OMOBONO STRADIVARI 1730
This precious violin was made in Cremona in 1730 by Antonio Stradivari and his son Omobono, expert restorer and carver as certified in the rich documentation accompanying this instrument.
The violin is part of the very limited circle of those defined “having a great voice” built in the Stradivari luthier workshop starting from 1730 for just a few years. Among its many features, particularly appreciated are its excellent preservation state and the large quantity of the original gold-orange-brown paint still present, especially on the bottom.
The scroll, in particular the volute, for its unmistakable stroke and the painstaking finish, is the work of Omobono Stradivari.
Very few samples of his work are still in existence, all cataloged and registered, and they have been – always – the object of eager searches on the part of very well-to-do collectors, but also of renowned concert artists, thanks to its great and never matched phonic and timbric qualities.
One notable owner of an Omobono Stradivari dated 1730 was also Ginette Neveu, winner in 1935 of the competition “Wieniawski” in Warsaw (according to the Russian David Oistrakh).
For her tours, she used both her precious Stradivarius and another violin by Guadagnini.
The instruments were transported in a double case, made to measure and with the special finish of great value.
In addition, there were two bows, one of which model “Fleur-de-Lys” by the renowned British bow makers “W. E. Hill & Sons”.
In the moment of maximum glory, however, the artistic career of Ginette Neveu was brusquely interrupted when, on the 28 October 1949, the Air France Constellation plane that was taking her to New York to conquer Carnegie Hall, crashed on Mount Redondo (island of São Miguel) in the Azores Archipelago.
With her in that tragedy were her brother and inseparable pianist Jean, the famous boxer Marcel Cerdan (Edith Piaf’s lover) and the other 45 people.
A committee of inspectors immediately sent to the spot after the accident, managed to find only the empty case covered with scratches and a broken bow. But……
…..at the edge of the village, along a path, the sound of a violin was heard coming out of a shack. They knocked on the door, the noise stopped, an aging man opened the door, he had his instrument in his hands, together with a bow furnished in gold with tortoise scales: “Is this yours? “No, I’ve found it” he answered.
The committee immediately seized the bow, while the very old violin remained between the hands of the man…. (from the novel by Adrien Bosc “Constellation” 2016).
To the question by the luthier Vatelot about the violins, the official answer was :
“Oh, the violin that man was playing was so old and he played it so badly, that it could not possibly be anything important”
(quotation from the article “What happened to Ginette Neveu’s Stradivari?” – The Strad magazine February 2013).
Of the violins, no trace was found, except for the scroll of the Guadagnini violin, identified years later by étienne Vatelot, luthier for Neveu, during the TV show “Le Grand Echiquier”.
(Antenne 2 – 30 June 1982 – youtube tv interview)
Of the Omobono Stradivari, nobody has heard anything since.
MAURO IVANO BENAGLIA & Accademia Concertante d’Archi di Milano
Maestro Mauro Ivano Benaglia, organist, opera singer and orchestra leader, is the President, Director and Conductor of Accademia Concertante d’Archi di Milano, which he founded in 1985.
He personally teaches the choir as well as the orchestra, He both conducts chamber orchestra performances and extraordinary concerts with more than 400 artists.
Maestro Benaglia has directed concerts in the most important Italian theaters and concert halls, in the most beautiful Italian and European cathedrals, and in three editions of the Salzburg Festival, at “Teatro Filarmonico” in Verona, at “Gran Teatro La Fenice” in Venice, at “Teatro Ponchielli” in Cremona, and at “Teatro alla Scala” in Milan.
Thanks to his great experience in the sacred repertoire (achieved during fifteen editions of Concerto Mariano in the Duomo in Milan), and to his charismatic ability as a Conductor, he has often been chosen to organize and conduct “colossal in the cathedrals” in the most beautiful and important Italian churches, with an audience of thousands of people, such as the “Requiem” by Giuseppe Verdi in 2001 in Milan, with an audience of more than 10,000 people and two maxi-screens outside the cathedral.
Many Italian and international companies (Bayer Mondo Pharmaceutica, Elior/Avenance ristorazione, Generali, Cattolica, Pagine Gialle, Xerox, Mercedes, Breguet Watches) have supported ACAM ‘s activity; in this way, the associated their brand without project “ A Stradivari for the people “, whose aim is to promote and widespread the Italian musical excellence, a symbol of Italian style and quality all over the world.
