9:30 am: I am going to study and suddenly I realize that I don’t have my notes of the lessons! Where the hell did I put them? I begin to turn my room upside down and behind stacks of books I find … a carnival mask! Who put it there? When did I receive it? Still my brain does not turn on but … it is spontaneous to hum a little tune: “chi brama havere spasso e piacere”, and suddenly the bell rings at 10 o’clock and I remember! “Tre hore sono a fè!”. Suddenly I rember the whole course of this year, as if it had always been there. Not concepts or formulas or laws to remember, just a sea of notes sung together with a group of crazy medievalists: the coup de grace on my good intentions of study!
I throw myself on the bed and… my memories continue to flow: how many afternoons spent cutting out scraps of fabric for the costumes, learn jokes and above all rehearse and rehearse again under the guidance of a director who, for the energy he puts on, sometimes seems younger than you!
The premises were special.
When our director Fabrizio Barchi told us that we would have performed the “Festino del Giovedì Grasso” at the prestigious Oratorio del Gonfalone, the whole choir launched into a cry of exultation, recalling the performance of the previous year. We sensed the importance of this project, but this year we really experienced on our skin what it meant to prepare a show from top to bottom: writing a screenplay, sewing clothes specifically for each mask, wandering on the stage with the meter in hand , to avoid unpleasant or perhaps tragicomic falls on the day of the first performance!
I take the mask and I look at it against the light … I wear it and from the holes for the eyes I see myself suddenly on stage, in front of the enchanted public and surrounded by the wonderful frescoes of the theater, among people of every class who toast to the sound of renaissance instruments: old men with ready-to-go joke, street vendors, noblemen, unmarried, spinster and populace, lively children dressed up as animals!
The space between one song and another is interspersed with the joke, almost by the thundering cry of the
composer, who in rhymes introduces each piece and welcomes his masterpiece: “intermedio di venditori di fusi!”, “o che pazzi babioni!”, “mascherata d’amanti!”
On the other side of the stage, an elderly gentleman with a wig and cane, observes us by pretending to barely bear us, but underneath appreciating the sophisticated dissonances, the fast times and the joy of what is called “the Modern Beloved”.
In a vein of joy, the Festino closed between real and not fictitious toasts, “we fell to perfection in the part” I think to myself. I remember well that when I got home I was so euphoric that I literally threw the university backpack behind the sofa, now full of masks, scores and notes, the notes I’ve been looking for this morning!
I rush into the entrance to pick it up, but in the backpack I find everything except the notes, until two crumpled sheets appear in the middle of the scores: “prize for the best program”, “first prize”… the awards of the ARCL Choral Competition, held on May 27th, the prizes of our competition.
I sit on the sofa in the throes of another wave of memories as the bell of 11 rings: the episodes flow spontaneously and I see the days of painful but lively preparation, the excitement before the exhibition while we passed in the parking lot, sometimes excited faces and sometimes marked by healthy concern for the high level of the opponents, and a priceless stadium exultation as soon as the winner was announced: nothing can replace those emotions and the joy of having won the group, not the singles, this magical group that still manages to make you feel at home and to sublimate your individuality, while keeping it!
12 o’clock in the morning: now that my good study intentions have gone I understand the moral of the story. If you too are oppressed by exams, work, or a very tiring day on the beach between splashes and sun and you have lost every memory of the past, remember all the wonderful things we have done this year, and that maybe we will never do again , and think how lucky we are!