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Articles by: Samantha Janazzo

  • Festival Verdi Parma and Busseto, 2017
    Art & Culture

    The Festival Verdi 2017 Celebrates an Opera Sensation

    Giuseppe Verdi was a 19th century Grand Maestro and one of the most distinguished opera composers in history. Held at the same level of attainment as Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini; Verdi dominated the opera scene with his unwavering demonstration of sympathy and compassion in his work. 

    The Festival Verdi creates a tour that honors his succeess with 25 days of opera premieres, productions, special events, meet and greets, and so much more. Each year it tours through the enchanting towns of Parma and Busseto, lands that were cultivated by Verdi’s talent, and places where he built the foundation of his international musical success. The main shows for 2017 include Jérusalem, La Traviata, Stiffelio, Falstaff, and Messa da Requiem at the Teatro Regio di Parma and other locations.

    Dr. Anna Maria Meo, director of the prestigious Teatro Regio di Parma, comments on the many new additions that will make this festival better than ever before; which starts at the end of September and ends late October. In order to ensure that Verdi’s origins are recognized while focusing on utilizing the best of the energy, funds, and people for this international event, Meo has appointed a new scientific committee, the creation of the Association Internal Friend of Festival Verdi, and membership to Opera Europa.

    Jérusalem, directed by Hugo De Ana with the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini and the Choir of the Teatro Regio di Parma, will initiate the festival and take place at the Teatro Regio di Parma. They will have one showing in September and three encore performances in October.

    La Traviata plays the next day at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi Busseto and has co-produced with Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Fondazione Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano and Trento, and the Landestheater Coburg with seven encores in October.  Andrea Bernard is recognized for the award winning set designs that enhance the invigorating opera production.

    Parma welcomes opera director Graham Vick to the Teatro Farnese for the first time for the debut of Stiffelio to play a total of four shows in September and October. Stiffelio has been selected to showcase on the 1600s wooden theatre in front of a standing audience with free range to move freely, this provides benefits for the acoustics as well.

    Messa da Requiem will perform twice in October at the Teatro Regio by the Filmarmonica Arturo Toscanini with the Choir of the Teatro Regio di Parma. Daniele Callegar is the conducted of this renowned operatic production.

    Falstaff is scheduled to be the final Verdi Festival masterpiece, with a showing at the Teatro Regio. Jacopo Spirei is responsible for the staging, Nikolaus Webern for set, and Silvia Aymonino for costumes, the collaboration will deliver a strong finale of the 2017 Festival Verdi.

    The Verdi Gala will conclude this celebration of the operatic arts in honor of the 150th anniversary of Arturo Toscanini and the 204th birthday of the Grand Maestro to take place in the Teatro Regio. Famous arias and pieces from his operas by the orechestras and soloists will complete annual production.   

    New York City has joined in on the excitment, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò will host an Opera Screening of Verdi's Giovanna D'Arco from the 2016 Verdi Festival in Parma.

  • The LA Film Fest strives to recreate the stardom of Dean Martin
    Art & Culture

    LA Italia Film Fest to Commemorate Dean Martin

    The LA Italia Film Fest in Hollywood honors Dean Martin, the legendary Italian-American famous for his sultry singing voice, comedic charm, and good looks. To pay proper homage to the 100-year anniversary of Martin’s birth, the festival, hosted in the Hollywood and Highland Center, is screening a film retrospective accompanied by several musical performances in his memory.

    Born Dino Paul Crocetti to an Italian father and Italian-American mother in Ohio, he spent most of his adolescence working in speakeasies delivering black-market liquor and dealing games of blackjack. His upbringing polished his future character as Dean Martin, the cocktail swilling, cigarette smoking, Las Vegas game show hosting phenomena that charmed the world into falling in love with him and his work.

