ist zwar a welcome and inspiriting spectacle

by Sirje

I realized that I missed a fourth of July post, so I decided to use a quote from a Mark Twain 4th of July address of yore instead. For no particular reason and not because that makes up for anything. I know you were all on the edges of your seats, breathlessly checking my blog between hamburgers and helpings of potato salad. I was at a friend’s BBQ, chowing down on homemade sausage and railing against overzealous and misguided anti-immigration laws elsewhere.

Meanwhile, here are a few more Milan pics. First, we have la Scala. I didn’t go in past the front hall– no time, sadly, to see anything.

And this stunning cathedral is across the street.

I went inside. It’s about the size of a large town in Iowa.

Impossible to get the scale of it. In Milan, they do things big.


I snuck behind a tour group (I speak enough Italian to get the gist of things) to find out what this creepy sculpture below is about. Meet Saint Bartholemew.

According to the story of his martyrdom upon which this sculpture is based, St. Bartholemew was skinned alive, accounting for his somewhat sinewy and skinless appearance here. See that lovely draped garment he’s wearing? His skin. The head and feet are in the back.

Interestingly, it’s all an approximation of muscle anatomy, because – if I understood correctly – while the artist was alive, autopsy was not legal, so no source material.

So we have la Scala, the Dom… and there was also an archive, a few other important-seeming buildings, and a big shopping mall. A young woman was sitting under this glass ceiling here playing an electric piano to a growing & rapt crowd. She was fantastic.

After listening to her play for a while, I had to hightail it back to the hotel to pack and get ready for the next audition, which went really well. Auditioning here was like Germany in that they are not afraid to communicate directly with you and really tell you what they think, but there is a joy and warmth here that is not always as apparent in Germany. Even random strangers on the street, in the park. Happiness.