Violins, cellos, mandolins from the scraps of migrants’ boats that carried men and women in search of hope in the Mediterranean crossing. The inmates of the Rebibbia, Secondigliano, Opera and Monza prisons, in the luthiers‘ houses of punishment, have offered a second life to those boats, explains Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori, president of the Fondazione House of the Spirit and the Arts in Milan, which conceived and carried out the “Metamorphosis Project”, in collaboration with the Department of Prison Administration.

“The Orchestra of the Sea”, Mosca Mondadori continues, “is a project that is open to many European artists who accept the challenge of bringing beauty and harmony around against the ideologisation of a major problem. That is why I am grateful to La Scala for giving a voice to the discarded.

These musical instruments can thus be played, bringing with them a culture of knowledge, acceptance and integration through beauty and harmony. We want people, especially the youngest, to get to know and become aware of the drama that migrants, forced to flee wars, persecution, poverty and famine, experience every day in so many countries around the world”.

The date is 12 February 2024 in one of the most prestigious theatres in the world, La Scala in Milan. The Orchestra of the Sea consists of 14 strings.

The proceeds from ticket sales will be used to finance the inmates’ workshops, and not only: at the Centro Astalli in Rome, refugees and refugee women from various parts of the world have also made crosses and sacred objects from the wood of the barges abandoned in Lampedusa.

Father Camillo Ripamonti, president of Centro Astalli, the Jesuit Refugee Service in Italy, emphasises:

“The wood from the boats on which migrants have travelled who, in the absence of legal and safe routes, risk and lose their lives at sea, is worked by those who live the experience of exclusion into tools that generate beauty. To transform discarded wood is to perform a symbolic act that becomes social reconciliation“.