Florence music: meet the ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’ – I
Florence Music? Yes indeed! Florence is not only about Renaissance heritage and figurative arts.
If you get to Florence in spring – early summer, you definitely should give a try to the concerts and shows of the ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’ or, if you want, the ‘Florentine music May’.
Florence music… in May: a short history of the ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’
Like a lot of things in Florence, the modern ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’ has medieval roots.
Its origin springs from the ‘Calendimaggio’ tradition, the feast of the May kalend (the calendae were the first day of the month in the Roman calendar).
The tradition was well alive along the Renaissance period.
On MayDay the Florentine youngsters used to play music and sing songs to celebrate the spring advent.
Well, it wasn’t a time for boy-bands, so even great figures ventured in songwriting some Maggi (the songs were named in this way after the month of May, Maggio).
Lorenzo de Medici wrote the ‘Canzona di Bacco’ (Bacchus’ Song), an hymn to youth, joy and living the present.
This is the beginning:
Quant’è bella giovinezza / How beautiful is youth
che si fugge tuttavia! / Yet always fleeing!
Chi vuole esser lieto, sia, / Be happy if you want
di doman non c’è certezza. / There is no certainty about tomorrow.
The modern ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’
The first Maggio Musicale in modern days dates to 1933.
From the beginning, An extraordinary peculiarity of the Maggio is that it is not only about music, but about arts in a wider sense. Temporary exhibitions come along with the opera representations and concerts: great artists such Giorgio De Chirico and Mario Sironi are involved.
The prestige of the ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’ allowed it to have exceptional directors: among them Riccardo Muti (between 1969 and 1981: on of the best conductors in the world) and Zubin Metha (from 1985; onorary Director ad vitam since 2006).
Nowadays the ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’ is a great mix of concert, opera and ballet: the 2018 ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’ has just started: we’ll tell you more about the shows and venues in the next post!