December 12 marked the 40th anniversary of the bombing in Piazza Fontana and Milan's Teatro dal Verme hosted a concert in commemoration, bearing witness through poetry and music in a tasteful, resonant event. The "Concerto per ricordare: Piazza Fontna 1969 - 2009" brought together Teatro alla Scala's Coro di Voci Bianche, Italian actress Maddalena Crippa, Italian Maestrino Alessandro Cadario, and I Cameristi della Scala (a small group of musicians who also play in the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala and in the Filarmonica della Scala). Works played were Vaughan Williams's Magnificat, Haydn's Seven Last Words, and Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus -- nicely no predictable Requiem Mass.
On December 12, 1969 in the late afternoon, a bomb exploded at the headquarteres of Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura in Milan's Piazza Fontana, killing 17 and leaving 88 wounded. It began a period of terrible political unrest in Italy -- a wave of terrorist attacks that lasted well into the 1980s.
Stage Actress Maddalena Crippa read from the theater work, "Sboom!", written in remembrance of Piazza Fontana, and told the story of the December 12 massacre in detail while a list of hte 17 dead was read. Then a multimedia presentation, news footage of the bombing that was originally broadcast on RAI, with images of the aftermath.
Then Cadario in full frac, with his shaggy Abercrombie and Fitch model mane (we've blogged about his grooming habits before and for the record, we fully endorse the coiff the Italian conductor was rawking last week), led the children's chorus of la Scala in a slow and pensive reading of Mozart's short work, Ave verum Corpus. The Voci Bianche were awesome, but they need a serious wardrobe upgrade (red, unisex bowties on preteens? c'mon...).
Haydn's Seven last words was accompanied by la Crippa again, reading Milanese writer Lorenzo Arruga's Cronache di sette silenzi from 1998 between each movement. Cadario overall picked a dignified, introspective, solemn reading. Personally, we like our Haydn a bit less earthbound. Cadario used economical gestures which marked a deep and weighty interpretation. Gorgeous oboe solos in the 3rd movement allowed the work to soar. Standout movements were the second, with a nice lyricism and the sixth -- delicate pizzicato great control, and a bit of clarity.
Although the dirge-like Haydn sparkled only a few times, the breathtaking Vaughan Williams was stunning. The Coro di Voci Bianche del Teatro alla Scala came back on stage in full force. The chorus was warm and full, and pulled off a haunting and evocative piece. Cadario, working with a smaller gathering than usual for Williams' work, managed to evoke a big sound, the result a sumptuous, ethereal finale.
Bis? Of course! A sweet & sweeping christmas carol from Home Alone (Mamma, ho perso l'aereo), replete with sleigh bells, a nice way to end the evening without dwelling on too much historical trauma. Bruno Casoni took a well-deserved curtain call for the man with the golden vocal arm.
Click the link below for a few more photos from the evening...