Italy, Russia team up in musical instrument restoration

National musical museum director hails 'unique' project

(ANSA) - Moscow, January 31 - Italy and Russia have signed an agreement for the creation of the first Russian state center for musical instrument restoration. The partnership has been initiated during a year in which Italy is hosting the Russian Seasons festival and will be the guest of honor at the Saint Petersburg Cultural Forum. The center will be set up with the help of the Stradivari Fund and the Museum del Violino in Cremona. The cooperation project is "unique" ,said Mikhail Bryzgalov, director of Russia's National Music Museum. "The school of Italian restoration," Bryzgalov told ANSA in an interview, "has no equal in the world, especially as concerns the one in Cremona. Russia has one of the most valuable state-owned collections (in the world), with 286 instruments including ones from such Italian legends as Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri. The collection, however, needs care and, unfortunately, restoration skills were lost in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We can now say that we want to rebuild this legacy of knowledge and we want to do it in cooperation with our Italian partners." The aim is urgent since, as Bryzgalov noted, the state-owned collection is not only in glass classes to be shown to museum visitors; the instruments are still used by important musicians of Russia's main theaters, such as the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky. A special relationship has been established between Moscow and Cremona in part because of the exhibition 'The Myth of Stradivari', which will be at Russia's National Museum of Music until April 23.
    "For the first time, noted Bryzgalov, who is taking part in these days in a working group for culture and tourism of the Russian-Italian Council for Bilateral Cooperation in the Italian capital, "15 instruments created by Italian geniuses can be found in a single place: 10 from our collection and 5 from the Museo del Violino." A trial run for the restoration project was work on the Santo Serafin violin and Pietro Guarneri's violoncello - both from the 18th century - done by experts in Cremona. "It is nice to see how culture always manages to go beyond political and economic issues," Bryzgalov said. "This year over 255 events in 44 Italian cities are planned as part of the Russian Seasons festival." He added that "it is extraordinary to see how the Italian public has welcomed Russian culture."