PHOTOS: IFFV Spring Gala

The International Friends of Festival Verdi announced their plans for their 22nd season at dinner in a private club and limited to just 180 guests on April 28th.  The evening was curated by chef Massimo Bottura and his team from Osteria Francescana, the three-Michelin-star restaurant based in Modena, known as the hardest reservation to get in the world! 

The Mayor of Parma, Federico Pizzarotti, The Scientific Director of Teatro Regio, Francesco Izzo, and Teatro Regio di Parma’s General Director, Anna Maria Meo, and the president of the International Friends of Festival Verdi, James E. Miller and executive director Silvia Frieser, announced the program for the coming season (September 22 through October 16th) and the beauty of, “seeing Verdi in the land of Verdi, to live where he lived, performed in theaters where he worked, with the sound as he knew it, having the food and wine he knew grown in his own terroir.”  This is the unique proposition of Festival Verdi.  In 2022 the performances include three staged operas La Forza del DestinoIl Trovatore, and Simon Boccanegra each based on a contemporary Spanish play that Verdi admired.  These seminal works were brought to his attention through the talented actress Margherita Barezzi, his then mistress and later his second wife, who spoke fluent Spanish.  This is a unique chance to consider these works side by side.

The menu was presented in an emotional speech by Massimo Bottura who took great pains to explain the dishes, their preparation, and what they represented to him – an edible autobiography.  The spectacular hors d’oeuvre and five course meal, made with ingredients of the region and paired with its wines, provided topics of conversation making the room instantly one.  Courses included “Beautiful, Psychedelic Spin Painted Veal”, which was a tribute to Damien Hirst and a deconstructed “Crunchy Part of the Lasagna,” a tribute to the chef’s mother.

The evening also offered superb music by soprano Eleonora Buratto performing Verdi’s tragic aria, Morrò, ma prima in grazia from Un Ballo in Maschera followed by Un bel di from Madam Butterfly —the role she is currently performing at The Met.  It brought tears to many eyes.

The evening’s guest of honor was conductor Ricardo Frizza who has been thrilling audiences with The Met’s Lucia di Lammermoor.  Other guests included Bill Buford and Jessica Green, Francois Payard, Ruth Reichl, Barbara Tober, and Laurent Tourondel.

For more information on Festival Verdi see: https://www.teatroregioparma.it/en/festival-verdi-2022/

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