Bringing the words “Paganini” and “Rock Star” together might seem to be a daring enterprise, as they appear to belong to two very distant universes, two very distant stories – in time and space – whose paths are unlikely ever to cross.
Yet Niccolò Paganini, still shrouded in legend, cliché and mystery, is a rock musician – where rock means revolution.
What Paganini achieved in the first half ofthe nineteenth century was revolutionary: he not only challenged and overcame the limits of what it was possible to do with the violin up to that point in history but also redefined what it meant to be a musician. The discovery of talent, virtuosity, performance, looks,touring,fame,the freeing of the imagination and the enthusiasm of the public are all elements that can be found in the story of Paganini – both as an artist and as a person. Equally, they are all recurring features in the lives of today's rock stars.
Paganini and Hendrix are, then, not two universes so distant from each other: both were “virtuosi”, both acclaimed by the crowds, both associated with a particular instrument – the famous “Cannon” and the Fender Stratocaster, presented in the exhibition as true magical objects – that was in fact an extension of their respective souls and bodies. Their stories are intertwined, but there’s more: by bringing together Paganini’s original manuscripts and Hendrix’s stage costumes with an impactful multimedia system, the exhibition also opens up to our contemporary world, bringing the stars oftoday onstage, so to speak. Roberto Bolle’s hitherto unseen performance, created exclusively around the 24th Capriccio, is the keystone to the exhibition, a visual rendering ofthe concept of virtuosity in a highly evocative immersive space.Morgan, Salvatore Accardo, Gianna Nannini and Ivano Fossati are the other exceptionalwitnesseswho enhance the story told by the exhibitionwith their video contributions. Itis an amazing story that takes visitors behind the scenes, giving them an insight into the way the artist is “staged” and the myth “constructed”.
The exhibition has been curated by Roberto Grisley, Raffaele Mellace and Ivano Fossati, and designed and mounted by NEO - Narrative Environments Operas, Milan.