The stage at Palazzo Corsini

… and announcing AHA’s new Musical Scholarship.

It was a play about a film about a play.  Who could imagine a more delicious cultural sandwich?  And so it was at the New Generation Festival we watched Henry V*, set to the music of Sir William Walton, recollecting Olivier’s film of 1944.   The film raised the spirits of war-damaged Britain using the patriotism of Shakespeare’s rousing play.  It was both wonderful and unique. The evening before we heard the very definition of a virtuoso violin performance from Charlie Siem as he played Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 35, once said to be unplayable. The finale to the whole festival was Mozart’s Don Giovanni, described by Wagner as “one of the three best things ever made”.

AHA went to see all this last week.  Charlie Winton and Lavinia Harrington organised a brilliant course for every generation.  There were grandchildren, daughters, grandparents all enjoying Florence by day and music by night.  It was a complete cultural and social experience for everyone.  A sort of cerebral nirvana.  For those who already know Florence, there was a timetable of esoteric visits, including midwifery in the Renaissance at the Ospedale degli Innocenti.  There was Michelangelo’s anatomy delivered by surgeon Ken Wise and a private view of the Corsini Palace.  And littered amongst high culture Lavinia organised ice cream making, swirly oil-painted paper making and pasta making.

Maybe it all seems a bit much, but if you should ever want to take a family trip where every generation has something to do and people to meet, of like minds, then let AHA mark your card for 28thAugust, 2019.  It was the most elevating experience.  I watched my teenagers study Caravaggio in the morning, climb Florence cathedral dome in the afternoon and stand applauding Charlie Siem in the evening. During the interval they talked about ‘their favourite bit’ to complete strangers as we queued for dinner. I saw them grow a little taller to appreciate the wonderful world of culture. The perfect antidote to rote exam learning.

Nick Ross

The New Generation Festival was founded two years ago as an alternative to Glyndebourne.  It is unashamedly youthful.  All the creatives are under 35 in a show case for youth from around the globe. After the main musical event, small concerts spring up around the wonderful gardens of the Palazzo Corsini and as the night wears on, the music gets younger and younger from jazz to rap.  AHA is a proud Patron and Angel Sponsor.

We are delighted to announce that, for 2019, AHA will be offering two musical scholarships for young students, for a new composition which may be performed in front of a panel of judges. The winner will gain a place on the 2019 “Florence with a Twist” Course.  Keep your eyes peeled and your ears pricked for further information.

*Full staging of William Shakespeare’s Henry V set to Sir William Walton’s Henry V: A Shakespeare Scenario performed live with additional music by Tom Recknell