We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.

Prison-Crafted Instruments Made From Migrants’ Boats Debut At La Scala

By Sara Schabas on February 26, 2024

A violin being made from the Orchestra of the Sea at La Scala.
Orchestra of the Sea made its La Scala (Photo: Fondazione Casa delle Arti e dello Spirito)

Last week, the Orchestra of the Sea made its La Scala debut performing works by Vivaldi, Bach and Kreisler in a project called Metamorphosis. The orchestra plays instruments crafted from the remains of migrants’ boats by inmates at Milan’s opera prison. The Metamorphosis project symbolizes rebirth and rehabilitation for Milan’s prisoners, and honours migrants’ brave attempts to start a new life.

Catch-up: The United Nations reports that since 2014, over 20,000 migrants have died or disappeared while crossing the Mediterranean sea in an ongoing crisis. Prisoners at Milan’s opera prison work for around five hours a day as luthiers, carefully crafting pieces of wood from migrants’ dilapidated boats into world-class instruments under expert instruction. The instruments take around 400 hours to make.

Bottom line: Many prisoners have reported a renewed sense of purpose in their new vocation, as well as a wish to be rehabilitated like the materials with which they work. Musicians in the Orchestra of the Sea were also touched by the dolcezza infinita of the spirit and history of the instruments on which they performed.

Sara Schabas
comments powered by Disqus


company logo

Part of

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy
© 2024 | Executive Producer Moses Znaimer