Author: Hershey Felder

Hershey Felder is a pianist, actor and producer known for his portrayals of classical and American composers on the theatrical stage. Canada born to European parents and with a European heart, Felder is a proud resident of Florence.
June 17, 2021

Backstage at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is legendary. It takes its name from the age-old Florentine May holidays, when nobility and civilians alike would decorate all of Florence with spring blooms to the floating sounds of musicians playing as they danced down the lungarni and the winding streets of an ancient city, always alive.        […]
May 13, 2021

The artists among us: Daniel Graves

The longer I live in Florence, the more convinced I am that there is some unusual magic in this place where artistic souls have not just passed through for millennia, but have come and remained, their souls still hovering among us. There’s Dante, before his exile, sitting on his Sasso, his stone by the Duomo, […]
April 12, 2021

From baccalà to Sant’Ambrogio

It was only a summer and a half ago, when our current times were unimaginable. The dozen guests arrived for dinner alfresco on the terrace overlooking Florence, floating mystically down in the valley, bathed in a lavender light.         How proud I was to serve my Tuscan meal. Fettunta, to start. Neighborhood […]
March 2, 2021

The power of Puccini: Gianni Schicchi and Dante

It was a grey wintry afternoon in a 1980s Montreal. The snow was piled high and the streets had developed a dirty sludge, but there, on a street called Sherbrooke, on a towering wall of stairs high above the mess of the street sat the copper-green Queen Victoria, scepter in hand, guarding her pride and […]
February 15, 2021

A Santo Spirito lunch with Andre Thomas Halyard

Lockdown red became careful orange before turning to a liberal yellow, and a midday stop at an osteria once again became a possibility. I enter Osteria di Santo Spirito, at the upper right tip of the piazza, and ask if the fellow I’m meeting has arrived. A finger points to a table in the corner […]
February 1, 2021

The Great Synagogue and the Jewish Community of Florence

Standing on the piazzale Michelangelo on a painterly grey afternoon, I see an oxidized green dome not quite towering above the rest, just being “present”. I wonder about its construction, for it isn’t a Russian onion dome and it isn’t a Brunelleschi-shaped cupola, yet there is a statement of humility to it, but a statement […]
January 17, 2021

In mourning for her city

  Mystically, she appears, as if a former century had suddenly folded back its hidden portal. Quietly she stands there beneath the blue-gold Florentine sky, poised in her black silk ruffled gown from another time. Her blue eyes are like lamps as they take in her city: the Duomo, Santa Croce, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio. She […]
December 5, 2020

Our great Tchaikovsky

It was June of 2013, I was appearing on stage in southern California in the role of George Gershwin and making Florence home was still a dream. A group of Russian producers came to see me perform this “son of Russian immigrants,” who “made a Lady out of Jazz” with his Rhapsody in Blue and […]
November 1, 2020

Encountering Zeffirelli again

    The road to a mystical Florentine moment began in my hometown of Montreal. I was still a teenage pianist and I had just learned that Fryderyk Chopin, the perfect piano composer had said, “If you really want to give the piano a soul when you play, listen to great singers of opera and […]
October 3, 2020

The chef and the musicians: Jeff Thickman and Igor Polesitsky

  In this enchanted city of Florence, it isn’t just the art, it’s the artists, where meeting one might lead to meeting two, or four, and then, as if by some magical Medici potion, seven might just find themselves on a Tuscan hilltop on a mid-September afternoon, where the dry heat of summer has given […]