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“Instrument of the devil,” legendary violin comes to Columbus

Laura Dachenbach

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He was so good that people believed he had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his virtuosic talents. In fact, for 36 years after his death, his body was denied burial, so convinced was the general public that Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840) was in league with Satan. The violinist was known for composing works of such extraordinary difficulty that only he could play them. His odd appearance, frequent illnesses, and many vices only reinforced Paganini’s diabolical reputation.

Paganini began playing the violin at the age of seven. When he was 15, he sold his expensive Amati violin to pay off a gambling debt. An amateur violinist and businessman gifted Paganini with a neglected Guarneri Del Gesu violin, constructed in 1743. The young musician named the instrument “Il Cannone” (the cannon) for its unparalleled powerful and resonant sound and played it for the rest of his life. Today the violin is housed at the Musei di Strada Nuova, Palazzo Doria-Tursi in Genoa, Italy, the city where its owner was born.

The now-276-year-old violin continues to enthrall audiences. It has been played by Shlomo Mintz, Joshua Bell, jazz violinist Regina Carter, and the yearly winner of each Premio Paganini contest.

This spring, the Devil’s Violin will seduce the modest Midwest right here in Columbus.

For a week in May, Il Cannone will be exhibited at the Columbus Museum of Art. On Wednesday of that week, it will be played in concert with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Rossen Milanov. Selections for the concert include the overture to Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, the Pas de action from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the meditation from Thaïs by Massenet, and works composed by Paganini himself.

Sameen Dadfar, Program Manager with Greater Columbus Sister Cities International has been working on Il Cannone as a cultural project for over two years, supported by Columbus City Council.

“It all started in 2015. Councilmember [Priscilla] Tyson led a delegation of young professionals to Genoa that year, and among the many activities they did, they got to see the violin be performed.” A discussion began about whether the violin could be traveled to Columbus as part of a sister city relationship with Genoa. The initial answer was a firm no.

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“The violin very rarely leaves Genoa. It’s only been [in the US] in New York and San Francisco before. So Columbus is kind of something that we had to work towards,” explained Dadfar. “We’re working very closely with the Columbus Museum of Art and the Columbus Symphony so that we can make sure the violin is taken care of.”

In addition to the exhibition and concert, the film Strad Style will be showcased at the Gateway Film Center. A winner at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Strad Style is a documentary of Columbus native Daniel Houck who, through the medium of YouTube videos, becomes a self-taught violin maker on a quest to craft a concert-level replica of Il Cannone. Much of the story takes place in Houck’s run-down Ohio farmhouse. Houck will be available for a talkback after the showing.

Because of its history with a most unusual owner, Il Cannone has acquired an almost mystical presence in the world of music. Today many speculate Paganini had Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder which was responsible for his long, thin fingers, and unusually flexible joints, endowing him with the ability to perform violin techniques thought physically impossible, and therefore, the product of the Devil’s powers. But the violin’s witching power lies in more than its history. Like a fine wine, Il Cannone has improved with time. 

“As opposed to modern-day instruments, the biggest difference is that the Il Cannone has had hundreds of years to open up. The wood ages, becomes more complex, softens, etc.,” explained CSO Concertmaster Joanna Frankel, who will play Il Cannone in concert. “The sound that players produce on this instrument affects the structure and timbre, allowing the wood to mold over the years to sound  and time.”

What has taken years to plan across two continents will culminate in just a brief time of rehearsal and performance for Frankel. 

“I will have only limited minutes to practice on this instrument, to unlock its mysteries and ‘wake it up’ so to speak, as it is mostly these days on view in a glass case at Genoa’s Palazzo Tursi. I’m excited for the challenge, and also extremely humbled to become one of the few violinists in history to perform on this instrument.”

Il Cannone will be on display at the Columbus Museum of Art from May 10th to May 19th. See columbusmuseum.org for details. The violin will be played in concert on May 15th at the Ohio Theatre. See columbussymphony.com. 

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Getaways

Want to get away? Southwest making it cheap

614Now

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Southwest Airlines is hoping that enough of you are close to feeling safe to leave the house for more than a trip to the grocery store. In a bid to jumpstart their flagging business, Southwest has announced some pretty steep ticket discounts - as low as $49 each way to a host of cities departing from Columbus.

Flights must be booked at least 14 days in advance and travel must happen between May 26 and August 31. Most expect Ohio's 14-day travel quarantine rule to expire by August but be sure to take that into account if you decide to hop on a plane.

Some of the cities and deals we have imagined for you include:

A long weekend in Atlanta: $118 per person roundtrip from Friday, Aug 14 - Sunday the 16th. Keep in mind, it's about 100 degrees in ATL this time of year so be sure to have access to a body of water if you go.

A patriotic, weekend protest in Washington DC: $98 per person roundtrip, 4th of July weekend. See the sights (if they're open to the public) and stand somewhere with a sign with whatever outrage you have in mind.

