“Barezzi’s house, on the great market’s square, was one of the most important in Busseto; above the warehouses on the ground floor, the family had its home – which included a spacious room where the Philharmonic Society met to rehears, two or three times a week. Signor Barezzi […] indeed was not only a good businessman, but most importantly a great fan of music, and this is what he is mostly remembered for”.
In Austrian writer and playwright Franz Werfel’s description (translated from “Verdi. L’uomo nelle sue lettere”, Castelvecchi, Rome 2007), we meet the man who first noticed Giuseppe Verdi’s talent. His name was Antonio Barezzi, and he welcomed the “Swan of Busseto” into his house when he was still a child, encouraging his passion for music and becoming his patron.
Werfel explains, “Good old signor Antonio had a great intuition. After the shy, clumsy, quiet boy’s first visit, he decided to pay for Giuseppe Verdi’s musical education. From then on, Antonio Barezzi was the guardian angel of Verdi’s youth – a burly, good-natured, always curious and quite ordinary guardian angel, with a heart that burnt with passion like a child’s.”
After a few years, the famous composer married Barezzi’s daughter, Margherita.
Now Casa Barezzi is a museum, full of outstanding works of art and memorabilia, including documents handwritten by the Maestro himself, the first manuscript of “In morte di Giuseppe Verdi”, an ode composed by Gabriele D’Annunzio in 1901, and billboards and posters from the most important opera seasons at the Giuseppe Verdi Theater in Busseto.
Finally, there is also the Tomaschek fortepiano Verdi used to compose “I due Foscari” – and to bring comfort to his mentor’s last moments:
“When old signor Antonio was dying, Giuseppe Verdi ran to his bedside from Turin, or perhaps from Paris. He sat quietly next to him, as he breathed with difficulty. Barezzi could barely speak; or maybe didn’t dare express his wishes. His eyes looked sadly at the open door, leading to the other room; Verdi understood his benefactor’s thoughts. He slowly got up, sat calmly at the piano, and played the “Nabucco”: “Va pensiero sull’ali dorate”. The anecdote was reported while the Maestro was still alive, so we can assume it is true because, always an archenemy of any lie or exaggeration, he never refuted it. In perfect coherence, the merchant of Busseto’s last word was: ‘Verdi…’”
Welcome to Casa Barezzi.
Casa Barezzi Museum
Via Roma, 119
tel. and fax + 39 0524 931117 or 346/0511385