at the end of a long, exciting but tiring summer, it’s time to take stock and I’m going to give you an update here. Many of you follow me on the social networks, but here on my website I have a more select following, and so it is here that I want to bring you up to date. I started off singing at the beginning of July at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in a Requiem which I appreciated very much, conducted by Daniele Gatti. The Verdi Requiem has a special place in my repertoire and in my heart, because it is one of the profound musical works that I have been engaging with for years on a personal level too. This was also the case in Valencia. I found answers which only Verdi’s genius can provide, time after time, to those who sing and to those who listen. The Requiem was conducted magnificently by Maestro Gatti, and this is one of the reasons why I can’t wait to sing in Giovanna d’Arco next October at the Rome Opera, again under his baton.
After Verdi, came Verdi again. One can never have enough of his music. I gave two extremely interesting performances of La Traviata at the Arena di Verona and sang in Aix-en-Provence in I due Foscari, under conductor Daniele Rustioni.
Between July and August I again took on the role of Cavaradossi in Tosca set in the Courtyard at Palazzo Farnese in Piacenza. Here, as in Verona at the Arena, a visual art project allowed the stage directors to cut stage action to a minimum, fully exploiting the atmosphere and citations provided by the projections, all closely linked to the action on stage. Theatre has suffered huge losses because of the health restrictions, but theatre people have come up with beautiful work. Far from being a compromise, these were winning ideas.
I have done other things which captured my heart, such as taking part in the commemoration of Enrico Caruso’s death at the Hotel Vesuvio in Naples, as a guest of Luciano Pituello, the most incredible connoisseur of the tenor and his recordings. I also returned to Mola di Bari to give my third consecutive masterclass at Palazzo Pesce, where the surroundings and the young aspiring singers have become familiar. I then sang a tribute to Carlo Bergonzi, outside the Church of San Cristoforo a Vidalenzo di Polesine, his birthplace, as a guest of the great tenor’s children. I was absolutely thrilled, since Bergonzi has always been a bright guiding light for me.
On 5th September, Serena and I received the Aisico award at the Festival della Piana del Cavaliere at the Teatro Mancinelli in Orvieto. As always when one receives an award, it was a great honour. As a couple, both in private and in art, it was a double joy to receive this appreciation and reward together.
Finally, I allowed myself a dip into the glamour and creativity of the Venice Film Festival. I spent a few wonderful hours as a guest of Cartier alongside Eleonora Buratto, both of us “Friends of Cartier”. I was swept away by the overwhelming euphoria at the Festival and met many charismatic artists and other people. Above all, I had the chance to applaud “The last duel”, the out of competition film by Sir Ridley Scott, and I was delighted by the “Cartier Glory to the Filmmaker Award” which Cartier awarded to the eminent English film director.
And now here I am at the Teatro del Maggio in Florence, waiting to step again into the role of Alfredo. The première is today, 17th September. I’ll tell you some more, and you will be hearing a lot about it … stage direction by Davide Livermore, conductor Zubin Mehta.