A long 4th of July beach weekend in Ft. Lauderdale: $198 per person roundtrip from July 3-6 and you can stay at this cute Airbnb apartment that's just one block from the beach for $88/night.

Vegas baby! You're going to have to forget the weekends if you want the great flight deal. But we found August 5-7 available for $198 a person. Plus you can get into the Bellagio for $139 /night right now as an added bonus. Two nights of debauchery, a little gambling and some of the best restaurants in America. What could go wrong?

Of course, traveling may be risky business for some people and this all assumes the respective cities and attractions re-open and are relatively safe. But if you just need to get away, it's probably never been cheaper.

See other flight options here.

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Food & Drink

¡Ándale, check out these 12 Cinco de Mayo fiestas!

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It's hard to imagine a Cinco de Mayo without the traditional tequila-induced hangover. Even though you may not be able to sip those margaritas on a sunny patio or at the bar, local restaurants have figured out a way to help you celebrate at home - margaritas included. Here's the not-so-skinny on living out your tequila and enchilada-fueled dreams.

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In order to bring a bit of normalcy back, we've teamed up with @hornitostequila and @daiquiri_daze_popup to open our doors back up for the day and serve a limited offering of some of the faves for Cinco de Mayo. Offerings include but are not limited to our basic-cable famous salsas and Columbus' most missed margs. A party pack for four will include a Spotify playlist and that good Cosecha pebble ice that MIGHT JUST help to make you feel like you're celebrating on our patio. Online pre-orders will start sometime tomorrow at www.toasttab.com/cosecha-cocina/v3 and go to the day of. Walk-in’s are also welcome! Stay safe Columbus. We miss you dearly. Thank you so, so much for your continued support and we'll see you on the other side. Offerings: • Margaritas - Single (Comes with Salt, Lime, and Pebble Ice) - Traditional - Hornitos Reposado, Dry Curacao, Fresh Lime, Agave $8 - Next Episode - Hornitos SIlver, Dry Curacao, Hibiscus, Habanero, Lime $8 • Chips and Salsas $4 Koki's Chips, Roasted Tomato and Mint and Tomatillo-Avocado salsas Single/Extra Salsa $2 • Sage Margarita Jell-O Shot $2 • Cinco De Mayo Pack for 4 $40 (4) Margaritas of your choice, (2) Orders Chips and Salsas, (4) Jello-O Shots, Spotify Playlist, Ice, Limes, Salt, Super Cool Cactus Decanter • Chicken Tinga Taco Kit for 2 $20 (Pre-Order Only) Chicken Braised in Mild Red Chillies, Corn Tortillas, Avocado Salsa, Pickled Red Onion

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Are you ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? This year our Fiesta is at your house with our 5 de Mayo Fiesta Combo 🇲🇽 You can get a combo for 2 or 4 Amigos! Each Amigo gets: • One Queso or Guacamole with fresh chips and Salsa 🧀 🥑 • Three Tacos of your choice (Shredded chicken, ground beef, or Al Pastor)🌮 • Two Lime or Flavored Margaritas We will be also dropping some 5 de Mayo T-Shirts inside some orders as a gift! But you can support our team by purchasing one for $10! *Promo available on 5/5/20 all day. Pick up only • • #eat614 #columbusfoodie #columbusfoodscene #topcolumbusrestaurants #614magazine #614eats #buckeyes #happyhour #mexicanfood #margarita #girlsnightout #tacos #guac #collegegirls #collegelife #restaurant #margarita #asseenincolumbus #college #campus #columbusfoodscene #columbusohio #osugrad #ohiostate #socialdistancing #quarantine #quarantinelife #cincodemayo #togetherasbuckeyes #osugrad

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Flanagan’s has your Saturday night covered with unique drive-in concert

Mike Thomas

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With the usual slate of summer festivals and events cancelled due to the pandemic, we're going to have to get creative if we want to have any fun at all in the weeks to come. In that spirit, the team at Flanagan's Pub in Blacklick is hosting a special drive-in concert this Saturday, May 2, that offers a good time from the relative safety of your own vehicle.

Described as "Sonic, meets drive in movie, meets live concert" on the Flanagan's Facebook page, this special event running from 6PM-9PM on Flanagan's north lawn will feature live music from artist Brad Moore, with full service carry-out food from the pub also available.

Upon arrival, drivers will directed to the field north of Flanagan's parking lot. Attendants will be on hand aid with parking, and to ensure that a proper space is left between vehicles to promote social distancing. From there, servers wearing gloves and masks will deliver a single use menus to each vehicle and handle all carryout orders. Then, it's just a matter of kicking back to enjoy the show (but please take note: Flanagan's requests that all guests at this event remain in their vehicle at all times).

To aid in parking when you arrive, Flanagan's has produced this handy map:

Flanagan's is located at 3001 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Rd in Blacklick. For more information, visit Flanagan's on Facebook, or reach them by phone at (614) 855-7472.

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