For many Jewish people all over the world, in Italy and America and in many other countries, the Primo Levi poem "Passover" has been again an important part of their Passover seder. Levi is of course the novelist and essayist who wrote, among many masterpieces, Survival In Auschwitz, If This Is A Man and The Truce, and who passed away 20 years ago (April 11, 1987) in Turin.
Next Thursday, at Turin's Auditorium RAI (the public broadcasting company), RAI's Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale conducted by maestro Gianandrea Noseda, will perform the world premiere of the opera "Passio", with score written by composer Luis de Pablo, using Levi's own writings as libretto, to commemorate the event.
The concert's program includes Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw, and Beethoven's Concerto For Violin and Orchestra, performed by Leonidas Kavakos.
There will be a live broadcast on national radio...on our trusty Radio Tre. But it would be much nicer if the Italian public television -- three pretty terrible channels, for which Italians who own a TV have to pay a tax of more than 100 euros a year -- could find a little, tiny spot to shoe-horn a live TV broadcast of the event into their schedule.
Unsurprisingly, they decided not to: after all, we are only talking about Italy's most prominent writer of the postwar era (together with the late, great Italo Calvino) and the author of key writings on the Shoah: it's not as if RAI can actually dislodge a reality TV show from their airwaves for an hour, see, just to broadcast such a minor event. American Idol-style extravaganzas and other such staples of Italian TV diet cannot be interrupted, not even for Levi.
But then, those of us whose hearts have been touched by Levi's work and life, can read a new collection of short stories. Opera Chic, in joining the mourners for Ingegner Levi's still-painful-after-all-these-years death, will simply link an extraordinary little essay of his, Weightless, made even more poignant by the circumstances of Levi's death.