So here is the promised post…
Apparently this happened on the 12th of March, pretty amazing that it hasn’t gone around earlier (or maybe I just didn’t read it). Anyway, it’s worth sharing again!
So Verdi’s Nabucco was being performed at the Opera di Roma, conducted by Riccardo Muti. After the choir sang “Va pensiero”, the audience broke into applause and asked for an encore and wouldn’t stop. Just before the performance resumed, someone shouted “long live Italy” and this is (more or less) what Muti said:
“Yes, I agree, “long live Italy”, but I’m not 30 anymore, I’ve lived already. And as an Italian, one that has gone around the world, I feel shame about what goes on in my country. I honor, then, your request for an encore of “Va pensiero”. Not only for the patriotic joy I feel, but because tonight, while I was conducting the choir singing “ah my country, beautiful and lost”, I thought that if we go on like this, we are going to kill the culture on which the history of Italy is built. In which case our patria would be really “beautiful and lost”. I’ve been silent man years. Now we should give meaning to this song. I suggest you all join the choir and we sing together “Va pensiero”.”
And so they did, the audience and the chorus all standing up, many crying.
Here is the video:
NB: A friend sent it to me via email and I’m most grateful for this! Thanks Miguel!