Sunday, February 18, 2018

LOCAL COLOR

Norman Mailer once called Truman Capote "the most perfect writer of my generation." In the nine essays collected in Local Color, Capote's first non-fiction book, he first displays the creative shift from fiction to reportage that ultimately produced his masterpiece - In Cold Blood (1965).
Written from 1946-50, in pieces Capote later described as "a written geography of my life," Hollywood, New York, Brooklyn, Haiti, Europe, Ischia, Tangier, Spain and his native New Orleans are portrayed in the shimmering prose that became Capote's legacy - a style that proves "extraordinarily straightforward, clean and cool… his early Local Color portraits… have the clear shine of a well-polished mirror" (New York Times).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

IT STARTED IN NAPLES


LA GROTTA DI TROFONIO

This La Grotta di Trofonio was a rehash, after a few months, of Salieri’s work of the same name, staged at the Burgtheater in Vienna in October 1785. The subject is drawn by Greek mythology, like two other operas by Paisiello, Antigona and Il Socrate immaginario. It is a satire of human credulity that blind faith in people with alleged magical powers. In Paisiello the story takes on a Mediterranean flavour and a comic flair: the opera was a real surprise, pleasant and fun, with a well-curated production.
The cave is a clear a metaphor for change and rebirth, as are the great books arranged on stage, which also functions to define the space and to create a physical connection with our cultural background; every now and then, Greek philosophers and modern thinkers are alluded to in the libretto.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

NAPOLI ARAGONESE

On February 26, 1443, Neapolitans witnessed an event which was to be crucial in the history of their city, namely the triumphal entry of Alfonso I "el Magnanimo", first Aragonese king of Naples.
The most obvious consequence of the interest of the two sovereigns in music was the expansion of the Cappella Reale. Already by 1451, the Royal chapel was the largest in Italy, comprising a minimum of 21 singers, 2 organists, 1 organ builder, 5 boys and 2 maestri di capella.
Many of the musicians came from the Aragonese chapels of Spain. Including the non-singing clerks and the boys, numbers in the chapel in 1498 reached 44. In 1494, for the coronation of Alfonso II, a Neapolitan chronicler recorded the presence of 46 'schiate' and 10 'bifare' cornets, not to mention 12 drums together with lutes, harps and sackbuts. Of particular renown were the many court organs set in the 'music rooms' specially built in Castelcapuano, in Castelnuovo and in the Capella di Santa Barbara.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

THE SORROW OF MANKIND


POMPEII FOOD AND DRINK PROJECT

Would you like to investigate what daily life was like in the early Roman empire?
Have you read novels about the last days of Pompeii and want to know more?
Would you like to walk the streets of this ancient city with experts who know its history, and not as a fleeting tourist?
The Pompeii Food and Drink Project offers an unequaled opportunity to explore the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, Italy, as a research participant in an ongoing noninvasive (that means no digging) study with a staff of historians, architects, and classicists.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

THE LOTUS EATER

Set in 1913, Italy, The Lotus Eater pans the non-conformed life of a man, Thomas Wilson, from the eyes of the narrator, W. Somerset Maugham.
Thomas Wilson left a well-settled life in London to live on an Island of Capri, Italy. The story begins with sunshine, sun-kissed shorelines and a merry way of life.
This story was like a full day—sunshine and night-time. It’s a marvelous description of changing times, ideas, and even colours. What was once pink is now deep red. What was once yellow is now ochre. What was white is now black.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

STANZAS WRITTEN IN DEJECTION NEAR NAPLES

The day is warm, the sky is clear, the waves sparkle. Blue islands and snow-topped mountains look purple in the midday light. Buds are ready to blossom. The sounds of the winds, the birds, the waves, and of Naples itself blend in pleasant harmony. Shelley sees the seaweed on the ocean bottom and watches the waves dissolve into light as they strike the shore. He sits alone on the sand, observing the sparkling ocean and listening to the sound of the waves. How pleasant all this would be if there were someone with whom he could share the emotion he feels.
Shelley was in Naples from November 29, 1818, to February 28, 1819. Naples in winter offers a pleasantly warm climate. Naples is at its best, so far as weather is concerned, and Shelley and his wife, Mary, should have been happy there. However, Shelley was in poor health and the delightful winter climate of Naples did not help him. The major cause of his dejection was not his health but his wife's estrangement from him following the death of their daughter Clara on September 24, 1818.

Monday, December 4, 2017

THE FIERY GENIUS

The central role of Naples in the history of vocal music has so far overshadowed a rich tradition of instrumental music; only in recent years has musicological research begun bringing it to light once more, demonstrating that Naples also played a crucial role in the field of instrumental music, no less relevant than other centres more often associated with this repertory, such as Rome and Venice.
Precious gems are unearthed here (including the only solo violin sonata by Giovanni Carlo Cailò, in its first modern recording), and this programme makes many different exponents of Neapolitan instrumental composition accessible to a wider public, from the generation of Pietro Marchitelli (slightly older than Corelli) and Giovanni Carlo Cailò to Francesco Paolo Supriani, Angelo Ragazzi, Nicola Fiorenza and Leonardo Leo – contemporaries of Bach, Tartini and Locatelli, yet who are revealed as possessing a completely different style, at a time when Naples was one of the great European capitals.