Paul M. Helfrich

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Magnifico! The Musical

Magnifico! The MusicalLorenzo de’ Medici & the Birth of the Renaissance Book and Lyrics by Joanne Helfrich, Music by Paul Helfrich

Just one night at Villa Careggi shapes the world we know today, as Lorenzo de’ Medici and philosopher Marsilio Ficino bring together those among the most influential in the world–Michelangelo Buonarroti, Leonardo Da Vinci, Cassandra Fedele, Niccolo Machiavelli, Amerigo Vespucci,  and more–to discuss love, life, and the course of humankind. Their wide-ranging discussion will shape the course of history, but will they get it all right?

Characters, in order of appearance:

Heinrich Isaac, Successful composer and teacher of the Medici children
Heneba D’Oro, Majordomo of Villa Careggi
Maddalena de’ Medici Cybo, Daughter of Lorenzo and Clarice de’ Medici
Clarice Orsini de’ Medici, Wife of Lorenzo and mother of Maddalena
Niccolò Machiavelli, Young Florentine intellectual and politician
Amerigo Vespucci, Family friend and clerk for the Medici business
Marsilio Ficino, Scholar, philosopher, and teacher of the Medici family
Michelangelo Buonarotti, Young sculptor, sponsored by Lorenzo
Lorenzo de’ Medici (il Magnifico), Magnate, patron of culture, and ruler of the Florentine Republic
Cassandra Fedele, Renowned scholar and speaker
Girolamo Savonarola, Dominican friar and preacher in Florence
Isabella D’Amat0, Astrologer and clairvoyant
Leonardo Da Vinci, Artist, scientist, engineer, and inventor

Setting: Villa Careggi, Tuscany, near Florence. Friday evening November 7, 1491

The songs below are from the Westside Waldorf’s 7th Grade as performed on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

ACT 1 – Total Run Time [34:45]

Scene 1, Magnifico! (Song) [11:47]
The villa is being readied, Isaac starts the music, and our characters arrive for the celebration!

Scene 2, The Discussion Begins
Ficino brings the Platonic Academy to order. Maddalena feels left out and Clarice doesn’t care for any of it.

Scene 3, Cassandra Arrives
The female scholar’s presence generates disagreement. Heneba deals with an emergency.

Scene 4, Savonarola Arrives, Primavera (Song) [3:12]
All are shocked at the hostile Friar’s presence. They portray the philosophy of love in song and dance.

Scene 5, The Discussion Heats up
The group discusses the value of sponsoring art that portrays important ideals. Savonarola does not agree.

Scene 6, Isabella Arrives
The soothsayer rocks their world.

Scene 7, Land of Shadows (Song) [3:50]
Everyone offers ways to prevent certain disaster. Lorenzo and Savonarola confront one another.

Scene 8, Leonardo Arrives
The artist brings his unique perspective to lighten the mood… and dinner is served!


ACT 2 – Total Run Time [33:32]

Scene 1, Carnival! (Song) [6:23]
There’s nothing better than a carnival to ease your worries and your cares.

Scene 2, Blame it on Eve
Ficino gets to the heart of the matter… what assumptions are at work?

Scene 3, Framed! (Song) [4:01]
It’s the ladies’ turn to proclaim.

Scene 4, Leadership Discussion
Lorenzo shares his leadership wisdom. Vespucci shares his vision for trade with new lands.

Scene 5, We’ll Be There (Song) [6:59]
The values of conquest meet those of compassion. Will they find a way to go forward together?

Scene 6, Predictions
Isabella shares her visions of the future, and a warning to Machiavelli.

Scene 7, Denouement
Savonarola and Lorenzo gain special counsel.

Scene 8, Magnifico! Reprise (Song) [2:54]
The characters share their wisdom… and encourage us to find ourselves in beautiful places.

The conversations of Villa Careggi formed the intellectual basis of the Renaissance and influenced art, architecture, literature, science, and politics around the world. Due to its artistic and architectural heritage, Florence, Italy, remains among the world’s most beautiful cities. Villa Careggi still stands today!

…lifting humanity to create balance and harmony…

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I have retired from full time teaching at the Westside Waldorf School in Pacific Palisades, CA effective July 1, 2024.

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