Migrants, the Metamorphosis of wooden boats: here is the “Violin of the Sea” made by the inmates of Opera

from Francesca Morandi

The project in the laboratory of violin making and carpentry of the prison. The musical instrument exhibited at the Cremona Violin Museum. “It offers a key to understanding what is happening between the Mediterranean and Lombardy”

Is called Violin of the Sea. Some inmates of the Milanese prison of Opera with the wood of boats recovered in the Strait of Sicily. It is a coincidence, but the presentation of the instrument today, Thursday 10 November, takes on the force of an impetuous symbolic and political act. Cremona Violin Museumwhile yet another drama was unfolding in the “liquid” cemetery of the Mediterranean Sea: the death of a 20-day-old baby killed by cold on a migrant boat in Lampedusa, the door of pain. A pain that a thousand kilometers away, now, is transformed into life, into hope. The Violin of the Sea, exhibited alongside the masterpieces of the Stradivari, is part of the collection of the Guarneri and the Amati.

Is called Metamorphosis the project – a unicum – of House of the spirit and the arts founded and chaired by Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori. The idea was born in December 2021 when, within the Laboratory of Lutherie and Carpentry of the Opera prison, the Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti Foundation asked Francesco Tuccioa carpenter from Lampedusa, to bring wood to build cribs that in times of pandemic could be a sign of hope for all, believers and non-believers.

As part of this initiative, with the same woods, aided by the master Enrico Allorto, the inmates built the violin, using a technique already perfected in the sixteenth century by the Cremonese artisans. The journey of the Violin of the Sea began on February 4th, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the foundation’s birth, with the blessing of Pope francesco. Maestro Nicola Piovani, the first to listen to him, decided to write the composition “Canto del legno” played today by Lena Yokoamaviolinist of the MdV.

«The tool – observed the bishop Antonio Napolioni – offers a key to understanding what is happening between the Mediterranean and Lombardy, between prisons and cathedrals, between music and spirituality, and among many other subjects and places that will meet, as in an endless dance. With a prophetic rather than a playful flavor ». For the mayor Gianluca Galimbertipresident of the Violin Museum Foundation, «Metamorphosis, a beautiful name, evokes the idea of ​​an intrinsic and continuous change in the things of the world. A boat that turns into a musical instrument. The drama of the many journeys of hope that is intertwined with the life of prisoners in search of a better future and becomes art and music ».

«We had no doubts in accepting to be part of the Metamorphosis project of Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori’s House of Spirit and Arts – underlined Virginia Villa, general director of the Violin Museum -. It is a choice of the heart. The Violin of the Sea will be exhibited and played in auditions, especially in those dedicated to children“.

A documentary by Giovanni Pellegrini tells the story of the Violin of the Sea and future instruments. Moscow Mondadori’s dream is to make one string orchestra. A membership project that will come to life when the instruments obtained from the boats will be played by the orchestras that will join the project and will travel through them to witness, in Italy and abroad, the drama that thousands of migrants live every day worldwide.

“It is an immense joy – concluded Mosca Mondadori – to know that the Violin of the Sea can be heard at the Cremona Violin Museum to become testimonial tool for the new generations. A sign that is opposed to what Pope Francis defines as a culture of indifference. A violin that seeks instead to be an instrument of awareness so that a look of brotherhood may be born in every society towards every person fleeing war, hunger and persecution ».

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November 10, 2022


Migrants, the Metamorphosis of wooden boats: here is the “Violin of the Sea” made by the inmates of Opera