The Christian Science Monitor

Opera in the living room: an old tradition sees restoration in Italy

Guests gather in a private home to listen to opera students singing Verdi's works in Parma, Italy, in October 2017, as part of an effort by the annual Festival Verdi to bring opera to the people. In doing so they also recreated an ancient way of enjoying music. Source: Sara Miller LLana/The Christian Science Monitor

A young tenor’s voice, in his rendition of “La donna e mobile,” fills the palatial living room with one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous canzones from “Rigoletto.”

It’s a late Thursday afternoon and the sun is setting, as guests seated around the piano begin to clap. The hostess is suddenly in the center of the circle for a short waltz.

For a moment, it feels as though we are transported back to the 19th century, when Verdi, among the world’s most famous composers, created 27 operas, some of them the most-loved in

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