A few days ago, international newspapers reported that Milan is going through a new Renaissance, an unexpected metamorphosis of a city “striving for a new identity.” But the first Renaissance, the real “golden age” of this city was the Quattrocento, the century that made Milan famous in Europe under the rule of the Visconti and then the Sforza family. A tribute to this era is offered in an urban multimedia opera at Palazzo Reale.
From 21 May to 21 June 2015, the facade of Palazzo Reale becomes a screen on which to project L’Età d’oro di Milano, fifteen minutes of lights and colors, music and projections to narrate – in free, poetic form – the splendor of the 1400s in Milan.
The initiative has been organized by the City of Milan, Department of Culture, Palazzo Reale and AGON, with INTERNI as a media partner, and the contribution of Snam.
It is part of Expo in città, the series of happenings that will accompany the cultural life of the city during the six months of EXPO 2015.
The opening night includes live performers, music and projections. On the other events, from 21.30 to 24.00, the opera will be shown as an installation with non-stop screenings on the facade of Palazzo Reale.
The project created by CastagnaRavelli and Agon, with production by the latter, does not set out to be educational – the aim is to offer an evocative experience.
The work covers four themes regarding the city of the Quattrocento and are still part of the DNA of Milan: Refinement, elegance and culture in the life of the court (arts, fashion and design, in Milan today); territorial conquests and hegemony in the northern part of the peninsula (now commercial and corporate leadership of Milan in today’s Italy); assistance to the sick and the poor, as the construction of the Ca’ Granda and the Lazzaretto demonstrate (even today, Milan is the Italian capital of volunteer initiatives); urban and architectural renewal, with the great projects of the Duomo, the new Castello Sforzesco, Ca’ Grande, the Lazzaretto, Santa Maria delle Grazie (the modern and contemporary tradition of architecture in Milan), and commercial and industrial vitality, with the production of fabrics, silver, weapons (even today Milan trades with the main European markets).
Snam has offered its support for the event in the context of initiatives for the promotion of the exhibition “Leonardo 1452-1519. Il disegno del mondo” held at Palazzo Reale, for which Snam is one of the main sponsors, with the goal of emphasizing the historical memory of the city and its cultural role ever since its founding.
The large projected images based on period iconography (tarots, miniatures, frescoes, drawings by Leonardo, etc.), selected and prepared by CastagnaRavelli, suggest the “climate” of the time, with references to the world of today, especially in the finale of the video, in which the worlds of yesterday and today coexist in a festive atmosphere.
Great attention has been paid to the music, inspired by the compositions, instruments and vocal techniques of the time, and the elements of the soundscape of the city in the 15th century. A reworking with a focus on the contemporary language in sound design and music, based on a Sanctus by Franchino Gaffurio, choirmaster of the Cathedral of Milan depicted by Leonardo in a famous painting, and created for Agon by Roberto Andreoni, Pietro Pirelli, Antonello Raggi and Giorgio Sancristoforo.
Sound direction is by Massimo Marchi, while the visual direction and dramaturgy are by Paolo Castagna.