On March 15 2011, the Rome Opera celebrated the unification of Italy with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s great early opera, “Nabucco.” After the chorus sang ,”Va, pensiro,” the conductor (Riccardo Muti) turned to the audience and made a short, but quite emotional, speech. He described himself as a world traveler but one who was proud of his Italian cultural heritage wherever his journeys took him. He urged those listening to resist current trends to downplay this cultural background and that Italians must become, once again, cultural leaders of the world. To celebrate their success in the world of arts, Maestro Muti asked the audience to join him in singing an enore of, “Va pensiero.” Any wonder that chorus members were weeping as they sang the final bars of this marvelous hymn?
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