The most read of 2022. Roberto Vecchioni: «I discovered that my wife was cheating on me. My lesbian daughter? Always knew (and never minded)»

Of Catherine Ruggi of Aragon

The singer-songwriter talks about himself when presenting his new album: “Young people should be curious like Ulysses”

“And if you can’t run / or even walk / I’ll teach you to fly”. The song that Roberto Vecchioni and Francesco Guccini dedicate to Alex Zanardi is a hymn to life, always and in any case, even in the face of adversity, with a quote from Cavafis: «If you leave for Ithaca, a long journey awaits you…». Indeed, the journey of Odysseus is the supreme literary reference of «Infinito», Roberto Vecchioni’s latest album, to which his tour «L’Infinito, parole e musica» is dedicated, which stops at the Politeama on Thursday (21.15). Prato.

Are you happy to return to Prato?

“Much! The memory of one of the most beautiful symposiums of my life binds me to Prato: a colossal revelry! I was between 30 and 40 years old: after the concert in a sports field, I stopped with the workers of a woolen factory in a bad place (perhaps a cellar) all night to sing, chat, joke… We made it dawn to talk to each other jokes, nonsense and things of life. I was struck by the great wit of the Tuscans, the ability to ridicule tragic things, to rage in an ironic, sometimes obscene way, always with great intelligence».

In Florence, on the other hand, he has a bitter memory, told in the song «Two Florentine days»…

«Actually, I was in the hills around Scandicci with my first wife, when I discovered her betrayal. And the marriage is over. The too beautiful background clashed with my pain, so I ran away. But Florence is not to blame; it is a symbol of humanity, because Italy begins there, and it only inspires me with positive thoughts».

And it is halfway between his Milan and Naples, the city of origin of his parents…

«They are three cities so different that they could belong to three nations. Today Milan is the only European city in Italy: everything happens there and everything can happen. Florence is a jewel of antiquity that arrives in the present with art and culture. Naples is dream, fantasy, hope, desire, a mass of all possible spiritualities. I could never leave Milan, which is my mother, my father, my son and my dog».

Let’s go back to the latest album: what is infinity for you?

«A great circle, as all great thinkers say so well. The association between infinity and a woman’s curves is recurrent. After all, even atoms are circular; we humans built the only flat things in the universe. To imagine the infinite we must instead think of Ulysses, and of the nostalgia of the return».

His tour is a sort of return, a look at the past, from which emerges a new idea of ​​his love for life…

“As you get older, you notice the details. While up to the age of 60, you have great thoughts — peace in the world, freedom for all, the existence of God… —, at my age you think of yourself. Paraphrasing Descartes, I think, therefore I exist. I don’t exist because I think; but alive, whatever the world. And then I enjoy the little things, like the love for my grandchildren, the poems I can write, the smiles I can give to the people I meet. Small things, but very important».

How did you live the last two years?

«With a big lump. People cannot imagine what lack of stage is for an artist. He is not like a worker without a workshop or a lawyer without an office. Because only when he gets on stage is the artist fully himself ».

How did he survive the lockdowns?

«With a wonderful wife, continuous messages from friends and colleagues, my four grandchildren, when I was able to see them again. I published the novel Flight and Landing Lessons for Einaudi, which went very well. And now I’m writing another one about a universal woman, a sum of all the women I’ve known and all the great ones in history, from Marie Curie to Emily Dickinson, from Sappho to Vittoria Colonna».

The joke is that for the song “I want a woman” he was accused of anti-feminism…

«My provocation was not understood. I said “I want a woman with a skirt” to celebrate her woman in her femininity, inviting her not to renounce her difference from the male. I would never speak of gender equality, but of gender equality».

How did he experience the homosexuality of his eldest daughter?

«Francesca was 15 years old when she came to me scared whispering “Dad I have to tell you something”. I asked her: “What is it? Are you on drugs? Did you fall in love with a killer? No? So vaf…, you gave me a stroke”. I’ve always known that, and I’ve never paid attention to it. Thirty years ago, I was an anticipator. I believe that love is universal and everyone can make his own choices. I accompanied Francesca three times to Amsterdam for assisted reproduction; in the end, two twins arrived who are now 9 years old. I know she did it for me, because she wanted me to be a grandfather. Then Carolina also had two daughters. For all four of them, I’m a grandfather who plays a lot».

Has Francesca suffered discrimination?

“Surely; but it’s a bulldozer. In addition to dealing with pr and writing essays, he founded and presides over the Diversity association, which will bring together thinkers, intellectuals and actors at the May event. At 18 he chose to come and live in Milan for university; we have always remained “pappa e ciccia”. Even Edoardo (the last child, born after Carolina and Arrigo from his current wife, Daria Colombo, while Francesca was born from his first marriage) looks a lot like me. The only small drama of my children is the imitative sense of the father. They feel like artists, a bit out of this world, with literary ambitions. Maybe it’s my fault: I made them dream too much, I gave little reality. But it is in reality that there is a need to deal with life, with people, with work».

How would you explain to young people the war that is being fought on the borders of Europe?

“Young people are very different. When I taught in high school, I adapted to their differences. With everyone, you have to talk a lot, also because they tend to be idealistic and categorical. It’s fine to be pacifists, but even if Jesus had had a series of punches instead of a single slap he probably wouldn’t have turned the other cheek… In short, Ukraine could not avoid war; but something has gone wrong in the last few years. The world balances were disconnected. If we studied ancient history more we would live more peacefully. At IULM, in the “Contemporaneity of the Ancient” course, I teach precisely the answers that the past can give us. Instead, we all live on the fifth floor of a building with nothing underneath. Then it is clear that it starts to creak».

In the song “I’ll teach you to fly” he reiterates that it doesn’t matter to finish first, but to be stronger than destiny…

«Kids should go back to being like Ulysses, with his curiosity about the world. Unfortunately today Ulysses would not make his journey to discover the world, but to find wealth and power».

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December 24, 2022 ( edit December 24, 2022 | 3:25 pm)


The most read of 2022. Roberto Vecchioni: «I discovered that my wife was cheating on me. My lesbian daughter? Always knew (and never minded)»