Bagni di Lucca – Castelvecchio Pascoli Theatre, halls and hotels of Bagni di Lucca Theatre, halls and hotels of Bagni di Lucca At the end of the 70s, even before completing his studies, Giacomo Puccini came to Bagni di Lucca to play the piano in a small dance orchestra at the Teatro Accademico, the Casino and the Ducci hall of Ponte al Seraglio. The salary was £ 10 or 15 for the evening, he came a bit before the show to save and had dinner at the home of Adelson Betti (for whom he composed the hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt), father of the famous violinist Adolfo. After more than a decade, Puccini returned to Bagni di Lucca several times in the Summer as a holiday maker, as every wealthy person from Lucca of his generation, attracted not only by the pleasant climate, but also by the presence of many good friends and “dalla quiete bagnajola”. Bagni di Lucca was also an obligatory stop for the Abetone, where Puccini often spent the hottest periods of the summer (for a time he also owned a house there). In 1909 he chose the Grand Hotel delle Terme (“I think that’s how they call the tall hotel”), after satisfying himself that the hotel could grant him the peace necessary for working: there in fact he composed the second act of La fanciulla del West. In 1920 he spent more than twenty days at the Hotel Vittoria: precisely in the “quiete bagnajola” in the villa where the baron Edoardo Fassini Camossi lived. Here Puccini had the decisive meeting with the librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni for the launch of Turandot, including listening to a carillon brought from China by the Baron, which performed three melodies later used by Puccini. Precisely from the spa town correspondence started for the “Giornale d’Italia” which announced the new opera by Puccini: a real scoop that aroused the anger of the composer, who would have preferred more privacy. In Bagni di Lucca Puccini had two of his closest friends, Ferruccio Giorgi and Adriano Bastiani: the house of the latter has remained almost intact and retains many memories of the composer. Castelvecchio Pascoli Castelvecchio Pascoli The Giovanni Pascoli house museum is a particular and qualified stop on the Puccini itineraries, for the memories it brings back and the valuable documentation that it preserves. In 1895 Giovanni Pascoli had rented the house of the Cardosi-Carrara, on the hill of Caprona, about 5 Km from Barga, as a country house and moved there with his sister Maria; in 1902, the poet bought the house that was to become his habitual and quiet residence, until her death in April 1912, At that time he alternated teaching commitments (in Bologna, Messina, Pisa and Bologna again) one of the most prolific and happy periods of poetic creation and publication of his works. The first recorded contact between Pascoli and Puccini dates back to 1897: Pascoli, who at that time had a great passion for the theatre, tried, through some acquaintances to establish contact with Puccini: would it have been possible to collaborate? Puccini let it be known that it would be possible in the future, since at the time he was too busy with Tosca. At the end of 1897 it was Puccini who contacted the Poet, to commission an epigraph to Guglielmo Lippi (known as Memmo, a close friend of Puccini and Alfredo Caselli, in turn, a close friend of Pascoli), who had died prematurely. At the beginning of 1903 Puccini heralds a visit to Barga for the following Spring, but a serious car accident which occurred on the night between 25 and 26 February forces him to immobility. The Maestro much appreciated a greeting card sent by the Poet and responds with warmth. A few months later, still forced to remain in Torre del Lago, Puccini, through Alfredo Caselli, makes a request to Pascoli, a sonnet to be published along with an image of him in bed, surrounded by the female figures of his operas, including Madama Butterfly (a promotional idea by the publisher Ricordi). Again in 1903 the project of Puccini to find, close to Casa Pascoli, a house for the Summer holidays was wrecked. Perhaps the most significant and best known evidence is linked to Madama Butterfly: after the fiasco of the opera at La Scala (17 February 1904), Pascoli immediately conveys his closeness with a prophetic postcard: Our dear and great Maestro, the butterfly will fly: it has its wings spread with powder, with a few drops here and there, drops of blood, drops of tears … Fly, fly, butterfly, Whose heart cried so much; and you made your singer cry… Sing, sing, butterfly, with your little voice, with the chirping of your dream, faint as sleep smooth like a shadow, sweet as a tomb, in the shade of bamboo in Nagasaki and in Cefù Needless to say how much Puccini appreciated this. Puccini made at least two visits to Casa Pascoli: in 1908, along with Guelfo Civinini and Alfredo Caselli and in 1911, along with Caselli and Augusto Guido Bianchi. There remains journalistic and photographic evidence.