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.
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 […]
September 10, 2020

The Magic Box

It all began when I was a very little boy, so I am told.   I was born in Montreal, one of North America’s oldest cities that held on fast to its European origins while creating its own cosmopolitan way of being. Immigrants, whether Greek, Asian, Eastern European, Italian or whomever, chose not to melt […]