Through the Ultimate Stabat Mater website I got in contact with Claudio Peri in Todi, the city of Jacopone da Todi in Italy (Umbria). Claudio Peri is an emeritus Professor of Food Science from the University of Milan. He and his wife Theresa were born and raised in Todi and have returned to their beloved town in retirement. Since several years Claudio has had a passion for Jacopone da Todi,. He even has created an extensive website, in Italian, about Jacopone. Due to a lot of research into the life and poetry of Jacopone, Claudio became convinced Jacopone is the poet of the Stabat Mater. He also translated the Latin Stabat Mater text into Italian. Thank goodness the Jacopone website will be translated in English soon!
A few years ago Claudio invited me to visit Todi and after the covid-19 pandemic I did indeed visit this beautiful place. Me and my friend Simon, we had a lovely week in Todi. Claudio has been a perfect host and guide. We learned a lot about the history of Todi and made brilliant tours through the medieval city. His wife and his daughter hosted us for lunch in his house and garden with a magnificent view on the Tiber. He was telling many stories about the life and poetry of Jacopone, how he was excommunicated, locked up and chained -to his wrists and ankles- in the underground prison of the convent of San Fortunato for signing a manifesto against Pope Boniface VIII. He even showed us the chains!
With Claudio we also visited Collazone, the church and small convent of the Poor Clares where Jacopone was housed after his release and where he died three years later on Christmas Eve of 1306. During an Italian dinner in the monastry of Collazone Claudio recited one of Jacopones Laudes: Amore, amore che si m’hai fcrito (Love, Love, of naught but Love my tongue can sing). I was impressed and moved by the stories of Claudio about Jacopones mission for humanity, humility and above all Love. For the future I hope there will be a collaboration between his activities for Jacopone and the Ultimate Stabat Mater website Foundation.
In my Stabat Mater CD collection I discovered Ode to Jacopone, a laude from Jacopone (followed by the plain song Stabat Mater) sung by the Irish Noirin Ni Riain, in a way that reminds me strongly of the Irish group Clannad. I love it. Please listen: