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Musical Adventures in Florence

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As an aspiring opera singer, I’ve taken an active interest in seeing live music, particularly classical music, in and around the city of Florence whenever I’m able. Not surprisingly, this quest has proven easy when you consider that Florence is the birthplace of opera, and therefore, home to many spectacular music festivals, concerts and performances both professional and nonprofessional.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a show at St. Mark’s English Church located on via Maggio, near Piazza Santo Spirito – for those of you who don’t know, it’s on the south side of the Arno river. Needless to say I, along with the audience, were delighted by an intimate concert delivered by soprano Mamia Mito, flutist Asako Naito and pianist Paolo Carnevali as they displayed some of their finest renditions of well known classical pieces. For me, these opportunities are inspired and encouraging when aspiring artists such as these are given a chance to perform for a public audience and display their talents for those who vest an interest. Best perk? These concerts are typically free!

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On a larger scale, there are the endless amounts of yearly musical festivals including the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Taking place on an annual basis, this festival was the first of its kind in Italy, founded in 1933, and focuses on showcasing operas that are not as well known to the general public. This year, I had the pleasure of watching Offenbach’s Orfeo All’inferno. Set under the Tuscan moonlight in Palazzo Pitti the experience was like no other. With a stage set backed with scaffolding transformed into choral space, and powerful soloists each standing out in their own right – voices soared into the night while the audience remained riveted. If you missed it this time around, ensure that you schedule it sometime in the near future. It’s just one of those quintessential Florentine experiences that every person should have.

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Finally, there are the more standard festivals within the city, typically in celebration of a patron saint. This past week, I joined the festivities for Festa di San Lorenzo. Set in front of the San Lorenzo church, a free concert performed by the Filarmonica di Firenze took place as they dazzled us with both classical and contemporary pieces for both tourists and Fiorentines alike. It’s just another one of those small perks about being in Florence that make this city all the more worthwhile in discovering time and time again.

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If you’re ever interested in learning more about the musical happenings in Florence, make sure to check out their local newspapers – a variety both available in both English and Italian or be in touch with a tourist agency such as Florencetown where first hand, you can learn more about current events in the city. With a history as rich as this, there is never any shortage of cultural happenings in and around the city. Sono bravissimi!

By: Tiffany Tobias

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