The heart and soul of Milan
In homage to the Mayor of Milano, Giuliano Pisapia, who very kindly welcomed me into his venerable meeting rooms at City Hall on Tuesday, I’m treating you to a taste of Verdi’s La Traviata as performed in La Scala opera house in 2007. The magnificent La Scala is rightfully viewed as “the heart and soul of Milan”.
After much negotiating, I was allowed into see the theatre before the curtain went up on Tuesday evening. Mayor Pisapia is rightfully acknowledged as a leading international jurist — he was on the defence team of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan and acted for the family of Carlo Giuliani shot by the police during the 27th G8 summit in Italy.
He has a strong interest in the Irish peace process and also visited Israel-Palestine to support peace initiatives there.
Having wrested the mayorship of Milan from the party of Silvio Berlusconi in 2011, he has risen to many challenges as First Citizen of a city of 1.5 million souls. I have no doubt his belief in community, compassion and investment as the foundations for his city’s progress will serve Milan well.
His gift for me was a CD box of Verdi operas performed live in La Scala. I can’t share the entire gift with you, but here’s a taster.