At the start of the pandemic a year ago, fear of the unknown gripped the world, travel quickly shut down, lockdowns and quarantines were implemented with no end in sight. But a hopeful voice soared over the rooftops in Florence, Italy.
During his country’s lockdown, Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini went viral for belting Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” from his balcony, after his wife Chiara Bagnoli posted it on Facebook.
When KCRW talked to the pair last year, just a few days before California’s own stay-at-home order was implemented, they said Marchini became in demand after that. “Every night he has much more public outside. They are waiting for him, so now it’s like an appointment. He has to go out and sing at 6 p.m.,” Bagnoli said.
Now a year later, the couple is back with KCRW, as we spend this week checking in with people we spoke to in March 2020.
Marchini says he’s stopped performing for his neighborhood right now, partly because he lost one of his colleagues and friends. “It doesn’t feel like it’s the right moment.”
However, Marchini has performed at concerts for an Irish hospital, and he sang the Italian national anthem for the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Reflecting on the last year, Marchini says he’s surprised at how well received his balcony performances were. “[I] didn't expect all of this success and to move all of these people. … It's been very hard not to do my job, which is singing, for an entire year. And sometimes I don't have the will to do it again. … But I’m also sure that when we gradually go back to our normal lives, I will have the will again. I would like to sing in front of a real public.”
Marchini has released a new song called “Nei Tuoi Colori,” which translates to “in your colors.” Written by Gianmarco Colzi, Marchini says the song was inspired by his experience singing on his balcony, and it’s dedicated to the resilience of the Italian people.