The Venice Grand Ball of Debutante: the elegant intuition of Silvia Casarin Rizzolo

The Venice Grand Ball of Debutante makes its debut in the magical setting, thanks to the determination and insight of Conductor Silvia Casarin Rizzolo.

For her, who is used to conducting orchestras all over the world, Venice is not only a place of return. Venice is the cradle of professional training. On Dec. 8, at the Scuola Grande San Giovanni, Silvia Casarin Rizzolo will conduct the orchestra of The Venice Grand Ball of Debutante, which she strongly desired.

Already at the age of eleven she had clear ideas about what to do when he grew up. The secret of her success is all in his existential motto.

“Every problem is an opportunity.”

This optimistic way of approaching life stems from experiential logic.
As a child she studied dance. She was fascinated by the elegance of movements and that powerful connection between body, soul, and music that brings evocative images to life. A career in classical ballet was her dream. She was ready for the La Scala Dance Academy in Milan.

Unfortunately, due to an injury he had to stop dancing. During her six months of rehabilitation she began to study piano.

As if thunderstruck by an intuition, she became clear that she would be a conductor when she grew up.

She was 11 years old, and that decision was the genesis of his promising education.

At sixteen, he began the study of conducting. At eighteen, he conducted the Sofia Opera House Orchestra.

Her outstanding career spans from his years as an assistant – with Mº Claudio Abbado and with Mº Zubin Metha – to conducting the most important orchestras in the world.

In the splendid setting of the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista, the first edition of The Venice Grand Ball of Debutante will be staged.
A first for the lagoon.

The Scuola Grande San Giovanni is a temple of art and architecture. It houses illustrious examples of styles ranging from Gothic to Renaissance to Venetian Baroque. This location, strongly desired by M° Silvia Casarin Rizzolo, is both a museum and the headquarters of the confraternity of the same name. It is an evocative place.

We asked M° Silvia Casarin Rizzolo for some advance information about the evening’s program.

Maestro, your repertoire includes Symphonic, Opera, Sacred, Baroque and Classical Ballet. Can you give us a hint about the program you will layout for this double debut: the one in Venice and the symbolic one of young people in society?

First of all, I am pleased to mention that the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista is the largest and the oldest in Venice. For the first time since its founding in 1261, it opens its doors to dance and does so for us.

So to crown this dreamy night, the history of this beloved event and, at the same time, this historic Venetian exclusive, I have created a program true to the best Anglo-Saxon European tradition, featuring the most famous and beloved waltzes of the Strauss family.

There will also be a cameo waltz by Tchaikovsky, danced by the Ballet Dancers of La Scala Theater in Milan.
I have also created an exclusive novelty: the Queen of the Waltz and King of the Waltz Awards. The winners will dance protagonists on a musical homage to the waltz declined in the Italian style, by Verdi-Rota, taken from the famous film: Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, to honor both the Italian creative genius and the oldest film festival, that of the Venice Lido.

Spreading to Austria and then Germany, the waltz landed in Italy. Here with us, it was contaminated by words. It took a ballroom dance “drift,” with a popular declension. However, this did not happen in Opera where, on the contrary, the libretto, with its poetic, narrative and dramatic character, is present. Recitar cantando is a conventional language supported by vocal timbres and stage presence. In fact, at times, the words are yes perceived but not understood.
Is it likely to say that it was the inclusion of the “light” text that distorted the Italian waltz of its original elegance?

The waltz, even from its European origins, has always had a binary matrix, although it is in ternary time. A first, classical, high matrix saw its compositional dedication by the greatest composers of the European eighteenth/eighteenth century. A second, and more popular, saw its great and rapid spread, being the first dance in history in which people could dance embraced.

Without taking anything away from the high component, I think the great love, fame, and spread of the waltz is due precisely to the popular, human element, as much in Europe as in Italy.
I don’t think even the tango (another great international dance genre phenomenon) has been able to tarnish the elegance, fame, popularity, and joy that the waltz evokes in all of us at just hearing its first notes!

– Being optimistic means trying to seize opportunities even from critical issues. In this age of crisis and transition between a before and an after – the pandemic but also the war or the death of Elizabeth II, – in this age that seems to be pushing towards a strong human destabilization, young people do not seem to be interested in classical music. It is not among their tendencies. Perhaps because it requires listening and concentration? In contemporary songs, lyrics are fast, repetitive, almost anesthetizing, and sometimes music is subjected to the secondary role of accompaniment. How can young people be sensitized to listening to classical music?

This is a fair and profound observation. The difficult time of the pandemic has forced everyone to think intimately about many aspects of the world and their lives. I have seen colleagues change jobs, others change habits, life, partners, or even nation. Art has undoubtedly helped, in those times of confinement, either as simple entertainment or to cultivate hobbies for which one often cannot find time.

