Giuseppe Verdi Marches in NYC's Columbus Day Parade
New York’s Fifth Avenue is a stage where life is represented through energy. With a crowd that both thinks and walks fast, the main attraction is man. But for Columbus Day, Fifth Avenue stops and takes on a different form: a show, for over 1 million spectators, of 35,000 people on Fifth Avenue celebrating Italian-American pride. This year spectators of the Columbus Day Parade are in for a special treat from the region of Lombardy–a performance with “Giuseppe Verdi” as the leader.
Italy is well-known for both its vibrant, modern culture and its illustrious past. The country is home to a staggering 53 of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, sites that are recognized for having cultural, historical, scientific, or some other form of significance and that are legally protected by international treaties. This year, some of those sites will be represented in Manhattan’s Columbus Day Parade.
The region of Lombardy will be present at the Columbus Day Parade in order to act as a window into the principles, values, and beauty of the Italian culture. With the help of the Fondazione Stelline, the region of Lombardy has organized a performance guided by Giuseppe Verdi’s history and persona.
This performance is dedicated to the year of culture and was called for by Cristina Cappellini and the regional Institution of Lombardy. It contains 11 actors as well as creative costumes that were inspired by each of Lombardy’s 11 World Heritage Sites, and is the work of director and actor Massimiliano Finazzer Flory.
At the beginning of the parade, figures from Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper will be seen marching. Those figures will then be followed by some unexpected yet fascinating pairings: the prehistoric rock art from Val Camonica and the Crespi d’Adda industrial village; the Christian Sacri Monti and defense fortifications from Bergamo; the theatrical architecture of Sabbioneta and the Longobards; ancient Alpine pile dwellings and the Rhaetian Railway; the most spectacular grouping of marine vertebrates from Monte San Giorgio and old-fashioned know-how from Cremona with its bows, violins, violas, cellos, and double basses.
And speaking of music, we mustn't forget Giuseppe Verdi who, like Leonardo da Vinci, is Milanese if not by adoption than by love. The name Verdi is connected to the Teatro alla Scala, but the later years of his life are also linked to the city of Milan, which celebrated him, especially after his death.
Today, however, Verdi is still alive, and he’ll be in costume on Fifth Avenue directing this parade and offering both Lombardy and Italy the chance to once again be at the forefront of universal culture.