Naples in Vienna
After an amazing year spent commuting back and forth between Moscow and Italy, immersed in testimonies of the Great Patriotic War
against Napoleon and in the confused and intricate situation that exists today, I felt the need to start thinking about holding the
next event in a location with a more light-hearted, but no less fascinating spirit.
Vienna sprang to mind immediately. That fabulous Austrian city, with all its grace and beauty, and its special blend of glorious
past and contemporary dynamism, seemed just perfect. But which, among all the incarnations and successive metamorphoses of Vienna, should I choose?
The first suggestion was to evoke the years between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, when some great talents,
authentic inventors of modernity, succeeded in turning the capital of the Hapsburg Empire into a melting pot of intellectualism and
the arts in general, from music to painting and architecture, even inventing new disciplines, such as psychoanalysis.
The choice could possibly have fallen on the meeting between Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss who, in Der Rosenkavalier,
represent the elegance of the 18th century and the twilight of the Ancien Régime with unparalleled lightness. The Age of Enlightenment,
of Maria Teresa, Mozart and Da Ponte, which melts, in that sublime opera, into the moving sadness felt by those who realise that that
time has gone forever. Just like the youth of the wonderful Marescialla.
Beautiful and fascinating, undoubtedly. But, looking at the element that links every single one of our new adventures, we had to
identify a relationship between Vienna and Italy, and particularly with the Campania region. And this proved to be incredibly complicated.
Then, upon arriving in Vienna, in search of inspiration, a series of lucky coincidences led me to Rohrau castle, the 16th century residence
of the Counts of Harrach. Here, among the splendid Solimena and grand canvases of Nicola Maria Rossi, how could I fail to remember the
wonderful exhibition organised over twenty years ago in Vienna and Naples in 1993-94 by Nicola Spinosa and Wolfgang Prohaska, masterfully
entitled “On the wings of the Imperial Eagle", which investigated artistic relations between Naples and Vienna in the baroque period.
And so, at last, we come to the 18th century, dreamed of and yearned for like a glimmering ghost which suddenly becomes real and appears
in all its glory in the royal palaces and castles, taking us back to those spellbinding evocations created by the genial duo made up of
Hofmannsthal and Strauss.
Generoso di Meo