    His speakeasy connections put him in contact with musical promoters yielding his first label, “Which Way did my Heart Go” that gained speed in 1946. His sell out musical comedies in Atlantic City with comedic genius Jerry Lewis not only caused national recognition, but an 11-year business partnership that yielded 16 movies together, and a remarkable friendship.

    Dean Martin along with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop comprised “The Rat Pack.” Together they formed the Hollywood social scene and ruled the Las Vegas strip. Commemorated at the LA Italia Film Fest will be their movies such as Ocean's Eleven, Robin and the 7 Hoods, and Sergeants 3.

    Martin also starred in a variety of western movies with John Wayne such as “Rio Bravo” where he played a character named “Dude." He even received a Golden Globe nomination for his 1960 acting performance in “Who is that Lady?”

    His other musical hits include “That’s Amore,” “Memories are Made of This,” and “Ain’t that a Kick in the Head.” Dean Martin was more than a silky voice with playboy characteristics that employed all aspects of the “politically incorrect” times of the mid to late 1900s. He was an Italian American, an icon who made those around him admire and accept the immigrants from the boot we know and love.

    He consistently incorporated his Italian heritage into the American pop culture of his time, the culture in which he had such a great say. Italian-Americans had a sense of pride for Martin’s success. This is why the LA Italia Film fest is honoring the life of Dean Martin, a great Italian-American whose memory lives on today.

  • View of the Colosseum from the Roman Forum
    Art & Culture

    4 Roman Sites to Form an Archaeological Park

    Exciting opportunities are ahead for the remains of Ancient Rome. In order to ensure the highest level of preseravtion quality and revenue, the ColosseumDomus Aurea, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum will form one archaeological park under the same management, as opposed to being governed by different branches. Dario Franceschini,  current Minister of Heritage and Cultural Activity and Tourism, is enthusiastically pioneering this project. He explains that autonomous management ensures the highest level of protection and maintenance of these principal landmarks.

    Reforms for better management of the Colosseum have been underway since 2014. This is normal protocol for maintaining cultural ruins and museums. As Franceschini shared, reforms for the Uffizi went though similar management changes, which resulted in immediate revenue increases; therefore, the future of the grand park in Rome looks optimistic. 

    The new management will insure that the revenue of ticket sales and government funding go directly to the maintenance of the parks. The Special Superintendency, an independent branch that specializes in accountancy and management, is absorbing the duties of the Ordinary Superintendency. The former's position will be morphed to physically oversee the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Predicted revenue post-transition will be about $150 million euro annually after state funding and ticket sales.

    Another important step includes the selection of a fit director who will be responsible for everything this park entails. This continues the autonomous aspect that has worked well for national parks and museums in the past. The selection process is open internationally and will begin in the near future. 

    Already this transition has caused new improvements, such as increased visitation, better services, and more money in the budget to update the archaeological park. Overall, it is far more practical to have one branch covering all the main historic tourist locations and to treat them as one large park. Geographically the parks are close enough to be considered one. Fiscally Rome will control the revenue of the parks as a whole, and put money towards important structural and aesthetical repairs. 

  • Clothing line associated with the Ducati Diavel Diesel
    Art & Culture

    Ducati Tears Up Runway at Men's Fashion Week

    The luxury motorcycle manufacturers at Ducati collaborated with the creative design team at Diesel, a rugged Italian clothing company, for Milan Men’s Fashion Week 2017. The dyanamic duo created a killer limited edition matte-black and leather inspired bike called the Ducati Diavel Diesel plus a new apperel collection that is any biker's dream.

    The trademark rebellious leather and denim clothing brand combines attractively with the recognizable body shape of the Ducati Diavel to form a unique, stylish, and intimidating retro-futuristic motorcycle. Though Diesel’s advertising has been known to push the limit, and is often criticized, Ducati embraces the originality of the carefully crafted reputation to generate a “never look back” vibe for the newly released cruiser- and it’s one hell of a combination. 

