Using the Pandemic for Musical Inspiration

The COVID-19 pandemic became a source of inspiration for Maestro Roberto De Simone, a great Neapolitan musical composer, writer, and playwright who conquered audiences of the world’s leading opera houses as a director of operas. He performs his musical compositions for the first time at the Quirinale, one of which is unpublished and dedicated to President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, as the Maestro is using the pandemic for musical inspiration.

For the honor of bringing his musical works to the Quirinale for the first time, the Maestro composed this piece dedicated to President Mattarella entitled “Ma fin est mon commencement” that is inspired by the pandemic condition we are experiencing. The piece implies: “the end of the pandemic coincides with the beginning of a new life.” It is also a way to thank the President for having recently conferred on him the title of Knight of the Grand Cross.

This is also a tribute to Maestro De Simone, conceived and produced in collaboration with Radio3, the new prestigious production of the Napoli Teatro Festival Italia directed by Ruggero Cappuccio and financed by the Campania Region.

The event will be previewed as part of the Radio3 Concerts review at the Quirinale, seat of the President of the Republic in Rome on Sunday, December 13, 2020, at 1150. It is an unmissable event that will take place behind closed doors in the suggestive Pauline Chapel. The public will be able to follow the concert through the live broadcast on Rai Radio3 and in video on the RaiPlay streaming portal.

The program includes 3 pieces – 2 by De Simone for a guitar and string quartet interspersed with a composition for solo guitar by Edoardo Catemario on themes by Gesualdo da Venosa. The concert, which will be opened by De Simone’s “Tales of Mamma Orca,” a work dated 1996 that combines the cultured and popular traditions (Toccata, Gesualda, Senza Nome, Pergolese, Follia di Spagna) in 5 movements, will conclude with the premiere of “Ma fin est mon commencement” (My end is my beginning), the Maestro’s latest creation that is dedicated to President Mattarella.

This is a piece that draws inspiration from the homonymous canon of the fourteenth century composed by Guillaume de Machaut, a musician and poet who lived in Naples in the Angevin era who was able to contribute significantly to the flourishing of a school that became a reference point for Italian musical culture and Europe as a whole.

After the preview at the Quirinale, the concert will enter the program of the musical section of the 2021 edition of the Napoli Teatro Festival Italia, entrusted by Edoardo Catemario and the Quartetto Canonico, composed of Matteo Calosci and Niccolò Musumeci (violins), Margherita Fanton (viola), and Zoltan Szabo (cello).

On Maestro De Simone

Roberto De Simone is a composer, director of operas for major world theaters, and a director of Greek plays.The studies and research carried out by De Simone on the traditions of Campania (his region of origin and residing in Naples) converges in texts and anthologies and records. Among his publications are the “Songs and popular traditions in Campania region” then adapted into literary and theatrical works. He is the composer of activities for Italian TV including the masterpiece “La Gatta Cenerentola” presented at the festival of the 2 worlds in Spoleto. In the seventies, De Simone taught History of Theater at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples and for 7 years – from 1981 to 1987 – was Artistic Director of the Naple’s San Carlo Theater.

In 1995, he became Director of the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella. In 1998, he was appointed Academic of Santa Cecilia in Rome and subsequently awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the President of the French Republic. In 2003, he was awarded the Roberto I Sanseverino prize, organized by the municipality of Mercato San Severino and by the association La Magnifica Gente d’o Sud (the magnificent people of the south).

He was named Knight of the Order des Arts et des Lettres, Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic “On the proposal of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers,” Grand Officer Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, “On the initiative of the President of the Republic” in June 2018, and Knight of the Grand Cross which was awarded in 2019.