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Farinelli in Bologna


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THE CENTRO STUDI FARINELLI BORN IN BOLOGNA Musica a Bologna, Musicisti a Bologna

Inaugurazione Centro Studi FarinelliThe Centro Studi Farinelli was inaugurated on 21 March 1998 at the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna with a study meeting devoted to "Farinelli and the musical culture of 18th century" and a concert of "Farinelli's Arie" by sopranist Angelo Manzotti accompanied by harpsichordist Maria Pia Jacoboni.
The fame of Carlo Broschi named Farinelli, the famous 18th century castrato singer , is indissolubly linked to the town of Bologna. He was awarded the honorary title of Philarmonic Academician in 1730 and the Bolognese honorary citizenship in 1732; in the same year he purchased an estate out of Porta Lame, where he had a magnificent villa built. He lived there from 1761 to 1782, the year of his death. In his villa, Farinelli gathered an extraordinary collection of works of art and a music library with thousands of volumes, which could be compared to Father Martini's one as to value. After Farinelli's death, the immense treasures held in the villa were sold and now they are exhibited in the most famous world museums. Unfortunately, the musical library went completely lost. The magnificent villa, which became the established seat of a sugar-house at the beginning of the 20th century, was unexpectedly pulled down after the second world war despite the existence of a bond from the Soprintendenza dei Beni Architettonici: these are some of the reasons why the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, together with the Associazione Clavicembalistica Bolognese and the Real Collegio di Spagna promoted the establishment of the Centro Studi Farinelli in Bologna. Among the projects of the Centro, together with the organization of concerts and of study meetings and the promotion of publications, there stand out the restoration of Farinelli's grave at the Certosa of Bologna, which today is in a seriously degraded state , the setting up of an exhibition of documents about "Farinelli in Bologna" with prints, drawings, photos, music manuscripts and autograph letters, a "Farinelli" singing competition devoted to sopranists, contraltists and countertenors.
Musicologist Roberto Pagano, who chaired the study session, Lorenzo Bianconi from Bologna University ("Farinelli's ghost"), musicologist Carlo Vitali ("Bolognese citizen Farinelli"), Francesca Boris from the Archivio di Stato (Stat Archives) of Bologna ("The lost villa"), harpsichordist Maria Pia Jacoboni who presented the collection "Farinelli's Arie" she edited for Bongiovanni publishing house, Luigi Verdi of the Accademia Filarmonica, promoting the initiative of the Centro Studi (Farinelli's stele at the Certosa of Bologna), Marco Marchesini of the Associazione Scuola di Scultura Applicata of Bologna (School of Applied Sculpture) (The restoration of Farinelli's stele) and the Rector of the Reale Collegio di Spagna, José Guillermo Garcia Valdecasas. The participants in the  meeting, attended by a particularly interested audience, pointed out as the creation of one Centro Farinelli in Bologna is now grounded by the need to bring to light an immense historical heritage which is still little known and studied.
The afternoon concert at the Accademia Filarmonica, closing the event,  was attended by an overflowing audience and marked the success of Angelo Manzotti, one of today's greatest interpreters of Farinelli's repertoire.

Laura di Cera

Form  "Alla Ribalta", April 1998