Someone in the Commune di Parma had the bright idea of turning an abandoned sugar factory into a concert hall - eccola Auditorium Paganini Though not in the centre of town its a pleasant 10 minute walk from the Duomo. The sound - from where I was sitting in the front row (more about that later)- was exceptional, a bit of a surprise given the glass and brick construction and high ceiling.
Every Sunday morning during the Verdi Festival there's a free Military Band concert. October 28th it was the Banda Musicale dell'Aernotica Militare (Air Force Band) under a very distinguished looking Partizio Esposito. They gave us an hour of arrangements of Verdi - Forza, Luisa Miller, Nabucco and the Aida Triumphal March plus an encore of Rhapsody Espanol.
When I arrived at 10:50 it looked like there was no way I would get in: there was a crowd of people waiting to be seated and the auditorium looked full. But I decided what the heck and joined the crowd - in true Italian fashion elbowing my way towards the front; and no is wasn't me that knocked that little old lady over - honest. A very attractive but harried young lady finally admitted in groups of 14 and lead us all down to the front two rows - for some reason they had been set aside for latecomers. By the way that accounts for the crotch-level shots of the band - honest.
It was a fun way to spend the morning and I actually got to practice my Italian with a few of the people around me.
The park around the Auditorium is a pleasant green space; the fountains and pool were constructed using the old holding tanks from the factory. Even on a chilly morning there were local families strolling and children playing in the park.
Its an brilliant use of an old facility renovated to serve the community.
(photos taken) 28 ottobre - SS Simone e Guida