VERDI E IL SALOTTO MILANESE DI CLARA MAFFEI
Istituto Lombardo - Accademia di Scienze e Lettere - Incontri di Studio
Among the 19th century literary salons an important role is played by that of the countess Clara Maffei, not only for its long duration (52 years) and its European reputation. It's a private meeting point, the heart of Milan where aristocrats, intellectuals and burgeois gather together. The four personalities involved are: the two founders Andrea and Clara Maffei, Giuseppe Verdi and his wife Giuseppina Verdi Strepponi with their correspondence. This epistolar exchange consists of more than 600
... ocuments, partly wellknown and published and partly unpublished (Clara's letters conserved in Sant'Agata archives). Very important is the correspondence between Verdi and Clara. Andrea Maffei (Molina di Ledro 1798 – Milano 1885) stands out in the Italian culture of the mid nineteenth century: connoisseur of poets and theatre beyond the Alps, he spreads in Italy the International taste with many translations from german, his second language (from Klopstock to the theatre of Schiller) and English authors: he is friend of many artists and he represents actively the consonance among literature, art and music. He offers to Verdi, received in the salon in 1842, formative relationships with intellectuals and artists and personally a lively school of cultural and theatre taste, guiding him in the choice of subjects, he composes for Verdi the libretto of I Masnadieri and he makes the fantasy arrangements of the witches in Macbeth. Chiara Carrara Spinelli (Bergamo 1814 – Milano 1886) is a fascinating creature, cultured and quivering of emotions and ideals. She has a vocation in receiving and listening, she offered all kinds of spiritual, material and social assistance. The relationship between Clara and Verdi is based on a confidential, noble, without reserve friendship. A friendship that grows in the distance, as for 20 years Verdi stays away from Milan, and he will see Clara again in 1868 during the visit at Manzoni. But her letters marks a thread with old and new friends of the salon, and herself, who adores and spends time with Manzoni, stimulates the cult of Verdi for this personality with continuous news and pushes him to a meeting. During the two stays in Sant'Agata she captures intimate moments of Verdi's life. He represents for Clara the maximum ambition of art and ethics, and she is proud of sharing his choices, reassured about her apprehensions and weakness. Verdi opens his heart to Clara and facilitates the correspondence between Clara and Peppina who will become close friends.