For well over a month now the atmosphere in Lucca has been humming with Puccini. There are big placards all over the city proclaiming “Il Maestro torna a casa” (The Maestro returns home). This phrase caused great hilarity in the bar below my office over breakfast when the posters first appeared the reason being the connection with a classical Neapolitan song “Torna”, where the singer abandoned by a lover tells how the house is waiting for her return. The rather hapless implication was that the ghost of Puccini was returning.
Anyway despite this rather unfortunate lapsus all Lucchesi enthusiastically anticipated the re-opening of the museum, which is housed in the apartment where Puccini was born and spent his childhood. The grand opening was on 13th September and the Piazza was abuzz from early morning with banners being hung from the palazzo behind Puccini’s statue. This sadly created confusion amongst the tourists whom not surprisingly assumed it was the museum. In fact Puccini’s flat is in a small side piazza, Corte San Lorenzo, 45 degrees behind the statue. Huge red, white and green flower arrangements were placed in front of a stage, where chairs and music stands were ready for the musicians and seats where put in rows for the local dignitaries. The final sounds checks were done and all the bars and restaurants used the same white linen tablecloths. The piazza waited in a hush for the celebrations to roll.
I felt a little disappointed that this great and important event wasn’t celebrated by a soprano or tenor singing Puccini’s best-loved arias but a brass band. Now to be fair the band played very well but the very few bits of Puccini were very unimaginatively arranged. Despite this it was a great occasion.
A local restaurant named “Puccini” however redressed the balance and put on a wonderful evening of theatre telling the love story between Il Maestro and his wife Elvira through words and his arias. During the performance we could see that “Il maestro” had indeed returned home as he was seen at the window. I very much look forward to using my invitation to visit the museum when all the fuss has died down.
Puccini Museum – Corte San Lorenzo, Lucca
From April to October: 10am - 6pm
From November to March: 11am - 5pm
Closed on Tuesdays and December 25
Full price 7.00 Euros, Concessions 5 Euros
If you are interested in Puccini you might also like to read:
Follow the Puccini Trail from Lucca to Abetone. http://unprosecchino.blogspot.com/2011/02/follow-puccini-trail-from-lucca-to.html