64th Festival Puccini

The Puccini Festival returns. As always held in the Teatro dei Quattromila in Torre del Lago, this annual summer opera festival celebrating the great composer Giacomo Puccini, is now at its 64th edition.

The opening concert will be held on July 6th. It is to be his 1880 mass, Messa di Gloria, Performing it will be Tuscan tenor Andrea Bocelli, baritone Alberto Gazale, sopranos Martina Serafin and Ivana Canovic and bass Alessandro Guerzoni. Conducting will be Carlo Bernini.

Puccini’s unfinished Turandot will be on stage on July 14th, 21st and 28th and again on August 17th. The opera was completed by Franco Alfano based on the composer’s sketches. Director will be Alfonso Signorini and conductor Alberto Veronesi. Martina Serafin will be performing in the role of Princess Turandot, while Calaf will be played by Amadi Lagha.

Tosca, one of Puccini’s indisputable masterpieces, will be performed on on July 15th and August 4th and 12th. Director Giancarlo Del Monaco, conductor Pedro Halffter. The Chinese operatic lirico-spinto soprano He Hui will be playing the part of Floria Tosca.

His other masterpiece, Madama Butterfly,will be on stage on July 20th and August 10th and 18th. Director Vivien Hewitt, costumes Regina Schrecker, director Hirofumi Yoshida. Manon Lescaut, one of Puccini’s first successes, will be performed on July 26th. Cio Cio San will be played by Hiromi Omura while F.B. Pinkerton by Hector Mendoza Lopez.

The four-act opera La Bohème goes on stage on July 27th and August 3rd. Director Alfonso Signorini, sceneries and costumes by Leila Fteita, conductor Alberto Veronesi.

Il Trittico will be performed on August 11th and 25th. This work is composed of three one-act operas: Il Tabarro, a horrific episode, Suor Angelica, a sentimental tragedy and Gianni Schicchi, a comedy. This year celebrates the centenary of Il Tabarro, which was performed the first time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on December 14th, 1918.  Conducting on August 11th will be Jacopo Sipari whilst the director will be Ferenc Anger from the Opera House of Budapest.

If you’re interested in purchasing a ticket, take a look here.


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Ambrogio Lorenzetti in Maremma

The Museum of Sacred Art of Massa Marittima is hosting an exhibition on “Ambrogio Lorenzetti in Maremma. The masterpieces of the Grosseto and Sienese territories”. The exhibition of this master of Italian painting, born in Siena towards the end of the 13th century,  is on show in the town which preserves his grandest masterpiece, the Maestà.

There are 11 works by Ambrogio Lorenzetti on display at the  Museum Complex of San Pietro all’Orto by this great exponent of the Sienese School of the 14th century, known as the painter of the “Good Government”, a series of frescoes to be found in Palazzo Pubblico, Siena.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti was an overwhelmingly creative artist who profoundly renewed many iconographic traditions. He was an innovator of altar paintings and of sacred stories who widened the artistic vision also to the narration of landscape and environment, yet paradoxically was little known until recently.

The exhibition wishes to offer an overall vision of the various seasons the artist crossed during his career. Amongst the works on display is the figure of King Salomon (c. 1320/1325), a fragment which was originally part of a frame connecting Ambrogio’s scenes to those of his brother, Pietro, painted for the Sala Capitolare of the Sienese Convent of St Francis. The polyptych of St. Peter in Castelvecchio, the polyptych of Madonna with Child and the Saints Peter and Paul painted for the Church of Roccalbegna, instead, all date back to 1340.

Between these two dates belong all the other works: the painted cross of Pieve di Montenero d’Orcia, the glass window portraying the Archangel Michael winning the demons, the sinopites of the Annunciation from the Chapel of San Galgano in Montesiepi, the Four Saints of the Opera della Metropolitana Museum of Siena, the frescoes on the eastern side of the Cloister of St Francis, Siena, and the Allegory of Redemption from the Pinacoteca di Siena.

The exhibition proceeds in other two venues where Lorenzetti worked: the Church of San Pietro all’Orto, where there is a fragment of a fresco, and the Cathedral of San Cerbone, where recently other frescoes by the Maestro where discovered.

Open until September 16th, the Museum will be open until June 30th from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 7 pm; from July to September it will be open every day from 10 am to 12 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm. Full ticket costs 7 Euros.

