Balcony Tenor Maurizio Marchini

Singing for peace, harmony, and healing. From flash mob to balcony stardom, Maurizio sings in the hope of uplifting everyone's spirits.

We all remember watching how COVID-19 sprang up in Italy and like wildfire spread across many cities and touched the lives of so many. To help ease the anxiety and isolation during the early days of the pandemic, there was a call for musical artists to take part in a flash mob. Isolation was not going to be a barrier to music. 

Maurizio Marchini recounts how his wife convinced him to overcome his uncertainty and participate. At the appointed time, Maurizio's melodic tenor voice rose above the red rooftops of Florence, curled its way into houses through open windows and balcony doors to surprise and delight his neighbors.  Unbeknownst to him, his wife posted a recording on social media. In fact, when Maurizio leaned on the balcony railing and shared his song, it seemed like the world listened. Maurizio chose "Nessun dorma" from Giacamo Puccini's opera Turandot: "I felt it was appropriate. It captures the resilience and tenacity of Italians and is an iconic aria for us. I sang with my heart in my hands (˜Ho cantato con il cuore in mano')."

Subsequent to his balcony debut, his neighbors realized they had a tenor in their midst and eagerly requested an encore  - only music seemed to express the depth and range of feelings they were experiencing. "The next night, I sang another aria and chose one that is a favorite  - La donna è mobile, a more lively aria." It is the Duke of Mantua's song in Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto and considered a showcase aria for tenors. Further, it represents a story set in Lombardy, the region of Italy first impacted by the voracity of the pandemic. 

Maurizio was soon overwhelmed with messages after his balcony appearances. Stars, such as Nicole Kidman, and neighbors were moved, and so Maurizio became known as the "balcony tenor." Many of the messages expressed the importance of the gesture to Italians living abroad helplessly watching the horror which ravaged il bel paese (Italy) as well as many others across the world who each went through their own experiences of the pandemic.

Maurizio Marchini. Ph. by Lorenzo Desiati

Maurizio recalls one message from the daughter of an elderly father who was buoyed by the balcony concert during his difficult illness: "I have been deeply moved by the messages; each of them has expressed how music has helped them cope and remain connected to the world as one humanity." Maurizio quotes Beethoven's belief that music begins where language ends: "Music has a way of helping people express deep emotions. It doesn't matter that you don't understand the language. Music transcends and helps us express deep emotions." 

The pandemic brought feelings of helplessness, but for Maurizio, the balcony arias were a way of contributing to uplifting the community: 

I realize now that I helped many, and this makes me very happy. When there are problems, we have a choice. My choice was to do something, my something was to sing. I have a 6-year-old son and I fully understand we are role models for our children. It is a duty we must take up in times of crisis. 

In fact, Maurizio has taken up this responsibility once again. At the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, he partnered with Anina Wasserman to perform a stunning duet, "The Prayer." Maurizio points out the refrain: 

Sognamo un mondo senza pi๠violenza
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace e di fraternità
We dream of a world with no more violence
A world of justice and hope
Everyone gives his hand to his neighbor
Symbol of peace and fraternity

Maurizio is not shy in speaking about the state of the world; he explains passionately that he feels ashamed that a war is raging: "How do I explain it to my son? What do we tell our children? Leaders need to think about how all this affects the next generation."

Maurizio is clear about social responsibility: "We are all connected as a society, what happens on one side of the world affects us all. We know it  - but have we really learned how connected we all are? I am glad music allows us all to come together to express our common humanity."

Tenor Maurizio Marchini in Florence, Italy