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Waiting for Sanremo

N. L. (February 13, 2012)
The last 24 hours of preparations for Italy's most celebrated music festival are marked by constant rehearsals, curious rumors and last minute preparations. The 62nd edition promises to be rich of surprises, the biggest one of all the participation of icon Adriano Celentano, his music and his mysterious monologues.

 

The countdown has started, the next 24 hours are simply electric at the Ariston theater in Sanremo, Liguria, where the 62nd edition of Italy's most celebrated music festival, Festival di Sanremo is about to start (Feb. 14-18). All the stars are busy performing behind close doors but despite the producers' effort to keep things secret rumors find a way to reach the outside world.

The biggest question is when will Italy's biggest star, singer and songwriter Adriano Celentano, participate and what will he do? Some say he might appear on both the first and last night but there is no official confirmation. Everything is always a surprise with the so called “Ragazzo della Via Gluck,” (The boy from Gluck Street, a nickname inspired by his autobiographical song by the same title) known for having revolutionized Italian rock-n-roll and, in the most recent years, for his political talks, and long pauses, on Italian television. Among other the rumored guests we find international stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael J. Fox, but nothing has been confirmed due to Italy's economic crisis. Budget cuts had to be done in regards to special guests and the show's production has opted to rely more on Celentano's star power.

According to the press, Gianmarco Mazzi, the festival's artistic director has stated that if the singer will be in one episode only, his salary would be 350 thousand euros, if he is going to be in two, it will raise to 700 thousand, and if he does four or all episodes the salary will be 750 thousand. It does some a lot, moment of crisis or not, yet the artist has declared that "He will donate his entire salary,” Mazzi declared. “He will personally take care of all tax related issues and he will also pay for his stay in Sanremo and all related expenses. Just to be clear: being in Sanremo will actually cost him a lot.”

Celentano will donate a still unknown amount of money (this depends on how many nights the artist will actually perform) to one or two Emergency hospitals and to 20-25 needy families that will be selected by the mayors of cities like Milan, Rome, Florence, Naples, Verona, Cagliari and Bari. Each family will receive a check of 20 thousand euros. “We can't predict if he will say anything that will cause a turmoil,” Mazzi added, “He is so unpredictable.”

His possible monologues are still top secret, he is not even rehearsing them at the Ariston theater. He is rehearsing only in his hotel bedroom. “Even I don't know what he's going to say,” his wife Claudia Mori has been reported saying. Adriano “is free to say whatever goes through his mind otherwise he would have stayed at home. He is here in Sanremo because he has something to say, and honestly I am a bit terrified,” she told Italian news Tg1.

Gianni Morandi, the show's host and celebrated singer who got his start at about the same time as Celentano, had his say “Our politicians blame their failures on our artists. Having Celentano here in Sanremo is a dream come true: he embodies the spirit of the festival, the same festival where he started raising issues in 1961. Celentano is our history, he is our music, not having him is out of the question. He is at the core of Italy. The Sanremo festival belongs to him. I have known him for 49 years and I am still surprised that wherever he goes havoc arises.”

Morandi, who is hosting for the second year in a row, has publicly expressed his nervousness on a broader level. “I cannot sleep at night,” he has declared to the press. The 68 year old music icon is extremely busy with rehearsal and last minute preparations.

His partner in crime, actor Rocco Papaleo, has instead voiced his excitement: “I am thrilled to have the chance to wear a tuxedo... I am a country boy, you know?” he joked during a dress rehearsal. “I am trying to stay cool as long as I can but I know that when that door will open for the first time they will have to push me on stage and I will definitely feel the tension.”

Still the actor is adamant in saying that he has established a great relationship with Morandi and the rest of the cast and he is having fun. “I am exploring the 'dark side' of Sanremo, which welcomes all technicians, musicians, assistants, set decorators and crew members. They are real masters of what they do and I feel so confident and proud to be a part of it all.” It is unknown if Papaleo will also sing, but he will definitely have his own moments where he is sure to entertain. “We will see what will happen, my only hope is that the audience will appreciate it,” Papaleo has said. The duo will host the show with model Ivana Mrazova.

Among the last minute preparations, production had to come up with a homage to the recently deceased Whitney Houston: singer Nina Zilli is supposed to perform, in a duet with Skye (of the British band Morcheeba) on Thursday night, the famous hit “All at once.”

The song is a ballad about an unforgettable finished love, and love seems to be the main theme of the songs presented in this edition (cherry on top, considering that the festival starts on Valentine's day).

In Sei tu Matia Bazar sing “you are the one has stolen my heart,” while in Sono solo parole Noemi sings that the moment when two love each other “is when balance disappears,” while Nina Zilli in Per sempre has to say that “pride is a limitation of love that fills you for an instant then hunger returns.” Francesco Renga, in La tua bellezza praises female beauty, while Samuele Bersani in his “Un pallone,” sings his love for his country by reflecting on Italy's current situation and Eugenio Finardi in “E tu lo chiami Dio” addresses the issue of religion and faith.

There is a bit of everything. The singers will also sing in duets that will take place on Friday night.

The complete list is:

Nina Zilli - Per Sempre (“Never Never Never” was the original plan, might be replaced by “All at once” with Skye of Morcheeba)
Samuele Bersani
- Un Pallone (“My Sweet Romagna” with Goran Bregovic)
Dolcenera – Ci Vediamo A Casa (“My Life Is Mine” with Professor Green)
Pierdavide Carone e Lucio Dalla – Nanì (“Anema e Core” with Mads Langer)
Irene Fornaciari - Il Mio Grande Mistero (“I Who Have Nothing” with Brian May)
Matia Bazar - Sei Tu (“Speak Softly Love” with Al Jarreau)
Noemi – Sono Solo Parole (“To Feel In Love” with Sarah Jane Morris)
Francesco Renga – La Tua Bellezza (“El Mundo” with Sergio Dalma)
Arisa – La Notte (“Que Serà” with Jose Feliciano)
Emma Marrone – Non è l’Inferno (“If Paradise Is Half As Nice” with Gary Go)
Chiara Civello – Al Posto Del Mondo (“You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” with Shaggy)
Gigi D’Alessio e Loredana Berté – “Respirare” (“Auf Der Welt” with Nina Hagen)
Eugenio Finardi - E Tu Lo Chiami Dio (“Surrender” with Noa)
Marlene Kuntz - Canzone Per Un Figlio (“The World Become The World” with Patti Smith)

The festival includes a section dedicated to new talents called Sanremo Social. Eight new singers will compete against each other to become a so-called “Big.”

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