Bringing young people closer to music is – I think – easier than people think.

In my professional career I directed, for three years, the Fenice Educational project, having been the first conductor to lead the orchestra of the Fenice Theater from its founding to the present.

We have directed and played in front of thousands of kids of all ages, always having their undivided attention and approval. We need targeted projects, done with love and sensitivity. The message is to make people understand that music has no limits, that it should have no labels, no boundaries, and that Mozart can be rock and maybe John Williams classical (for those who don’t know, he is the most incredible living composer of film music in the world!).

We thank Maestro Silvia Casarin Rizzolo for her availability. We will return to the Grand Debutante Ball in Venice in future newsletters with other news about the event.

It is I who thank Barnes Como for this interview. I have very fond memories of my stay at Villa Faggeto, in which I was your guest during an event. This area, all of Lake Como, pulses with elegance culture history. Vincenzo Bellini loved Como, and it was in the villa in Moltrasio that he composed: La straniera and La sonnambula. Finally, let me say a few words of deep esteem and affection for your Deputy Director: Mary Baesso. Already in the past I have been able to appreciate her professionalism, skills and great humanity.

Ernest Hemingway loved Stresa and Lake Maggiore

Hemingway

Hemingway loved Stresa.

He arrived there in September 1918, convalescing. Stresa welcomed him beneficently after a series of surgeries young Ernest had to undergo.

He had been wounded in a bombing raid while serving as a volunteer with the Red Cross.

He underwent twelve surgeries to extract more than two hundred shrapnel embedded in his leg.

Hemingway was captivated by the beauty of the lake landscape, which so evoked his native lands that he photographed them in his essential and concise narrative.

In A Farewall to Arms, Farewell to Arms, there are pages of love for the Verbano Pearl.

Invaluable is the literary and tourist value, of those lines of prose with poetic flavor.

I walked towards the Iles Borromées, with my suitcase, in the rain. I saw a carriage and signaled to the coachman, because it was better than arriving by carriage. We stopped after crossing the garden, the porter came out with an umbrella and was very kind. He accompanied me to a beautiful room, very large, with windows overlooking the lake. Heavy clouds stood over the lake but with the sun I knew it would be wonderful.

The detailed descriptions, etched in Hemingway’s pages, are evidence of the deep knowledge of these places, ideal for quiet and artistic inspiration.

He mentions Isolabella and the walls that drop steeply into the deep lake, Fishermen’s Island and the dark, smooth, very cold water.

We could not catch a single fish although, at times, the circles on the water warned of their presence.

Stresa, its hills, its surroundings set between water and rock, remained in his heart.

Returned twice to Stresa. He elected the Grand Hôtel des Iles Borromées his place of business. There he gave interviews, met famous people. He returned there with his second wife: Pauline Pfeiffer, wealthy heiress, editor of Vogue, and he returned there with his fourth wife: Mary Welsh, correspondent for Time and Life.

He often met Arnoldo Mondadori, at Villa Verbanella in Meina.

The writer was at home on Lake Maggiore, he was an old client, as he signed his name in the guest book.

An old client who, even today, has dedicated places.

The suite 106 that housed him bears his name, is on the second floor of the Art Nouveau building, and is coveted by wealthy clients.

The unparalleled literary quotation has made universal these territories that have a strong appeal for a wide variety of tourist needs, from cultural tourists, to sports tourists, to those seeking relaxation and wellness.

No one remains indifferent to the beauty of the area, in Stresa or Verbania, on the opposite shore, behind Pallanza, on an edge of the Lake.

In Pallanza also the houses are beautiful and with the boat you can go to the islands where the fishermen live, there is a restaurant in the biggest one.

We, at BARNES Como, believe in the exclusivity of this area linked to world culture and literature, and we have focused on the possibility of recovering some important properties.

In Verbania, for example, the Ex Colonia Ettore Motta is now convertible into tourist accommodation.

Ex Colonia Ettore Motta, Verbania
Ex Colonia Ettore Motta, Verbania

The substantial building facility is for sale here. It occupies a suburban area that alternates terraces with wooded tracts. The position is dominant over the Borromeo Gulf, the extent of the park, the morphology, the location and the complex, are exclusive characteristics.

The lot enjoys a spectacular view of the entire Borromeo Gulf, and all the territories mentioned by Hemingway.

It gives on the Piedmontese side with its delightful Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola Superiore or Dei Pescatori. On a glimpse of the Lombard shore. On the branches of the lake stretching north toward Switzerland and south toward the Ticino valley.

Past Luino, Cannero, Cannobio and Tranzano,” he said, “he will not be in Switzerland until he reaches Brissago. He must pass Mount Tamara. 