Posted in Art exhibitions in Tuscany, Art in Maremma, Churches and cathedrals in Tuscany, Culture in Tuscany, Exhibitions in Maremma, Exhibitions in Tuscany, Grosseto, Maremma, Masterpiece's of Tuscany, Museums in Tuscany, Tuscan art, Tuscany | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Benvenuto Vermentino

Every year in the month of June, the major Vermentino wineries of Liguria, Tuscany, Sardinia and Corsica meet up in Castelnuovo Magra, between La Spezia and Carrara, to celebrate and present their wine. This event is called Benvenuto Vermentino.

For the event, the village’s 18th-century residences open their doors to host the Vermentino wine makers. Here visitors have the opportunity to taste over one hundred wine labels paired to local products.

Throughout the historic centre of Castelnuovo Magra, in fact, it is possible to attend guided tastings, workshops and cooking shows. There are stalls for olive oil producers and gastronomic specialities, and at the local promotional hall, in the main square, it is possible to taste traditional dishes. The food is offered by the local restaurants which have studied dedicated menus so as to pair the dishes to the Vermentino Wine.

Highly recommended is a visit to the medieval tower of the Palace of the Bishops of Luni, from which one enjoys a breathtaking view of the Magra Valley and seacoast. Furthermore, during the year the tower always hosts extraordinary photographic exhibitions worth seeing. Nature lovers, instead, will be delighted to discover that CAI, the Italian Alpine Club, organizes walks through vineyards and olive groves, suitable for everybody, of variable length of time.

For those who wish to deepen their knowledge of Vermentino wine and its four producing regions, it is advisable to visit the Vermentino Wine Multimedia Museum. Here visitors will find digital touch system screens which will lead them to discover the appellation of this wine, the rules that govern it, its organoleptic characteristics, the territorial maps and a list of the wineries and their labels.

Not to miss, a visit to the archaeological excavations and museum of the ancient Roman city of Luni, a military stronghold whose harbour flourished with the exploitation of the white marble quarries up in the nearby Apuan Alps. Here, both a theatre and an amphitheatre are distinguishable on site.

So why don’t we all pay a visit to Castelnuovo Magra and bring our own personal Benvenuto –Welcome- to Vermentino and its makers?

Posted in Events in Liguria, Italian food and wine, Liguria, Ligurian towns and cities, Ligurian wine, Luni, Museums in Liguria, Not Only Tuscany, Tuscan wineries | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cartasia 2018, Lucca

The International Biennial Paper Festival, Cartasia, returns to Lucca from August 3rd to September 30th. This event is about paper in all its shapes, as a means to express art, for games and other fun activities and as a versatile element of design. The theme of this 9th edition will be “Chaos and Silence”.

There will be outdoor exhibitions with monumental paper sculptures in the squares and on Lucca’s lovely Renaissance walls; indoor exhibitions from all over the world within the halls of Palazzo Ducale; design exhibitions showing both interior furniture and innovative prototypes; conferences on various topics; creative labs for children; and events around town such as performances and concerts.

The Festival is held in Lucca since 2004 because it is one of the biggest paper production centres of Europe. Here the Biennial unites its elements of sustainability and environmentalism, promoting and encouraging collaborations with paper companies that share the same philosophy.

Posted in Events in Lucca, Exhibitions in Lucca, Festivals and feasts in Tuscany, Italian design, Lucca, Tuscany | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pistoia Blues Festival 2018

Pistoia Blues Festival has been giving this well-preserved medieval city and its regulars excellent blues music since 1980. Legends like Muddy Waters, Fats Domino, B. B. King, Alexis Kerner and Dizzy Gillespie have trod its stage. Following editions have also seen rock, soul and jazz stars like Chuck Berry, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy, Pat Metheny, Jeff Healey, Carlos Santana, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Robert Plant and Skunk Anansie, just to name a few.

On July 4th, British Rock legend Graham Nash will be at Teatro Manzoni for “Road to Pistoia Blues”. The 39th edition of Pistoia Blues will officially begin on the 10th in Piazza Duomo with Alanis Morrissette, who returns in Italy after 6 years. James Blunt will be on stage on July 13th while on the 14th it will be the turn of Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. On Sunday 15th Pistoia Blues closes with Mark Lanegan Band and Supersonic Blues Machine, featuring Billy F. Gibbons, guitarist and lead vocalist of the American rock band ZZ Top.

Posted in Events in Pistoia, Festivals and feasts in Tuscany, Music and events, Pistoia, Tuscany | Tagged , | Leave a comment