The Casa Verdi Rest Home for Musicians in Milan is run by the Giuseppe Verdi Foundation and is home to 60 former professional musicians and 16 music students, according to The New York Times.
Completed in 1899, the building was originally built for musicians who found themselves living in poverty in old age. Today, most of its residents are composers, conductors, singers, orchestral players and music teachers from around the world who simply want to continue their love affair with music.
These aren’t your average aged care residents though.
“They want to be treated not as common guests, but as special guests – as a star,” foundation president Roberto Ruozi says. “We have 60 old musicians and 60 stars.”
The real-life ‘Quartet’
Unlike the fictional characters in the 2012 UK comedy ‘Quartet’, the residents don’t have to host concerts to keep its doors open though.
Instead it’s funded by investments made with the royalties from Verdi’s operas with residents paying on a sliding scale according to their means.
This covers their room, board and medical treatment, plus access to concerts, music rooms, 15 pianos, a large organ, harps and even drum sets.
The home also has another source of funds. In 1998, it decided to open its doors to music students who pay a low rent and share meals with the older musicians, an arrangement that has benefited both.
“We speak about the music, the life, the memories,” one resident says. “It’s lovely to be in this company.”
Play on then.