Since 2015 the Rockefeller foundation-Bellagio center has appointed Maestro Benaglia artistic director of the Masterclass “A Stradivari for young people”, which aims to promote and enhance the best Italian talented musicians.
He has been awarded the Military Cross of the Knights of Malta, and of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George. Moreover, he is the Conductor of the Orchestra and Choir of the Sovereign Order of Malta (Italian Department). This Ensemble, made up of 80 musicians, plays and sings during the most prestigious religious ceremony and promotes charitable activities.
Maestro Benaglia and ACAM organized a memorable tour in the United States in 2013 ( year of the Italian culture in the USA), patronaged by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, with concerts in 13 different States.
Moreover, ACAM with Its project “A Stradivari for the people “ performed in many other nations: St. Petersburg ( Russia), Malta, and Vienna, in the gorgeous “Musikverein”, Vienna.
Maestro Benaglia has received the prestigious “Paul Harris” from the Rotary Club.
LORENZO MERAVIGLIA , violinist
He is a young virtuoso of great talent, he has been called by a Maltese newspaper “A rising star”; thanks to his artistic abilities and his virtuoso skills, Lorenzo Meraviglia has been chosen by Accademia Concertante d’Archi di Milano to be the leader and protagonist of the project “A Stradivari for the people”, which aims to make the public aware of the merits of the violins built by Antonio Stradivari, the greatest and best luthier of all times. Stradivari and his instruments represent the cream of Italian music and Italian culture all over the world.
Lorenzo Meraviglia was born to a family of musicians – his mother is a music teacher and a piano player. From the age of five, he had shown extraordinary talent and great sensitivity to music, heralding a brilliant and successful career.
He succeeded in graduating at the Conservatorio (music academy) in Milan at the age of 18. He has attended master sessions with Berman and Gay and has successfully attended masterclasses held by world-wide famous artists (Fornaciari, Manara, Rizzi).
Before being 20, Lorenzo Meraviglia had already recorded for Radio Classica, Cremona tv, Studio 1 and has played in the most important cathedrals and concert halls in Dubai (Emirates), La Valletta (Malta), Milan, Assisi, Parma, Piacenza, Como, Torino, and Messina.
He has played many prestigious Stradivari instruments, just to mention the precious “Omobono Stradivari” 1730-1740 in many important events (in the Italian cathedrals of Piacenza, Reggio Emilia Pavia Lodi, and Carpi).
He has recently performed as a soloist in two very prestigious concert halls: Carnegie Hall (New York), and Musikverein (Vienna). Other international success in St. Petersburg, Russia, Malta and Buffalo (USA).
He came on important Radio and tv shows (GEO RAI 3, RETE 55, RAI RADIO 1, OS 1), he has been awarded the honorary citizenship of his hometown (San Vittore Olona, near Milan), and with the prestigious “Paul Harris Fellow” for his charity activities (AISM, CCSVI, UILDM, CISOM).
Lorenzo loves playing music from the Romantic repertoire, and he constantly devotes himself to the discovery of forgotten or unedited scores, playing them in world première. Next to future concerts are being planned in Switzerland, Austria, USA, and Malta.
He usually plays a violin Giò Giorgio Tanningard 1743 and a violin Mattio Gofrilleri 1695 (lent by the prestigious America collection Petersen, Los Angeles), and Stradivari violins of great value (Antonio Stradivari 1667, and Omobono Stradivari 1730-40).
Coro dell’Accademia – Milan, ITALY – Choir master: Mauro Benaglia
Coro Vallongina – Piacenza, ITALY – Choir master: don Roberto Scotti
Schola Cantorum Ars Nova – Cerro Maggiore (Milan) , ITALY – Choir master: Mauro Benaglia
Corale Polifonica San Leonardo Murialdo – Milan, ITALY – Choir masters: Adriano Bianchi, Fabio Mancini
Laura Colombo, Oriana Castelo, Annamaria Doperti, Stefania Cassiani, Adriano Bianchi, Fabio Bonelli
Accademia Concertante d’Archi di Milano
Lorenzo Meraviglia, violin (Omobono Stradivari 1730/40);
Gianmarco Andreoli, violin;
Stefano Rocca, violin;
Alessandro Margherita, viola;
Riccardo Marelli, cello;
Paolo Cocchini, doublebass
Mauro Ivano Benaglia
Read a special article on Fantasia Veneziana Magazine
Photographer Karl M Lee