The composer returns to the stage after 2 years: “Everything collapsed for me with the illness
“Suddenly everything collapsed for me”. Giovanni Allevi moves the Ariston theater on the second evening of the 2024 Sanremo Festival. The composer, suffering from myeloma, returns to perform in public on the piano almost 2 years after his cancer diagnosis and the start of treatment. He does this by performing the song ‘Tomorrow’, a look towards the future after a long and difficult journey.
“I haven’t played the piano in front of an audience for almost 2 years. In my last concert at the Konzerthaus in Vienna the pain in my back was so bad that at the final applause I couldn’t get up from the stool and I didn’t know I was sick yet. Then came the very serious diagnosis, I looked at the ceiling with the sensation of having a fever of 39 for a consecutive year. I lost a lot, my job, my hair, my certainties. But not hope and the desire to imagine. It was as if the pain also offered me unexpected gifts“, He says.
“Which ones? I’ll give you an example. Not long ago, during a concert I noticed an empty seat and I felt faint. Yet, for a long time at the beginning I played concerts in front of 15-20 people and I was very happy. Today, after illness, I don’t know what I would give to play in front of 15 people. Numbers don’t matter, because each individual is unique, unrepeatable and infinite in his own way”, he continues.
“Another gift, gratitude towards the beauty of creation. The sunrises and sunsets that I admired from those hospital rooms cannot be counted: the red of dawn is different from the red of sunset and if there are little clouds around it is still more beautiful. Another gift, gratitude and recognition for the talent of the doctors, nurses and all the hospital staff. Gratitude for scientific research, without which I wouldn’t be here to talk to you. Gratitude for the support of my family. The gratitude for the strength, patience and example I receive from other patients. The warriors, that’s what I call them. Maybe we’ll look for another term, but nothing comes to mind. But so are their family members and their parents, the parents of the little warriors”, he says again. “One more gift: when everything collapses and only the essential remains standing, the judgment we receive from the outside no longer counts. What on earth will be a judgment from the outside? I want to accept the new Giovanni”, he says before sitting down at the piano. “How liberating it is to be yourself”, he says. The maestro is conditioned by physical problems: “I have two fractured vertebrae and tremors and tingling in my fingers, a neuropathy. No longer being able to play with my body, I will play with my soul.”