One of the world's rarest and most expensive violins visited Edmonton on Thursday, bringing with it more than 300 years of history and a sound unique to its famous maker.
Made in 1715 by famed Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari, the 'ex-Bazzini – De Vito' violin is on tour with Maestro Matteo Fedeli as part of his "A Stradivarius for the People" series of performances.
The violin made its Edmonton debut with Fedeli at the Winspear Centre Thursday evening alongside pianist Emilio De Mercato.
The violin is worth about $16 million and is one of only 60 playable violins made by Stradivari that remain in the world. Stradivari is regarded the finest stringed instrument maker ever.
The light brown 'ex-Bazzini – De Vito' violin requires special care, including slow acclimatization to Edmonton's dry winter air.
With special varnish and the highest quality wood, the violin is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and was made when Stradivari was 61 years old, Fedeli said.
"In this period we have the best sound of violins. Inside the violin, there is all the experience of Stradivari," Fedeli said.
Fedeli is known as "the man of the Stradivari" for being the only person in the world to have performed on 25 of the 60 remaining playable Stradivari violins.
He has been an ambassador for Italian Culture in the U.S. since 2013, and calls Italy home.
His latest tour has brought the rich sound of Stradivari violins to 400,000 people worldwide.
"I believe these instruments can speak and tell something to all the people, not only the people who understand the music, but all the people," Fedeli said.
"These violins can play and speak by the heart of the people, and for this, they're special."