Around Town: Celebrating Arturo Toscanini at Union Station

by Emily Kim

Italian classical orchestra celebrates conductor’s legacy.

The world-renowned chamber orchestra Cameristi Della Scala celebrated legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini’s 150th birthday with a free concert at Union Station’s East Hall on March 28.

“We think Mr. Toscanini, in his interest of making sure that beautiful music was available to everyone, would be very pleased about the access to this building, so that many people can come and enjoy this wonderful concert,” said Union Station President & CEO Beverly Swaim-Staley in an opening statement.

The program included excerpts from the opera “Guglielmo Tell” by Gioachino Rossini, “Hymn of the Nations: Aida, Fantasia” and the opera “Falstaff,” both by Giuseppe Verdi.

Barbara Harrison served as emcee.

“Falstaff: is now part of classical opera repertoire, due to Toscanini’s insistence on programming the piece. He served as music director at La Scala in Milan and the Metropolitan Opera in New York during the late 19th and early 20th century. In addition to conducting the New York Philharmonic and NBC Symphony Orchestra, created specifically for him in 1937, Toscanini used music as a form of activism. He stood in solidarity with exiled and persecuted Jewish musicians and led the Palestine Symphony Orchestra in 1936.

Cameristi Della Scala was founded in 1982 and its members come from Teatro alla Scala in Milan, one of the most important opera houses in the world.

Pietro Salini, chairman of Lane Industries

Union Station was one stop in a short U.S. tour that included performances at the Library of Congress, the Italian Embassy, and Rizzoli Bookstore in New York.

The concert was sponsored by Lane, a construction company specializing in transportation, infrastructure and energy industries.

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