The House of Music was founded in 2002 on the initiative of the Municipality of Parma and from 2005 is established as Public Institution. The House of Music associates many activities of research, deepening and popularization of the musical culture, safeguard and exploitation of its patrimony and its collections to the artistic production, training programmes and publishing production both of book and recording series.
Inside the House of Music coexist and cooperate different entities, some of them founding members (Regio Theatre historical Archive and services) and others hosted by the Institution (Parma University: Musicology and Acoustic Engineering group part of the Department of industrial Engineering, the International Research Centre for Music Magazines and Prometheus Foundation).
Among the services open to a wider use in addition to a Multimedia Library specialized in music, it includes the Opera and the Arturo Toscanini Birthplace Museums and, from 2007, the House of Sound, a centre focusing on the sound in its technological dimension and containing a valuable collection of sound reproducers, as well as innovative structures equipped with sound systems and services devoted to the scientific and artistic research, education and popularization. Moreover, in 2010 the Laboratory of electroacoustic music (Label) for the production of contemporary music was inaugurated.
ARCHIVIO STORICO DEL TEATRO REGIO
The Royal (Regio) Theatre’s Historical Archive, one of the most important and complete theatrical archives in Italy, is hosted at the House of Music and, without continuous progress, collects all the documentary material produced by the old Ducal Theatre, dating from 1816 and by the new Ducal (later Regio) Theatre, from 1829 to 2001.
The database contains the documentation of the theatre activity both in its artistic and administrative aspects and is divided into different series, as follows: correspondence from 1816 to 1995 and special documentary series; booklets and playbills (all catalogued by Parma library system and searchable at http://opac.unipr.it
); Theatre notices from 1816 till June 1969 (10,400 pieces); photographs (ancient and modern); set and costume sketches; audio recordings from 1962 and video footage since 1979.
At different times and in different ways to this first group have been added other Funds such as “Sanvitale Legacy” - consisting of
more than 3000 scores of the 17th-19th centuries (some of them manuscripts) collected during the years and belonging to the Library of one of the most influential families in Parma: the Sanvitales - and “Mario Ferrarini Legacy” donated to the Municipality of Parma in 1951 and consisting of the material collected by Mario Ferrarini and his family over the years.
The donated materials include photographs and portrait prints of composers, performers, musicians and conductors, leaflets and posters of Regio and Reinach Theatres, the correspondence of the conductor Giulio Cesare Ferrarini with personalities of the world of contemporary music, together with brochures, music and theatre magazines, booklets and newspaper clippings. The Funds of the Band of the National Guard and of the City Band where documents and scores relating to these ensembles are kept are the other donations part of the Archive.
IL MUSEO DELL’OPERA (p.le San Francesco, 1- 43121-Parma)
Together with the House of Music, the OPERA MUSEUM shares its location in the same 15th century building. Inspired by Parma traditions it recalls four centuries of history of the Opera House described through its most significant turning points, themes and characters marking its development from the origins up to the present day. Opera made its first appearance in Parma in 1628 to inaugurate the Farnese Theatre: at that time opera was a show only reserved for the elite whose purpose was the richest and the most memorable celebration of a particular event linked to the dominant family. However, just then, the conditions permitting that so rare and exclusive show to turn into a public event and into the most successful show for the next three hundred years started growing. After the Grand opening of Farnese Theatre - thanks to the construction of such public theatres as Ducale Theatre in 1687 and New Ducale - now Regio - Theatre in 1829, Parma too will conform to the common trend. Furthermore the last two rooms of the Museum are particularly dedicated to Verdi’s centennial celebrations in Parma and in Busseto in 1913. The Museum offers to a wide audience a chance to catch the most important moments of this evolution together with its protagonists and its most important places thanks to a comprehensive exhibition of documents, images, objects and multimedia devices.
CASA DEL SUONO (p.le S. D'Acquisto - 43121 - Parma)
Located in the picturesque space of the ex-Church of Santa Elisabetta (half XVII century), the House of Sound is a centre dedicated to the technological aspect of the sound and includes a museum grown out of the ambition of thinking about the way how music is listened and understood. The museum is addressed to a broad audience, namely to all those who today listen to music and sounds transmitted by technological devices. Therefore the Museum itinerary presents the history and the evolution of the technology for sound reproduction - particularly for music - till today's achievements (from the phonograph to the gramophone, from the radio to the tape recorder, from the CD to the iPod) to cast a look into the future. The exhibition consists of historical equipments mostly coming from the collection of don Giovanni Patanè - bequeathed to Interuniversity Consortium for Telecommunications (CNIT) and by it assigned in commodatum to the Institution to be displayed and exploited - and of devices owned by the Institution itself or from donations and deposits.
The contemporary section is represented by the Sound Chandelier, a Sound audio installation based on Wave Field Synthesis consisting of a spherical cap suspended under the House Vault 4 metres high, with 224 "speakers" and by the White Hall hosting a "surround" system of the latest generation based on Wave Field Syntesis with 188 "speakers" displayed along the entire perimeter of the room.
