“Penang is the cultural capital of Malaysia…” these words were proudly spoken by the honorable Chief Minister of the State of Penang, Lim Guan Eng on stage of Dewan Sri Pinang, prior to the spectacular performances of Italy’s legendary string ensemble, I Musici Di Roma, that graced the opening night of George Town Festival 2013. I cannot agree more. Although I have only been working as a Medical Lecturer in Penang for 3 years and have only set foot to a few states of Malaysia, I and my family have witnessed how diversities in cultures, arts, music and tradition, not to forget, food have been constantly celebrated and promoted in this island.
The people of Penang are fortunate to have their own uniquely beautiful heritage and even more blessed to being exposed to the best of the world. Hats off to the efforts exerted by the men and women behind George Town Festival 2013, particularly Joe Sidek who has been religious in bringing culture and the arts accessible to Penangites and to the rest of the people of Penang, including us, expatriates and foreign workers.
07 June 2013, Friday, George Town, Penang. The annual and month-long celebration of the inscription of George Town, Penang as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites officially kicked off with a grand opening night! Before the incredibly memorable musical concert of I Musici, there was the launch of Secret Gardens of Earthly Delights that features the larger than life, bamboo sculture of Indonesian artist, Joko Avianto called, Theatre of Ships (that this blog will feature on succeeding posts) and Fireflies at River Lalang, held at the Town Hall.
Before 8:30PM, everyone was led to Diwan Sri Pinang for the much anticipated musical concert of one of the world’s greatest performers, I Musici. The renowed musicians from Italy were honored with Brand Laureate Award by YAB CM of Penang and a precious memento of a literally framed gold CD was presented to TYT Governor of Penang. Those moments made the prelude to the concert lovelier.
I consider myself lucky to be part of the audience as one of the media men to cover the event, even more privileged to be escorted to a quick photo opportunity with THE I MUSICI backstage few minutes before they went on stage.
Here are the photos I took as the Italian genius musician, Antonio Anselmi was being interviewed by a Penangite journalist….
I MUSICI has been existing since their successful public debut in 1952 when they started the group’s astonishing career at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Roma. They have toured the world at most famous international festivals and played intense concert activities in prestigious theaters and concert halls such as the Spring Festival in Budapest, the Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre in New York, the Symphony Hall, the Philharomonie in Berlin and many more. The 12-men-cast includes :
- Antonio Anselmi, violin
- Pasquale Pellegrino, violin
- Gianluca Apostoli, violin
- Francesa Vicari, violin
- Marco Serino, violin
- Ettore Pellegrino, violin
- Silvio Di Rocco, viola
- Francesco Buccarella, hapsichord and piano
- Roberto Gambioli, bass
- Vito Paternoster, cello
- Massimo Paris, viola
- Pietro Bosna, cello
Their stunning performance in Diwan Sri Pinang for GTF2013 included Italian classical pieces :
- Giocchino Rossini’s Ouverture from the Barber from Seville (transcription for strings by V. Gambaro)
- Niccolo Paganini’s Variations on the IV string on a theme from Mose in Egypt by G. Rossini
- Guiseppe Verdi’s Traviata – Preludio Atto
- Gioacchino Rossini’s Une Larme for cello and strings
- Pietro Mascagni’s Intermezzo da Cavalleria Rusticana
- Giuseppe Verdi’s Sinfonia from II Nabucco AND
- Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons performed passionately by Antonio Anselmi with I Musici
My most favorite part of the show was Antonio Anselmi’s passionate performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s classic, The Four Seasons. It was beyond auditory feast!
I am in awe with talents and abilities to make extraordinary things look easy. I Musici performed beyond my greatest expectations. They redefined culture to me and reintroduced my pair of vestibulocochlear nerves to the classical Italian music appreciation. Their elegant, dynamic, whimsical, powerful and dramatic musical performance on stage of Diwan Sri Pinang was a fitting welcome to usher everyone to this year’s George Town Festival. Bravo, I Musici! Bravo, GTF2013!
For schedules of events in this month-long celebration of GTF2013 : www.georgetownfestival.com
Know more of I Musici Di Roma on their website : imusicidiroma.com
*Photos on this blog post were taken before and after the performance of I Musici
*This is NOT a sponsored or commissioned post. Special thanks to Ms. Wanida of GTF2013. Stay tuned for features about GTF2013 on this blog!
Previous GTF on this blog includes :