These strange, coronavirus-dominated times have forced everyone in the music world to figure out creative ways to share their talent, in the absence of live performances. Guitarists such as Jan Depreter and Pablo Sainz Villegas are just two of what are no doubt many fine players who have taken to Facebook to perform regularly for free for anyone with an internet connection.
In Italy, Duo Gramaglia-Attademo—Florence-based guitarist Luigi Attademo and violist Simone Gramaglia; they’ve been playing duets among their other projects since 2012—have gotten “together” in their separate spaces to make this lovely video of their transcription of the world-famous tenor aria Nessun Dorma (“Let no one sleep”) from the opera Turandot, by Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924), libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. Actually, Turandot was unfinished at the time of Puccini’s death and was completed by Franco Alfano in early 1926—it premiered at the renowned Teatro alla Scala in Milan in late April of that year, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. In recent times, Nessun Dorma has perhaps been most closely associated with tenors Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and Andrea Bocelli, but it has been performed by many, many singers and musicians, from soul legend Aretha Franklin to electric guitar wizard Jeff Beck to cellist Stjepan Hauser; there are hundreds of performances on YouTube alone!
Anyway, we were struck by the beauty of this guitar-viola performance! The Duo have put out one album together, the 2015 Brilliant Classics release Paganini Music for Viola and Guitar. —Blair Jackson