For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House – NPR

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For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House – NPR

For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House - NPR

The outside of Casa Verdi, based by famed Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi within the late 1890s.

Diego Rinaldi/Courtesy of Casa di riposo per musicisti, Fondazione Giuseppe Verdi


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Diego Rinaldi/Courtesy of Casa di riposo per musicisti, Fondazione Giuseppe Verdi

The outside of Casa Verdi, based by famed Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi within the late 1890s.

Diego Rinaldi/Courtesy of Casa di riposo per musicisti, Fondazione Giuseppe Verdi

Opera star Renée Fleming drew concern final 12 months after a New York Occasions profile advised the acclaimed soprano can be retiring. Fortunately for followers, it turned out to be a false alarm. But when Fleming does ever begin to ponder retirement, she may contemplate a transfer to Milan — the place she’d doubtless be welcomed with open arms at Casa Verdi, a retirement residence for opera singers and musicians based by the famed Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi greater than 100 years in the past.

Soprano Lina Vasta spent her profession performing in Italian operas all over the world. Twenty years in the past, she settled at Casa Verdi. The tiny singer, who makes use of a cane to get round, will not reveal her age (via a translator she admits to being “over 65”), however she nonetheless enjoys singing bits of The Barber of Seville across the residence.

Vasta got here to Casa Verdi along with her husband after they each retired from singing. Since he died that is all she has. However with “an exquisite home, a piano, a really good backyard, nothing is lacking right here — it is good. Grazie, Verdi,” she says.

Verdi based the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, merely generally known as Casa Verdi, within the late 19th century. He is buried right here, together with Giuseppina Strepponi, his second spouse, says Biancamaria Longoni, the assistant director of Casa Verdi.

“In Italy, Verdi is not thought of solely a composer, solely a musician, however type of a nationwide hero,” she says. “He used his operas to provide voice to individuals — to humble individuals, to modest individuals, to poor individuals.”

Lots of Verdi’s personal former colleagues discovered themselves residing in poverty towards the tip of their lives. At the moment, there have been no pensions for musicians in Italy.

“Verdi completely knew this example,” Longoni says. “And when he was about 82 he wished to make use of his patrimony to make a relaxation residence for his colleagues and the much less favored by fortune.”

One of many communal areas at Casa Verdi.

Diego Rinaldi /Courtesy of Casa di riposo per musicisti, Fondazione Giuseppe Verdi


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Diego Rinaldi /Courtesy of Casa di riposo per musicisti, Fondazione Giuseppe Verdi

Utilizing his personal fortune, Verdi constructed the retirement residence for opera singers and musicians, a neo-Gothic construction that opened in 1899. The composer died lower than two years later, however he made certain the earnings from his music copyrights saved the house working till the early 1960s, after they expired. Right now company pay a portion of their month-to-month pension to cowl primary prices – meals and lodging — whereas the remaining comes from donations.

The 93-year-old Bissy Roman has been residing at Casa Verdi for almost three years. She has no household, however she has Casa Verdi. “I am very grateful as a result of if not, I might be lonely and really upset, she says. “Right here, I can’t be upset as a result of there are plenty of individuals round — we’re speaking, we’ve music, we’ve company.”

Friends of all ages, it seems: Casa Verdi has an additional 20 rooms put aside for conservatory college students aged 18 to 24. Roman offers voice classes to a younger lady from China, one of many six college students she sees on a weekly foundation.

Armando Ariostini, a baritone in his early 60s, involves Casa Verdi each Wednesday to go to the company, a few of whom are his former colleagues. And whereas Ariostini himself continues to be a number of years away from retirement, he says he is aware of precisely the place he’ll be hanging up his hat as soon as he leaves the opera stage for good.

Tom Huizenga contributed to the digital model of this story.

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For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House - NPR
For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House - NPR
For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House - NPR
For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House - NPR
For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House - NPR

For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House - NPR

For Opera Singers, Life After Retirement — At Least At One Very Particular Relaxation House - NPR

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