Gramilano happens to be a neighbour of Armando Ariostini, the baritone who works tirelessly for Casa Verdi, the retirement home for musicians, here in Milan.
The coronavirus has kept us all in our homes, and Armando away from his beloved Casa Verdi, which is only a stone’s throw away, but at this time it could just as well be in Sicily.
To keep spirits up, Italians have been doing what they naturally do: sing! At midday and 6 p.m. people are opening their windows and singing the national anthem, the song Volare, Va, pensiero from Verdi’s Nabucco, and other songs and arias from Italy’s Greatest Hits.
For the last week, at 6 o’clock, Armando has been coming out onto his balcony and singing a mini-concert for all us closed in our homes, finishing with Mameli’s anthem, Fratelli d’Italia.
In a career that has taken him to all the major stages in Italy, during this strange time he finds himself singing next to Milano’s piazza Napoli rather than at Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, but his necessarily small audience couldn’t be more appreciative.