Neither the threat of crippling general strikes, nor the seemingly endless political scandals or the occasional capsizing of cruise ships can sink the enduring glory of the music of Giuseppe Verdi.
On Sunday, June twenty third, Musicemotion: Symphony In Cinema presented the first of two orchestral performances at the iconic Music Box Theatre on Chicago’s Northside. Sunday’s performance marked the bicentenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi. The two hour plus long program offered up some of Verdi’s most famous work, including: the Overture from Nabucco- his first major success as well as the Introduction and Airs de Ballet from Jerusalem. Two more selections included the Overture from his less known Giovana D’Arco and finally, the monumental Overture from the Sicilian Vespers as well as Seasons from the Sicilian Vespers.
The venue for this concert was the newly refurbished Music Box Screening Room. The small, intimate space was perfect for watching and listening to some of the most wonderful music ever composed. In this instance, Musicemotion: Symphony In Cinema broadcast from Milan, Italy’s storied La Scala opera house in high definition. The film footage captured by video director Pietro Tagliaferri was broadcast only to cinemas with 2k resolution thereby assuring state of the art sound and video resolution.
La Filarmonica Della Scala al Cinema premiered in Italy in January and was offered to 1400 cinemas in forty countries around the world. The beauty of this performance was that the audience was able to not only see and hear impeccable quality, but the filmmakers went behind the scenes to interview various musicians, including the very capable and passionate conductor, Riccardo Chailly. In addition, for those of us who have not visited La Scala, Musicemotion: Symphony In Cinema provided some glorious shots of La Scala Theatre, as well as a glimpse backstage in the Acoustic Room, where musicians meet to warm up or change instruments during intermission breaks.
As for the guest of honor, Giuseppe Verdi is revered as a titan in the pantheon of musical gods; born Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi in the village of Le Roncole, in what was at that time the Duchy of Parma, Verdi manifested a talent for music at a very young age. By his twentieth birthday, he was living in Milan and pursuing studies as a theater composer. Following a series of personal and professional setbacks, he finally achieved success with his opera, Nabucco. Today, Giuseppe Verdi is looked upon as the soul of the Italian people. A Romantic composer whose themes stir nationalist pride in a people struggling to define a clear identity. When Verdi died in January, 1901, the streets of Milan were blanketed with a layer of straw to muffle the sounds of cantering horses hooves striking the pavement, as a sign of respect for the Maestro.
Regarding the Music Box Theatre, for thirty years the MBT has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films, as well as festivals. It currently boasts the largest cinema space operating full time in the city. Anyone with an interest in serious cinema, or film classics can surely find something of interest at the Music Box Theatre.
Photos By: Silverman Group, Inc.
Following is location and contact information for the Music Box:
3733 N. Southport