In 1896 the Italian opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi founded Capa di Riposo per Musicisti, a retirement home for musicians and opera singers “who find themselves penniless in their sunset years”. This philanthropic act was simply Giuseppe providing for those who he felt, “had less luck than I”.
Fast forward to 1981, Swiss photographer Eric Bachmann and journalist Christian Kammerling travelled to Italy to document the character of Casa di Riposo per Musicisti’s inhabitants. The photographs of elderly musicians still practising together inside the remarkable retirement home is a delightful treasure. Originally produced for a Swiss magazine, these images have thankfully been republished by Edition Patrick Frey in Casa Verdi.
The publication showcases Eric’s photographs alongside an essay Christian constructed from biographies of retired musicians and singers. It asks questions, “How come I never made it big?” or, “How come he did and I didn’t?” On the other side of the spectrum those who did have success ask, “What in the world became of the fortune I had back in the day? Squandered but on what?”
The full bleed photographic spreads are sensitive representations of the musicians who live there. In rooms filled with charming relics, memories, all moved into shared but regal new home.
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