I pointed to the left oar and went ashore, turned the boat so that it was parallel to the shore, withdrew the oars, secured the chain to the ring and jumped onto the wet stone of the shore. I was in Switzerland.

In agreement with the city administration, the current ownership has drawn up a plan for the rehabilitation of the buildings. An expansion of the volume is possible. The intervention, consistent with the master plan, involves conversion from a colony to a tourist village. This is in line with the development of the area and the historical building heritage.

The redevelopment plan even offers the possibility of building a direct access underpass to the lake.

Please contact us for any other information or to conduct an on-site inspection.

Anton Giulio Grande, portrait of a dreamer

Anton Giulio Grande is a visionary, a dreamer. Beauty has always guided him, always inspired him.

Its roots are founded in the meticulous elegance of a matriarchal family. She was born in a land, Calabria, full of art, culture, wonder and iconic traditions. From bustiers to fringed shawls, from the predominance of black to honeycomb embroidery. Anton Giulio Grande’s collections evoke an ancient feminine elegance.

As a child he watched his mother. Refined of manners and polite gestures. In perpetual balance between the sobriety of a strict upbringing and the measured flair of bon ton. He observed his grandmother, his paternal grandmother. China on the loom and never weary of skillful fingering. She had in her hands the wisdom of the warp and the three-dimensional secrets of those threads that faded into the long bangs. Confident in the ancient Arabic art of macramé.

Anton Giulio Grande’s talent coincides with his dream. Since childhood he investigated female beauty. He imagined designing garments for showgirls on Saturday night TV shows.

As a young man, he distinguished himself in high fashion for important collaborations. She stands out for her style of interpretative research of glamour as an instrument of seduction. 

Her creations, designed to interpret beauty and sensuality, have seduced the very icons of the star system and beyond. Her garments are often featured in cine-television productions.

Fashion is emotion and inspiration. Fashion is evolution, the art of change. It is a journey inside a great invention called passion for one’s work. The happiest of man’s intuitions.

A passion for luxury is combined with the mastery of sartorial experience. Even today her collections come out of the artisan workshops, of the tailors of Calabria.

To wear an AGG dress, a perfect, statuesque physique is not essential. What is essential is the spirit with which one wears it. In her clothes there is the history of feminine evolution, there is the history of fabrics. There is synergy between the feminine character that emphasizes the dress and the character of the dress that emphasizes the feminine grace of the forms.

Mary Baesso of MF Agency together with Anton Giulio Grande and some models

Mary Baesso, deputy director of BARNES Como, oversees the organization and production of luxury services in the area. Thanks to their trusting relationship, established through years of collaboration, Anton Giulio Grande chose to be interviewed by Mary, for BARNES Como.

Anton Giulio Grande becomes a reference point for BARNES Como, with exclusive services dedicated to our clients.

What are the trends for next summer, what color to wear for a romantic dinner on a terrace by the Lake?

You can use so many colors because the background is unique. I would use delicate colors, for example the color lavender or wisteria, to express and enhance sensuality, femininity, delicacy.

Is it the body that shapes the dress or the dress that shapes the body?

Both. A couturier’s skill is to emphasize the feminine parts thus enhancing and making beautiful every silhouette. The dress can also be a means of communication for the woman. The latter can send messages of seduction and provocation.

What are the trend colors for summer 2022? 

Strong, bright and vivid. Yellow, blue, orange, green. Colors evocative of Gauguin’s Tahitian women’s palettes.

Fashion and film: can you point us to a female icon that sums up both?

Impossible to name just one, because cinema is dotted with icons who have inspired the world of international high fashion.

Rita Hayworth, the first icon that comes to mind. With her we remember the most chaste, elegant, sensual and memorable striptease in film history in the movie Gilda. Hayworth with a few gestures defines a myth that has come down to our time. A black glove paraded with extreme sensuality, a black dress with a wrap-around slit made by costume designer Jean Louis, hands on her head tousling her hair. All this helped consolidate the image of femme fatale in the collective imagination.

Impossible not to mention Audrey Hepburn wearing Givenchy’s black sheath dress in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s that became iconic! A garment that revolutionized women’s wardrobe. 

I would also like to recall the scene where the skirt of Marlyn Monroe’s dress rises, in the movie When the Wife is on Vacation, because of the air rising from the subway ventilation grate. The skirt opens up like a wheel! The dress worn by Marlyn Monroe is a cocktail dress that reveals the back, with a deep V-neckline in front. 

However, I also want to remember Omar Sharif unforgettable Doctor Zhivago, with his Napoleonic Cossack coat.

For information or to make an appointment at one of AGG’s ateliers, our customers can write to maison@antongiuliogrande.it.