    The Ducati Diavel Diesel sports a mesmerizing dark hand brushed steel fuel tank cover, headlight, and passenger seat with small luminous accents of red and black. The combination of metal and leature are signature to the Diesel design label. Five chain links trail along the front brake calipers while red LCD lights illuminate the instrument panel. A Diesel logo is embedded in the center cover making a bold statement in red. The genuine leather seat bears the exclusive Diavel form while simultaneously staying true to the edgy Diesel feel.

    The bike’s exhaust system finishes the look, enticing both tasteful fashion clients and bike enthusiasts alike with gunmetal pipes snaking through to the double mufflers off the back. Each minute detail works in tandem to create this intimidating and high fashion design.

    Only 666 bikes were manufactured, a crypitc number choice that specifically targets the post-apocalyptic sense. A ride on this motorcycle feels as though you are escaping the past and speeding to the future. Ducati’s Testastretta 11° Dual Spark motor creates a getaway experience, which has won countless awards on the racetrack for its incredibly fast yet highly manageable ride of pure asphalt and rubber.

    “Only the Brave” is stamped in below the Ducati logo, a statement that encompasses everything this bike’s collaborative design stands for. The unmistakable details are not simply for anyone, they are for those who can handle all that is in store for this fast and fashionable creation. The collaboration is a true work of art and will take the fiery red runway in Milan, accompanied by models dawning the corresponding clothing pieces designed by Diesel, available for sale in April 2017.

  • Art & Culture

    Panini is Praised by Collectors for Sticker Book Changes

    The highly anticipated 56th edition of "Calciatori Figurine 2016-2017" Serie A Soccer Player Sticker Album by Panini is finally available and sporting spiffy new features. Devoted soccer fanatics, old and young alike, excitedly hit local newsstands to get their hands on this year’s 128-page collection.

    The Panini Group specializes in sticker portfolios, bringing together collectors and fans since the early 1960s when Giuseppe Panini began selling rare soccer figurine (stickers attached with glue) with his brother in Modena, Italy. It only took one year for the phenonomen to gain speed, as Panini sold over 3 million stickers his first year in the industry. The multi-million dollar business continues to expand today, showcasing a variety of different sports and athletes.

    On the cover of the 56th edition of Calciatori Figurine is, once again, 1940’s iconic soccer defensive mid-fielder Carlo Parola performing his perfectly executed acrobatic bicycle kick; which earned his legacy as a notorious Italian soccer player. The design team at Panini chose a colorful street-art inspired cover complete with shades of blue, green, yellow and red; but it’s what inside that is truly enticing collectors.

    The stickers are slightly larger this year and contain more detailed information about the players. Along with photographs of the soccer stars, information about their birthplace, preferred foot, and other various stats about their career are included. Another new feature is a star that has been placed on certain player's stickers to indicate whether or not they are on the Italian National Team.

    Panini Italy experimented with new materials like satin, mesh, holograms, metallic topcoats, and holographic trophies in the 2016-2017 edition. The design and marketing team work to constantly take their designs to the next level, maintaining a solid clientele base since the early 1960s.

    Featured in a never before seen section are 11 caricatures of Italian players drawn by collectors. The marketing team of Panini Italy decided to take an artistic approach in adding new content to really hone and grapple with the demands of the new generation of collectors. Innovation and creativity are crucial aspects to the business of collectibles with the proper balance of tradition to keep consumers satisfied and enthusiastic.

    Players have expressed their appreciation and approval for this year’s trading sticker book, though Panini took risks in changing the sticker sizes and adding to the book, it is being received as an overall success. Collectors are eager to add to their growing assortments, some that have been passed down through the years, others that are new and growing in value each day with a story behind each sticker. 

  • Thirteen architects each chose one home to develop their theory

    A Tribute to Roman Countryside at Ierimonti Gallery

    The Ierimonti Gallery in New York City has recently introduced a thought-provoking showcase about contemporary Rome titled “Re-Constructivist Architecture.” Jacapo Costanzo and Giovanni Cozzani have co-curated the exhibition; which was highly promoted by the Scientific Technical Committee of Casa dell'Architettura in collaboration with Consulta Giovani Architetti Roma.

