BRERAMILANO1930 has sought to bear witness to and celebrate the finer things of Milan for years, and among these, in a magical conjunction of passion, art, history, beauty and emotions, it has encountered the Archivio Storico Ricordi, the largest private musical archive in the world.
In recent years, in a passionate convergence of intentions aimed at underlining what has rendered and continues to render Italy inimitable, it has sought to renew its long-standing collaboration by giving particular emphasis to one of the themes most dear to great composers, librettists, writers and illustrators of all ages: the female universe.
Through the extraordinary collection of musical and iconographic documents preserved in the Ricordi historical archive we will pay homage to woman, as she appears in the librettos of famous poets and writers, and is immortalized by the music of the greatest Italian melodrama composers and enhanced by the shapes and colors of the costumes created for her by the most exclusive sartorial designers of the opera theater between the 19th and 20th centuries.
These same composers were first fascinated by the stories of these women and decided to set them to music, as happened with Giacomo Puccini who, struck by the performance of the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt in the role of Tosca, a theatrical drama by Victorien Sardou, desired to bring “his” own Tosca to life or, as with Giuseppe Verdi, who gave life to what would become one of the most famous and most represented women in all melodrama: Aida, the young Ethiopian slave in love with Radames.
It is a journey through the representation of feminine nature and being, according to models found only in the arts.
Already in the early 19th century opera was a fundamental part of everyday life and became increasingly popular thanks to the intense work of composers such as Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. The latter, especially, focused most of his masterpieces on the female figure, as the figure central to moments of intense drama, and also of great sweetness, who can forget his Mimì, Musetta, Manon, Tosca, Butterfly, Minnie, Sister Angelica, and Turandot?
This encounter has offered us an extraordinary opportunity to highlight these characters by selecting images of some of the most famous female figures, who made Italian melodrama famous around the world, from among the hundreds of precious iconographic panels at the Ricordi historical archive.
From the Egypt of Aida, who Verdi desired to have a great disposition, having her interpreted by one of the most famous singers of the age, Teresa Stolz, to the Orient of Iris, the fragile girl who sprang out of Pietro Mascagni’s pen. From the seductive Jewish princess Salomè, the lead character in the drama Il Battista by Giocondo Fino, to the strong and combative singer Floria Tosca, and the Spanish Conchita, with her knowing ability to juggle life and love, whose voice came from the composer Riccardo Zandonai, and to Turandot the cruel “ice princess” before meeting the love that would change her life.
There are so many different female figures who have remained in the collective memory of audiences who learned to appreciate them and who still recall their unforgettable arias today, these women are now able to accompany us even outside the world of the theater.
They are the faces of that female universe of the melodrama as seen by the costume designers, whose role is fundamental, and indeed are the ones who give the first “visual” image to the characters created by the composers. The heroines painted on their panels already express the feelings that characterize them, just think of the severe Turandot with her porcelain face wrapped in precious robes or the bewitching smile of Conchita with a red flower in her hair. Their clothes would then come to life on the stage enhancing the performance of the singers.
Now, for the first time everyone can admire these exclusive creations by the masters of theatrical costume design from the late 19th century to the 1920s: from Adolf Hohenstein for Tosca and Iris to Attilio Comelli for Aida, from Giuseppe Palanti for Conchita, to Caramba for Salomè, and to Umberto Brunelleschi for Turandot.
Stories from the Italian past are still wonderfully and incredibly current: Linda, Violetta, Gilda, Giulietta, Iris, Manon, Desdemona, are just some of the figures who made up the history of melodrama and who have awed and amazed generations of fans and who have filled an entire universe.
BRERAMILANO1930, together with all our admirers, would like to contribute to the emotion of a dream upheld every year by more than 500,000 performances, 1,500 companies, 500 festivals and 100,000 artists around the world, accompanied by extraordinary music and by the passion for singing and creative discipline.
THE PANETTONE THAT PRESENTS THE BEST MOMENTS OF THE ITALIAN MUSICAL CULTURE
An exclusive collectable booklet from the Archive, that is different for each flavor, will accompany each product of the “Breramilano1930″ Ricordi Line Commemorating Heroines of the Opera” as a free gift.