Ringling Museum Celebrates Italy with Inaugural Festival Dell’Arte Italiana
Sarasota, FL — January 18, 2007 — Italian art and culture, embraced so lavishly by John and Mable Ringling, will take center stage during Festival dell'Arte Italiana, at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Feb. 20 – 24, 2007.
The festival features eight performances over five days and officially opens Tuesday, Feb. 20 with a Sister City signing between Sarasota and Treviso, Italy. Treviso will be Sarasota’s sixth Sister City.
"For a full week we'll have Puccini, Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Pergolesi and much more in our beautiful 18th-century Italian Baroque theater," said Dwight Currie, curator of theater programming at Ringling. "At the same time, the largest collection of Italian Baroque art outside of Rome will be on view in the splendor of the Ringling Museum of Art."
The signing ceremony with Treviso will take place at 8 p.m. on the stage of the Historical Asolo Theater. There will be special performances by artists from the Key Chorale, Asolo Repertory Theater, and Sarasota Opera. A delegation from Italy will be present, including the president of Treviso, Leonardo Muraro.
Mirco Chiodi, director of the Treviso Sister City program for Sarasota, said the goal is to have a festival that is similar to celebrations held every year in the various regions of Italy. Chiodi, the driving force behind the newest Sister City arrangement, was born in Treviso near Asolo. Tickets are $50 and $40 for the opening reception and signing ceremony in the theater.
The Sister City signing merely kicks off the festival. Additional festivities include:
- Two light-hearted comic operettas, that opened the Historic Asolo Theater at the Ringling Museum in February 1952, will be presented Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m., and Thursday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. Soprano Paola Santucci and basso Giacomo Mercaldo of Sonatori Productions of Florence, Italy, will perform in La Serva Padrona and Bastien et Bastiette. Admission is $45, $40 and $35 on Wednesday; and $40, $35, and $30 for the Thursday matinee.
- Musicians from Sarasota's highly acclaimed La Musica di Asolo will present a program of Italian chamber music Thursday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. They are presented by the Rivolta Group. Admission is $45, $40, $35.
- An evening of great Italian arias is promised at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, Feb. 24. Florence's award-winning pianist and director Emanuela Longo will be in concert with sopranos Katia Martina, Margherita Pace and Paola Santucci. Tickets are $45, $40 and $35.
- In a special free-admission treat for children 12 and under, puppet master Paolo Papparotto will tell the story of the Witch Rosega Ramarri twice, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, in the courtyard. A favorite throughout Italy and at European festivals, Papparotto specializes in the puppets of the Veneto to delight audiences of all ages in the classic Commedia dell'Arte style.
Children 12 and under will also have the opportunity to make their own puppetsin a Handz On program in the Courtyard. The Handz On program is free, interactive educational program for children and their adult partners and is sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota, Inc.
- For an introduction to Festival dell'Arte Italiana, Monday Night movies at the Ringling, presented in connection with the Sarasota Film Festival, will show the 1961 classic movie Divorce Italian Style, directed by Pietro Germi. Curtain time will be Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. Admission is $7.
"If you add up to all of these programs and art, a visit to the Ringling palazzo, Cà d'Zan and a meal at our fine Italian restaurant Treviso -- well, it's the next best thing to actually being in Italy for a week," Currie said.
Treviso is a province that includes the small hilltop town of Asolo where the Asolo Theater was created in 1798. The theater was brought to the Ringling Museum in the early 1950s by the first Museum director. Full restoration and and relocation of the theater was completed in July 2006 with a grand opening in October 2006.
All seats are reserved and can be purchased at the Historic Asolo Theater box office: (941) 360-7399. Festival dell'Arte is made possible in part from the Anne M. Jenkins Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland and the Rivolta Group. Tickets purchased in bundles for more than one event receive discounts at various levels. Call the box office for details.