    “Re-Constructivist Architecture” is comprised of thirteen emerging and extremely talented international architectural firms who have embarked to portray their common ideology. Each firm selected one house found from the Roman countryside as a platform for their vision.  The final objective is to both revitalize a specific outlook that trended heavily in the 1980s and to tribute the architectural masterpiece of the homes that dwell upon Rome’s beautiful “campagna” or countryside.

    In the 1980s MoMA showcased an exhibition made up of drawings and short essays called “Deconstructivist Architecture.” This triggered two debates: architects who advocated for the idea of architectural innovation or architects who chose to continue a consistent relationship with previous design theory. 

    Francesca Cigola describes the Re-Constructivist Architecture exhibition as a “design exercise meant as a typological investigation.” Overall, by bringing forth the thirteen houses in this anthropological approach, the architects are seeking to create new debates between innovation and tradition just like those of the MoMA in the 1980s.

    Thus, today at the Ierimonti Gallery, the content is based around an approach that utilizes the Roman countryside to conduct a study based on the architectural subject, viewer, or user. It targets the idea of autonomy plus the overall discipline of the system of design, form, and structure in this residential project.

    The up and coming architects are pushing the architectural limits and creating new debates inspired by those of the past. Looking for debates and contradictions in landscape is anything but a simple task, and this project requires historical and theoretical analyses. Stop by the Ierimonti to see the “Re-constructivist Architecture” to develop your own opinions about the ongoing debate. 

  • Christmas dinner
    Art & Culture

    Christmas Dinner from One Region to the Next

    From Italy’s northernmost cities down to the southern coasts of Sicily, Christmas culinary traditions change from one region to the next, just like the climate. However, one very important commonality connects them all: great food! Panettone, pandoro, seafood, soup, pasta, meat and more keep Christmas spirits bright and appetites satisfied with the world’s merriest holiday. Throughout Italy, the highly anticipated feast production either begins on the 24th or the 25th of December. The activity continues through the 26th for Saint Steven’s day, a National holiday where family togetherness continues with card games and relaxation. 

    Let’s explore a few regions of Italy and the dishes that might be found on the dinner table during Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. One wonderful thing about tradition is its ability to adapt and change year to year and generation to generation. Some of the dishes stated may not be precisely how every holiday specific to the region is celebrated in Italy, but it will provide a general understanding of Christmas cookery.

    Residents of Lombary, depending on their family tradition, celebrate the largest portion of Christmas on the 25th. It is, however, typical to have a lighter meal the previous night. On the dinner table you will find a large golden turkey, or faraona, stuffed with chestnuts, pine nuts, sweetened glazed fruit, that glistens with smeared fresh marmalade. This truly provides the perfect sweet, savory, and salty combination. From the remaining juice of the boiled meat, a gorgeous steaming tortellini soup is prepared that will keep the Italian tradition warm and tasty with each spoonful.

    A Veneto Christmas is a true delight, the large celebration commences with a seafood based Christmas Eve. Baccalà, or cod, is whipped into a decadent fluffy cream and spread on fresh warm bread for an appetizer. Dinner is complete with fresh polenta topped generously with tiny sauteed shrimp and paired with a classic red tomato sauce. Fruity Pandoro with light mascarpone cream will cure all the long awaited Christmas cravings.

    A Christmas in Tuscany usually kicks off midday on the 25th of December. Wide pieces of fresh spaghetti or pasta alla chitarra is accompanied by a large serving of fresh ragù that has simmered and reduced on the stove, warming the house for hours with the delicious aroma of the authentic meat sauce. Lamb or wild boar cook in the oven until golden brown for the main course paired with delicious vegetables.

