94th Giro d’Italia, Stage 2 map
Today’s finish-line city, Parma, has the honor of being the capital of the region that bred both operatic composer Giuseppe Verdi and orchestral conductor Arturo Toscanini, two legendary figures in the pantheon of Western culture.
Verdi, a 19th century great, was born in La Roncole in 1813 and grew up in Busseto. Toscanini was born in Parma in 1867 and flourished in quite a different age, becoming a pioneer in conducting, recording and broadcast in the USA.
Did their paths ever cross? Yes! In 1887, at the age of 20, Toscanini was a member of the cello section at La Scala in Milan in the premiere performance of Verdi’s Otello, under the composer’s supervision.
Toscanini trivia: Arturo’s daughter was named Wally after the title charactier in Catalani’s opera La Wally, the story of a girl who, disappointed in love, commits suicide by throwing herself into a Tyrolean avalanche.
This has a tie to cycling, believe it or not, for during Contador’s Giro in 2008, the famous aria, “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana,” from La Wally was the exquisite theme song for the three-week race at Cycling TV.
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