May 1 Labor Day News & Free Concert

Famed soprano and mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli

On May 1, Labor Day, Italians commemorate the labor union movement and its social and economic achievements during a nationwide public holiday.  Beginning on this day, which currently falls during the Coronavirus health emergency, an ordinance signed by Tuscan governor Enrico Rossi will allow residents to exercise outdoors, take walks and bike rides within the limits of the town or city where they live (parks become accessible again starting May 4) all the while respecting heath protocols (masks and a minimum distance of 1 meter — 3.2 ft. — from another person with the exception of family members and the handicapped).  Those who live along the coast can now walk on the beach close to their homes.  Cars and public transport still can not be utilized unless for work reasons, health reasons or grocery shopping.  All supermarkets will be closed on May 1, although newsstands and literary havens such as Florence’s Anglo American bookshop Paperback Exchange on via delle Oche will be open to welcome customers, from 10 am to 3 pm.

The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra offers a live operatic performance to the people of Tuscany for this Friday, May 1 at 9 pm in streaming on the Maggio website, and the theatre’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts (@maggiomusicale).  On this date, cities and towns normally hold parades, concerts and other events. This year, however, some 20 of the world’s greatest vocalists will sing for all.  After having canceled the first concerts of the 2020 edition of the Maggio Musicale Festival, the foundation’s superintendent Alexander Pereira proudly announces, “We want to spread positivity and energy.”

Cecilia Bartoli, world renowned mezzo-soprano, known for her versatility and performances of Mozart and Rossini, heads  the list.  Sicilian-French tenor, Roberto Alagna, bass Michele Pertusi and tenor Vittorio Grigolo also join the bill.  Baritones Leo Nucci, known for singing Verdi, and American Thomas Hampson, add to the entertainment.  Other vocalists who have committed for now are Luca Salsi, Krassimira Stoyanova, Lisette Oropoesa Eva Mei, and Fabio Sartori, accompanied by piano.  All musicians will perform from their own homes and have volunteered for the concert without compensation.

The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is organizing further live concerts ongoing through the end of July, including evenings dedicated to Verdi, Mozart and Puccini.  (rita kungel)