic example of the homo italicus, and also a key figure in the politics of the newly-established Italy (in 1861 he was elected as a representative to the first Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy).
This historical-political investigation into the figure of Giuseppe Verdi can be combined with the tours “Parma, Verdi, and Toscanini” and “On the Trail of Maestro Verdi”.