Viva Villa Verdi

Viva Villa Verdi
by Roberto Mottadelli and Sandro Vannini

The Maestro has just gone out

One has the feeling that he has just gone out. Maybe in his work carriage. Because the Maestro gets up at dawn and every morning crosses the fields of SantʼAgata. Vineyards, grain, maize, as far as the eye can see, under his
hat the familiar caress of the padana fog, silent travelling companion. The Maestro stops the horses, checks the work of his peasants, gives advice and gathers information.

Only later does he dedicate himself to music, when he withdraws to his study and composes, revises, studies, solfeggios lulled in the Villaʼs breath. Constant and reassuring background noises emanate from the kitchen,
where the cook has already begun preparation of the required 13 courses for dinner. There are guests this evening. 

The Maestro is at his desk, sitting strategically by the window, and as usual his eye glides from the score to the internal courtyard. Basically music is just a job, a marvelous job. Whereas Villa SantʼAgata is life, the design of a
life began in this land to which it always remained strongly tied. That has warmed these rooms for half a century.

Verdi controls everything at SantʼAgata himself. There is no architect to interfere with his strong creative genius. If he is obliged to compare notes with librettists , scenographers and entrepreneurs, at Villa SantʼAgata he wants no intrusions and he states this clearly in his letters : “I detest all tyranny and especially domestic tyranny. Today the Great Gardeners, the Great Cooks, the Great Coachmen are the true tyrants of the home. No, no, there is only room for one tyrant in this house and that is me and I know how much it costs me.”

Enlightened tyranny and daily fatigue over a lifetime translates into a masterpiece : SantʼAgata is a symphony, music which springs from the harmony of a million details, all studied with maniacal attention. Notes which become phrases and movements.

La sensazione è che il Maestro sia appena uscito perché di sé non ama parlare. Che ci abbia lasciati soli sapendo che sarà Sant’Agata a cantare la sua vita. In ogni angolo si è condensata una storia, si è cristallizzata una sfumatura della sua personalità. È sufficiente guardare. E ascoltare, ovviamente. Quando ce ne saremo andati, forse il Maestro tornerà e si accenderà un sigaro, in attesa dei suoi ospiti. Clocks, paintings and lamps, roots, leaves and statues, channels, paths and lonely cottages. Rooms, trees, plots of land. Villa, park, boundless countryside.

One has the feeling that the Maestro has just left because he doesnʼt like speaking about himself. He has left us alone in the knowledge that SantʼAgata will sing his life. In every corner a story is condensed, a nuance of his personality has crystallized. Just observe. And obviously listen. When we have left, perhaps the Maestro will return and light a cigar while he awaits his guests.

To celebrate the Bicentenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, Laboratoriorosso has published Viva Villa Verdi, a limited edition volume (XXL format) completely dedicated to the Maestro’s Villa.

The photos are the protagonists: Sandro Vannini has shot every internal and garden detail distilling their essence. They tell us about the love of Verdi for Sant’Agata, they bear witness of the real presence of the Maestro who seems to be still there. Everything speaks about him, reflects his spirit and his personality as if he could get back home at any time.

Besides the images there is a text written by Roberto Mottadelli, an art historian, who recreates the history of the Villa, describing the most precious and important decors and, above all, exploring the relationship between such a private and intimate place and the public life of Giuseppe Verdi. His precious sources are the epistolary of Verdi and his wife Giuseppina Strepponi, the stories of their friends and the famous and ordinary guests that visited the Villa. But also the tales and the evidence that Angiolo Carrara Verdi, who lives in the Maestro’s Villa with his family, has gathered from his parents and his grandparents.

The volume is completed by an introduction by Prof. Corrado Mingardi, a refined historian of Verdiʼs lands, and a preface by Maestro Riccardo Muti, a great interpreter of Verdiʼs work and a lover of his genius. The famous orchestra conductor has been a guest in the Villa for several times, like many other protagonists of Italian music. Looking outside the windows, beyond the magnolias and the statues in the garden, he has discovered a symmetry between the lines of the staff and the rows of the ploughs on Sant’Agataʼs land: the contact point between the two souls of Giuseppe Verdi.

LIMITED EDITION – 450 copies, numbered and signed by the authors
COVER – Red silk cover
FORMAT – XXL format 50 x 35 cm,
INSIDE – 248 pages
PACKAGING – Hand-bound by Italian craftsmen
EDITIONS – Italian (Arab and English editions in preparation)
PRICE – € 1,650 (worldwide delivery included)        BUY

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