OLGA BUSSINELLO, DIRECTOR OF CONSORZIO VALPOLICELLA SAYS “AMARONE IS A LEVEAGE FOR TOURISM TO THE AREA. VALPOLICELLA MUST BECOME THE NEXT TOP WINE TRAVEL DESTINATION”
Verona, 14th January 2015
Nabucco, Aida, Tosca and all the other operas included in the festival of Verona’s roman area will, from this year, have an extra ally : Amarone. The Consorzio di Tutela Vini Valpolicella and Fondazione Area will together raise a toast to the Anteprima Amarone 2011 (held in Verona, Palazzo della Gran Guardia 31st Jan & 1st Feb) with an agreement to create a system to develop tourism to the area, also in view of Expo Milan which will be held this year. The synergy between the two partners creates a network and integrates the possibilities of wine tourism in the Valpolicella into the calendar of operas produced by the Fondazione Area and the Museum of Opera (AMO) that will in turn be inserted into tourist packages and educationals for journalists, bloggers and national and international trade representatives during the Consortium’s activity of incoming educational tours. Furthermore, Amarone and Opera will be the two outstanding “made in Verona” features of the Valpolicella Wines app (available on iOS and Android) launched by the consortium that includes everything the area has to offer such as general information, details of the wines, news and events, trails for foodlovers showing restaurants and accommodation, historical and cultural points of interest as well as itineraries to take in the beautiful scenery.
Olga Businello, Director of the Consorzio for the Safeguard of Valpolicella Wines, said “The Valpolicella area hasn’t yet fulfilled its potential for tourism despite being on the same level as internationally recognised best wine travel destinations. Amarone should and must be a leverage and support the tourism of the area in synergy with other players in the industry. The partnership with Fondazione Area demonstrates that it is possible to work together to promote the whole area.”
The collaboration between the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella (Consortium of Safeguard of Valpolicella Wines) and Fondazione Area is not by chance. Wine in fact plays a part in many scenes of operas featuring love, duels, detrayal and victories.
Examples of this include many of the operas of Giuseppe Verdii, the author of many famous toasts.
In Macbeth, inspired by the eponymous Shakespearean drama depicting the tragedy of power, wine has a definite role in the unfolding of events. During the banquet scene of the second act, Lady Macbeth, blinded by ambition, reinforces her criminal plans using wine and twice calls for a toast with the words “Si colmi il calice del vino eletto; nasca il diletto, muoia il dolor” ("Fill the glass with the chosen wine, the beloved is born, sorrow dies"), where the guests respond “cacciam le torbide cure dal petto, nasca il diletto, muoia il dolor” (expel the murky worry from the chest, the beloved is born, sorrow dies). Lady Macbeth continues invoking the saving power of wine: “Da noi si involino gli odi e gli sdegni, folleggi e regni qui solo amor. Gustiamo il balsamo di ogni ferita che nova vita ridona al Cor; vuotiam per l’inclito banco i bicchier” (here we evoke hatred and disdain, follies and here only love reigns. Let’s taste each wound that the new life gives back to the heart; let’s empty the glass for the illustrious bench).
Another example of wine in operas is the famous “Libiamo, libiamo ne’ lieti calici”, from another of Verdi’s operas, La Traviata. We see Alfredo who proposes a toast to the rhythm of the waltz, to which Violetta and the other guests immediately join in, joyfully singing the praises of wine and love “Libiam ne’ lieti calici che la bellezza infiora; e la fuggevol ora si inebrii a voluttà. Libiam ne’ dolci fremiti che suscita l’amor poiché quell’occhio al core onnipotente va. Libiamo, amor tra i calici più ardenti baci avrà”. In the first scene of Act 1 of Ernani, the quoir of the companions of Ernani accompanies his entrance onto the scene with “Beviam! Beviam! Nel vino cerchiam almeno un piacer! Che resta al bandito, da tutti sfuggito, se manca il bicchier?”. Verdi also shows how toasting with wine can make everything seem more serene and beautiful: “Mescetemi il vino! Tu solo bicchiere/ tra grandi terreni non sei menzognero/ tu vita dei sensi, letizia del cor” e poi “tu sei chi m’allegri le curi noiose / sei tu che ne torni la gioia che fu / chi meglio risana dal cor le ferite? / Se te non ci desse la provvida vite/ sarebbe immortale l’umano dolor.”
Even Cavalleria Rusticana, by Pietro Mascagni, uses wine as an important element. The protagonist, Turiddu, offers wine to his fellowmen as a pretext to be able to stay at the side of his beloved Lola, who is already wed to Alfio: “Viva il vino spumeggiante, nel bicchiere scintillante, come il riso dell’amante; mite infonde il giubilo! Viva il vino ch’é sincero, che ci allieta ogni pensiero, e che affoga l’umor nero nell’ebbrezza tenera.” Wine also represents a challenge: a glass thrown away with disgust by Alfio is a clear message to Turiddu.
Melodramma involves strong passions which are often interpreted using wine.
The dramatic opera La Bohéme, by Giacomo Puccini, tells of life and the love stories of the young who are poor but full of life and love for art, that become intertwined in a poor attic in Paris during the first half of the 1800s. Wine is part of the first act when the four friends decide to celebrate Christmas Eve with a dinner in the Latin Quarter. For the bohemiens, reality outside their dwelling is quite different: they court the most beautiful women and drink the best and oldest wines.
In the Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti, the miraculous effects of wine shown include the ability to use it a love potion. The story of the shy and unprepared Nemorino, in love with the beautiful Adina, takes a turn when the charlatan Dulcamara promises him to overcome the shyness of his beloved with a potion prepared by himself. The inebriating elixir, with a delicious taste, is nothing other than a great wine. Enraptured, Nemorino praises the virtues: “O caro elisir! Sei mio! Si’, tutto mio. Com’essere possente la tua virtù, se non bevuto ancora, di tanta gioia già mi colmi il petto! Bevasi. Oh! Buono! Oh caro! Un altro sorso. Oh qual di vena in vena dolce calor mi scorre! Ah lei forse anch’essa , forse la fiamma stessa incomincia a sentir”. Wine overcomes Nemorino’s shyness and the two youths finally tie the knot following a series of ups and downs and amusing misunderstandings.
Even Gioacchino Rossini, in The Thieving Magpie, celebrates Giannetto’s return after the war with a: “Viva Bacco e la cantina, medicina d’ogni età!” (Long live Bacco and the cellar, medicine of any state).