Discover the Retirement Home for Elderly Musicians Created by Giuseppe Verdi: Created in 1899, It Still Lives On Today

Among my works, the one I like best is the Home that I have had built in Milan for accom­mo­dat­ing old singers not favored by for­tune, or who, when they were young did not pos­sess the virtue of sav­ing. Poor and dear com­pan­ions of my life! 

Giuseppe Ver­di

Is there a rem­e­dy for the iso­la­tion of old age?

What about the jol­ly fra­ter­ni­ty and com­pet­i­tive­ness of an art col­lege dorm, as envi­sioned by opera com­pos­er Giuseppe Ver­di?

Short­ly before his death, the com­pos­er donat­ed all roy­al­ties from his operas to the con­struc­tion and admin­is­tra­tion of a lux­u­ri­ous retreat for retired musi­cians, designed by his librettist’s broth­er, archi­tect Camil­lo Boito.

Com­plet­ed in 1899, Casa Ver­di still serves elder­ly musi­cians today–up to 60 at a time. Res­i­dents of Casa Ver­di include alum­nae of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera and the Roy­al Opera House. Guests have worked along­side such nota­bles as Chet Bak­er and Maria Callas.

Com­pe­ti­tion for res­i­den­tial slots is stiff. To qual­i­fy, one must have been a pro­fes­sion­al musi­cian or music teacher. Those select­ed enjoy room, board, and med­ical treat­ment in addi­tion to, writes The New York Times, “access to con­certs, music rooms, 15 pianos, a large organ, harps, drum sets and the com­pa­ny of their peers.” Musi­cal pro­gram­ming is as con­stant as the fine view of Verdi’s grave.

Din­ing tables are named in hon­or of Verdi’s works. Those inclined to wor­ship do so in a chapel named for San­ta Cecil­ia, the patron saint of musi­cians.

Prac­tice rooms are alive with the sound of music and crit­i­cism. As Casa Verdi’s music ther­a­pist told the Finan­cial Times, “They are very com­pet­i­tive: they are all pri­ma don­nas.”

When mem­o­ry fails, res­i­dents can tune in to such doc­u­men­taries as actor Dustin Hoff­man’s Tosca’s Kiss, below

Get a peek inside Verdi’s retire­ment home for artists, com­pli­ments of Urban Sketch­ers here.

via The New York Times

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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Comments (5)
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  • Dave Loder says:

    Amaz­ing Dustin! I’ve nev­er doubt­ed his act­ing abil­i­ties, ever since Papil­lon but to play this role here, I’m even fur­ther along the lines of appre­ci­at­ing such actors of his genre.
    Thanks for hav­ing this fea­tured item.

  • Michael LaRocca says:

    That’s an amaz­ing lega­cy from Ver­di in addi­tion to his music.

  • JV says:

    I want to live there now and I’m only 50.

  • Wendy whiteman says:

    Still in tears of joy just to think these peo­ple are trea­sured. Why not Aus­tralia?
    Just watched Julian Lee and trum­peter Mor­ri­son play­ing to old friend Don Bur­rows. More please . Such music they’ve all made. God bless

  • Micki Farington says:

    This beau­ti­ful orga­ni­za­tion is an answer to a pro­fes­sion­al musician’s prayer. My hus­band is a 77 year old dis­abled life­time pro­fes­sion­al musi­cian. If I should be the first to leave this life, I pray that we can find a min­istry now that would pro­vide such place to rest and enjoy the com­fort of oth­er musi­cians for his remain­ing time spent in this life. Could you please give addi­tion­al info about pos­si­bly iden­ti­fy­ing oth­er sim­i­lar such loca­tions around the coun­try (I.e. Flori­da, Texas, Ohio, Geor­gia).

    Thank you so very much.

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