    Lazio celebrates the night before Christmas Day. Fritto misto alla romana is a feast of fried vegetables like artichokes, broccoli and zucchini coalesced together and enhanced with small fried pieces of baccala fish. Dinner is a piping hot savory lasagna, or a heavy pasta with red sauce for the perfect Roman Christmas.

    The typical Christmas in Abruzzo is quite charming and the celebration inaugurates on Christmas Eve. Once again, pieces of baccalà are cut small and fried until perfectly crisp and golden brown with a warm and flaky exterior to be served as an appetizer. Then, the perfect red sauce is mixed with fresh tuna and served over long pieces of spaghetti for the main course. On the side is torta rustica, a classic Italian soup with a meat based broth and dumpling-like pieces of crust soaked in, normally the base is pork or another light meat with a variety of vegetables.

    Christmas Eve in Calabria is a primarily meatless affair. Insalata di frutti di mare is a combination of various muscles, clams, shrimp, and calamari served in a light olive oil and garlic based juice—a wonderful dipping sauce for warm bread. The main pasta is served with tiny clams in fresh red sauce over a steaming hot plate of pasta.

    A Sicilian Christmas Eve is also another pescatarian extravaganza, abundant with diverse types of fish and loads of vegetables. Sicilian eggplant caponata is a dish that bubbles with natural sapor combined with a reduction of peppers, plump tomatoes, green olives, oregano and basil for seasoning; which all cause an explosion of authenticity and flavor when served warm. For dinner, there is a mixture of swordfish with fresh tomatoes with fennel and broccoli rabe.

    Whether the gastronomic marathon begins on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it is clear to say that wherever the holiday is celebrated in Italy, there is a treat waiting at every festivity. For a small country there are countless differences in climate and food culture that transforms Christmas from one city to the next, but the reason to celebrate the season remains the same. Buon Natale!

  • The Beautiful Cliché by Renato D’Agostin

    New York City Celebrates Venetian Arts

    Explore the countless wonders of Venice without leaving NYC. The Consulate General of Italy is hosting a tri-collaborative exposition dedicated to the fine arts and culture of Venice. This grand tribute debuts at the Consulate General of Italy with three wonderful new exhibitions that encompass the many distinguishing features of “The City of Bridges.”

    “Murano: Glass from the Olnick Spanu Collection” is based on the longstanding technique of Venetian glass blowing. It features 500 hand-blown pieces from the Olnick Spanu Collection. This compilation showcases the breathtaking craftsmanship and ability to capture light, color, texture, and patience all in one skill from December 7-February 24, 2017. The internationally prominent glass blowing artists and their pieces are associated with La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic, a Carnegie Hall festival that salutes the importance of Venice in Italy. On February 3rd and February 21st next year, during Carnevale, Carnegie Hall will host musical performances to bring Venetian culture to the United States. 

    “Mariano Fortuny: A Living Legacy” is a retrospective on the legacy of Mariano Fortuny, the creator of a renowned textile empire known for innovation in design and the combination of art and materials in one industry. Today, the fabric continues to be produced in the same factory with the same machines and secret mechanisms. Fortuny is considered a genius in creativity and tradition in the world of design and technology.

    “A Picture From The Beautiful Cliché- Venezia” is a photographic compilation in book format captured by Renato D’Agostin that explores the architectural sites of Venice. The images open the city up to countless interpretations. While projecting the author’s imaginative perspective of the city, each photo renders a sense of mystery and solidarity for the viewer.

    The three exhibitions capture Venice in various ways: through timeless art, fashion, and photography. It is a true demonstration of the reasons millions of travelers stop to marvel at the bright blue water, the golden St. Marks Square, and the canals connected by antique bridges. The city is historic, romantic, rustic, and undeniably Italian; come experience a piece of it at the The Consulate General of Italy.



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  • Roberto Chierici's photography in Chelsea

    How We Perceive Beards: Past & Present

    Your Shape” is a photographic display that will briefly exhibit at the Atlantic Gallery in Chelsea. It explores the idea of masculine identity in a search for personal individuality through various images centered on male facial hair. This focus evidently exposes the “beard trend” that has, up until now, taken over New York City and has debuted around the world throughout time.