In Europe, the application of this extraordinary audio system also can be found in Germany and France in the sound testing centres in Berlin and Paris, but only in Parma, at the House of Sound, its use is extended to the visitors.
MUSEO CASA NATALE TOSCANINI ( b.go Rodolfo tanzi, 13 – 43100 Parma)
The Toscanini Birth Place Museum is where Maestro was born on the 25th of March 1867 and offers an itinerary that, through the display of documentary materials and personal items belonging to Maestro and his family, allows visitors to deepen their knowledge of the life and of the activity of Arturo Toscanini both in his human and in his artistic aspects.
The building has recently been subject of a careful restoration that, even renewing its structural and expositive parts, has saved the atmosphere of the old House. Every room and any partial view of the House tells about the great Maestro’s way of life and activity: "Parma and Toscanini", "His life", "Image of the myth", "His fellow travelers", "Toscanini, the disc and the other media", "The years at la Scala" and "Other memories ...". Nowadays the Museum presents itself as a place devoted not only to the memory but also to the knowledge and to the understanding, a place where historical documents, memorabilia and family items are accompanied by the most modern multimedia technological devices.
The House of Music also operates in the area of studies and specialized researches by organizing conferences and study days and the following publishing activities.
The editorial book series promoted by the House of Music are two: one - realized in cooperation with the venetian publisher Marsilio - is entitled "Musica in Atto" and consists of conferences reports, results of specialized studies and researches; the other is entitled "Quaderni Ladimus" and groups more educational publications addressed to a wider non-specialist audience.
Besides the above mentioned series the House of Music publishes or cooperates in the publication of many other volumes devoted to education, local musical tradition, shows and exhibitions.
- Musical criticism in Italy in the first half of the twentieth century, edited by Marco Capra and Fiamma Nicolodi, Ed. Madison-Casa della Musica, 2012
- Arturo Toscanini. The Conductor and the media artist, edited by Marco Capra and Ivano Cavallini, Ed. Libreria Musicale Italiana 2011
- Pop music and popular music. Considerations and comparison of experiences, edited by Alessandro Rigolli and Nicola Sada, Marsilio-Casa della Musica 2010
- The devil at work, issues and representations of the devilish in music and culture of the 19th century, edited Marco Capra, 2009
- Ferdinando Paër between Parma and Europe, edited by Paolo Russo, 2008
- Baldassare Galuppi, "The Buranello". Aspects and events of his life and art, edited by R. Tibaldi, 2007
- The sound reproduced. History, art and culture of a revolution of the XXth, edited by A. Rigolli and P. Russo, 2007
- Arturo Toscanini. Life, pictures, portraits, Grafiche Step Editrice, 2007
- Messer Claudio Musico. The numerous Arts of Claudio Merulo da Correggio (1533-1604) between Venice and Parma, edited by M. Capra, 2006
- Music and dramaturgy in Rome at the time of Giacomo Carissimi, edited by P. Russo, 2006
- The music on stage. The musical show and the audience, edited by A. Rigolli, 2006
- Falstaff, expressive Workshop, edited by B. Toni, Nicola Milano ed., 2006
- Music Popularization in Italy today, edited by A. Rigolli, 2005
The “Historic Collection” represents the special attention that the House of Music pays to the phenomenon of music reproduction both with the exploitation of its collections and with the opening of a Museum together with the beginning of a specific research. The aim of the collection is the exploitation of the recordings of the first half of the XXth century through a publishing project where, thanks to the - sometimes unusual - comparison of particularly meaningful historical recordings the offer is not only the documentation of the different interpretative trends, but also the highlight of some of essential points of the history of the opera and of the melodramatic imaginary from the end of the 18th century to the early decades of the twentieth.
Actually the published CDs are the following:
- "Otello & Jago"
Great historical interpreters of Verdi's opera with 47 recordings from 1902 to 1951.
- "The devil at work"
Great historical interpreters of the Devils represented in the works of G. Meyerbeer, H. Berlioz, C. Gounod, A. Boito, A. A. Rubinštein with 54 recordings from 1902 to1959.
- "The sacred and the profane"
Great historical interpreters of the roles of priests, hermits and prophets in the works of G. Rossini, F. Halévy, G. Donizetti, G. Verdi with 20 recordings from 1906 to 1953.
The House of Music has also produced two CDs containing historical interpretations of Verdi's operas, the first “Interpreti a confronto” (Comparing Interpreters) takes as example three of the most famous Maestro’s arias ("La donna è mobile" from Rigoletto. "Ah si, ben mio" from Il Trovatore; "If I were the Warrior ...Celeste Aida " from Aida) interpreted by world -renowned opera singers, the second (1913 the first Verdi Festival) allows to listen to the voices of the protagonists of the first Verdi celebrations in Parma and Busseto recorded at that time on 78 rpm records