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Frost Amphitheater

The Red Violin (1998) tells the story of a mysterious red-colored violin and its many owners. This guide traces its winding path through five distinct historical moments and cultural milieus. See the film with live orchestra on Fri, Dec 8 in Memorial Auditorium.

—Compiled by Francesca Dawis


Nicola Bussotti is a violin maker whos wife, Anna Rudolfi, is pregnant. Anna asks her servant Cesca to foretell her unborn child's future.

The world's earliest and most renowned luthiers—Nicolo Amati, Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guameri, and Antonio Stradivari—were all from Cremona, making it a center of musical instrument manufacturing.

VIENNA, 1793

The violin comes into the possession of Kaspar Weiss, a young but brilliant violin prodigy.

Haydn composed his Apponyi Quartets in Vienna in 1793 just after he made his first visit to London—where, for the very first time, the composer heard his music played for the public rather than in performances restricted to the Esterhazy court.


OXFORD, late 1890s

Frederick Pope comes across the Gypsy procession setting up camp on his estate, as a Gypsy woman plays the violin.

Romani music is mainly instrumental and usually performed on classical guitar and fiddle.


SHANGHAI, late 1960s

In the chaos of China's Cultural Revolution, any ideas or items deemed "bourgeois" are denounced and marked for destruction.

Chairman Mao Zedong initially allowed Western Music in his country, so long as it "served the Chinese, and art served politics." But in the 1960s, Mao became more reactionary in his fear of Western elements.



An appraiser arrives in Montreal and, almost immediately, he notices the Red Violin and believes it may be the legendary lost violin of Nicolo Bussotti.

Canada played a significant role in aiding China's resurgence after the Cultural Revolution. Beginning in the early 1980s, Canadians collaborated with Chinese colleagues in areas such as management, education, agriculture, health, the environment, and higher education teaching.


Related Event: Dec 8
Memorial Auditorium
The Red Violin - Screening with Live Orchestra

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