In his rendition of the Italian national anthem, internationally acclaimed Maestro Renato Serio did not include singers. However, last Friday, as the first few notes of his “Inno di Mameli” for piano and orchestra filled Boston’s Symphony Hall, he had a couple of thousand of them, standing on their feet, humming the lyrics, then by the end just singing them out loud.
That is how ‘Notte Tricolore’, a two-hour concert by The Orchestra of United Europe in honor of the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, started – and also how it ended. In between, the largely Italian musical ensmble delighted an almost full to capacity Symphony Hall with a fantasy of Italian music with excerpts from Il Gattopardo’s original score by Oscar winner Nino Rota, Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘La Forza del Destino’, and Luis Bacalov’s rendition of Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, impeccably interpreted by solo pianist Rossana Tomassi Golkar and directed in a visually compelling way by Maestro Tiziano Severini.
“This is the result of many months of work, which in the last two or three became particularly intense,” said Lino Rullo, president emeritus of the Dante Alighieri Society and main organizer behind the success of Notte Tricolore. At the VIP reception, packed with the most notable names of Boston’s Italian American community, Rullo recalled being contacted by the orchestra’s artistic director last summer and immediately believing in the possibility of putting such an event together. “To see all this unfold makes me a little emotional, because it means hard work does pay off in the end,” he added.
As the event’s organization picked up momentum, many more jumped on board, including important institutions such as the Italian Council of Ministries and the Boston Consulate General, as well as local Italian associations and clubs. Presenting the evening was radio personality Ron Della Chiesa, alongside Italian Consul General Giuseppe Pastorelli.
Overall, it was a successful combined effort by Italian and Italian American entities, which worked together for the same cause with one voice. As a result, one the world’s top venues for classical music was filled up, almost to capacity, for an event which featured the absolute best – both in terms of art and of people – that the country of Italy has been able to produce and export around the world.
It was indeed a night to remember, and, I dare add, the most appropriate birthday present possible.