Three parts to this review: my overall point is that the Duomo is not only a church and feast of high art, it's a vital part of modern life in Siena too.
1/ the Palio Di Siena parade starts here. It's a great vantage point. In August the drappellone is brought into the duomo by the winning contrada - flag parties from the other contradas are there to greet the victors and a Te Deum is sung.
It's an electrifying experience - In fact energy expended is probably enough to power the city for a month.
2/ The sermon at Easter Sunday mass 2002 was also electric. The bishop of Siena spoke powerfully about the dangers of Big Men making war. He spoke of these guys egos. Of the dangers the big men were fomenting. As I listened to this side of the church state debate my mind went to the grand inquisitor and the king's duet in Don Carlos and really how little has changed over the past five hundred years - human nature is human nature.
3/ On the site of new cathedral a performance of Il Trovatore was captivating. (Not my favourite opera but as it is bookended by Rigoletto and Traviata, I won't complain) The scale of ambition in the early C13th to create a cathedral of such volume that the current duomo would simply be a nave is staggering. Anyway the opera was staged on the site , now the piazza.
Rather than buy a seat I stretched out on the marble steps of the duomo to watch my opera under the stars. I joined in the rapturous applause for the anvil chorus and the enterprise in general. Another happy night.
A canny stage hand did pass a bucket for voluntary donations for those like me who had enjoyed the night without buying seats - we all seemed to donate. It was the spirit of the night to do so.
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