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Antonio Ghislanzoni

Fine writer, singer, writer and poet, characterized by a biting irony …

Antonio Ghislanzoni was born in Barco of Maggianico in November 1824. Few today remember him, a fine singer, writer and poet, characterized by a biting irony and a sense of humor that does not spare criticism of any of the ideas and institutions considered sacred by society. After elementary school, among the childhood companions was the same age Antonio Stoppani, future author of the Bel Paese, entered, by the will of the father director of the city hospital, in the seminary of Castello. But the strict discipline of the institute is however little tolerated by the small Ghislanzoni, who, seventeen, will be expelled for irreverent behavior. Anti-clericalism will remain a constant of its ideology.

Expelled in November of the same year, Ghislanzoni moved to Pavia to finish his high school and enroll in medical school. Realizing that he possessed a beautiful baritone voice, he began to study singing and a few months later he became a first baritone in the theater of Lodi. However he soon abandoned the lyrical scenes for his literary career. His first articles were for the Milan Pictorial Cosmorama. In the same newspaper he published his first novel, The artists from the theater, in which he told part of the adventures he had lived.

The disheveled turn

Antonio Ghislanzoni, writer, journalist and prolific librettist, was the author of novels, novels and about eighty-five opera librettos. His name is linked above all to the libretto of Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, with whom he also collaborated in the revisions of Forza del Destino and Don Carlos, but also for many other composers such as Ponchielli, Gomes and Catalani. Collaborating with numerous magazines and newspapers, he managed to gain a certain notoriety in the Milan cultural life and linked his name to the disheveled environment and to that of the foundation of the minimalist magazine.

Close to Mazzinian political ideas, his collaboration with republican newspapers forced him to take refuge in Switzerland. He was also arrested by the French and deported to Corsica. After the second war of independence, he joined the unkempt group in Milan. His literary production was vast, there were many collaborations with numerous newspapers that host his serial novels, stories, reviews, and various kinds of interventions. But the creative activity itself is not lacking: narrative and poetry. For the poem we remember forbidden book, a great success that will reach the seventh edition.

In the seventies he moved to Barco di Maggianico, where the family came from, and later to Caprino Bergamasco. In the aftermath of his death, a committee was immediately set up that committed itself to raising funds to build a monument. An illustrious adherence to the initiative was that of Giuseppe Verdi, but also of journalists from the Corriere del Sera, Carlo Gomes, Arrigo Boito, Ferdinando Fontana, Mario Cermenati and also Giuseppe Invernizzi, the popular Davide of the “scapigliato” meeting of Maggianico.

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