    The dedication of Milanese photographer Roberto Chierici and curator Erika Arosio, accompanied by barbers Robert Briscolini and Giovanni Cibin, have left their mark in galleries in Europe and Asia before reaching the United States.

    Facial hair is beyond a simple trend; beards have transformed in time as symbols of masculinity, power, force, and wisdom. Just look at America's Presidents; there is an obvious transition from donning substantial facial hair to remaining clean-shaven. This creates a case for the significance of beards through time and raises inquiries about the meaning of the trend today.

    This study seeks to prove that the artistic beard is far more psychological than the past's natural beards, whose bushy thickness was a symbol for strength and knowledge. Today, beards give men a sense of security, as they are more personalized and kept, rendering a stronger personal awareness and feeling of self- as opposed to catering to the viewer’s perception of strength of manliness. It's really more about feeling good and comfortable with yourself.

    The Atlantic Gallery is developing this fascinating cultural, allegorical, and psychical approach to the nicely groomed beard. The models all posed for Roberto Chierici and were groomed by the renowned aforementioned barbers, who disclosed that beard grooming is a serious and important field in their career. It requires attention to detail, a great deal of patience, and a major understanding of what the client desires to be displayed on their face.

    “Your Shape” has been exhibited across the world and people continue to be fascinated by the anthropological perspectives of the beard’s effect on civilization and time. Photography and cosmetology create a case study for an art created by barbers who, just like artists throughout history, have challenged one of the many approaches of treating the face like a canvas.

  • Installation view of Salvatore Scarpitta 1956 - 1964
    Art & Culture

    An Exploration of Tension and Pain: "Salvatore Scarpitta 1956-1964"

    Salvatore Scarpitta 1956-1964 is currently on display at the Luxembourg & Dayan gallery in New York City until December 23rd. Salvatore Scarpitta (1919-2007) was a contemporary Italian-American artist with a cultural influence deeply rooted in his upbringing.

    Born in New York City; raised in Hollywood, California; and educated at the Italian Academy of Fine Arts in Rome in 1936, it is impossible for his artwork not to be impacted by what was an extremely controversial time for European and American relations. Despite the ongoing pressure of fascism in Italy and the Nazi threats, he unceasingly sided with futurism and cubism rather than fascist informed realism.

    This exhibition presents the work Scarpitta created after his Italian education and service in the US Navy, where he was responsible for locating and restoring art that was stolen by the Nazis and Fascists. Each canvas is an indication of his decision to literally tear away at the borders of the artwork of his time. Some pieces have "stress wires" lifting the canvases to their breaking points while others are gashed and torn. The choice to bring depth and detail to the canvas itself allows us to delve into his mindset of leaving behind the norms that come from war and creating a new future instead. Litigation and the healing process are the main trajectories of his work; this is clearly due to postwar sentiments as he experienced the consequences of it first hand.

    His artwork uses shadow and depth to create a limitless motion through the canvas. He fuses cloth and other pieces from previous work and layers them up to create tension and gravity. This display is a fitting choice for the Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery because they are notorious for finding unique artists from the postwar epoch who have approached art in a way that was ahead of the popular views of their time.

    Implementation of raw and emotional materials were always evident and connect directly to Scarpitta himself. One of his beautiful pieces resembles bandages covering a wound; he used real medical bandages and pieces of a blanket that once swaddled his newborn child. In other works he had used pieces from fatal car accidents until he switched interests completely. Always passionate about racing, he used his innovation and skill to create functioning and non-functioning life-sized racecars, which will also be included in this fascinating display.

    To whitness and trace the diversity of skill that make up the lifetime and career of Salvatore Scarpitta, visit the Luxembourg & Dayan gallery before this exhibition comes to an end in late December.