frank viviano writes

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Keane: Pop Tarot in Palazzo Pancrazi

Keane: Pop Tarot in Palazzo Pancrazi

The mysteries of Tarot explored in mysterious Barga - an exhibition by Keane in Barga Vecchia

Setting, subject and artist are the three interlocked components of a compelling art exhibition. It would be difficult to find a more perfect example than the trio of Barga, Tarot and Keane. This is the chemistry that animates “The Barga Pop Tarot Paintings,” now open for viewing at the Palazzo Pancrazi in Barga Vecchia. The “Pop” […]

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La Traviata: Bel Canto brings down the house

La Traviata: Bel Canto brings down the house

Driven by the inexhaustible energy that Barga has come to expect of her, Sally He Li promised a memorable evening at the Teatro dei Differenti on Saturday, following up on the Bel Canto Opera Festival’s highly successful maiden season in 2014. She more than delivered. From the curtain-rise ballroom scene to the final breath of Giuseppe Verdi’s greatest heroine, Violetta Valery, the Bel Canto “La Traviata” was extraordinary.

The voices of the three principal artists — Sally in the soprano role of Violetta, tenor Alberto Sousa as her lover, Alfredo Germont, and baritone Bruno Caproni as Giorgio Germont, his father — could not have been more compelling. Singing the most venerated composition in Italian opera, they would have brought down the house anywhere, […]

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Marika and the Angels

Marika and the Angels

The Remarkable Stories Behind Barga Bel Canto's "La Traviata" 

What distinction does the Barga Bel Canto Festival share with New York’s Metropolitan Opera? A brilliant soprano in the lead role of Verdi’s “La Traviata” — and the spectacular period costumes she and her fellow cast members will wear when they perform at the Teatro dei Differenti on September 5 and 12. The soprano is […]

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Andrea Guzzoletti opens Barga Jazz Festival 2015 with “Invisible Cities”

Andrea Guzzoletti opens Barga Jazz Festival 2015 with “Invisible Cities”

A milestone in the Festival’s three-decade story

Andrea Guzzoletti is a key member of his generation’s musical brain trust, along with Barga Jazz Festival director Alessandro Rizzardi and former Barga Jazz club president Simone Venturi. All of them are principal figures in a remarkable array of bands and combos. Each is an acknowledged master of his preferred instruments, Rizzardi on the sax […]

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Barga, San Rocco and the Black Death

Barga, San Rocco and the Black Death

As Barga celebrates its annual mid-August festa di San Rocco with dining and dancing under the stars and a lively outdoor market, it is also marking the inconceivable carnage of the Black Death – in which the Serchio Valley almost certainly played a critical role. In the lengthy annals of European trauma, ranging from the […]

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An unqualified masterpiece: the entire Scottish Diaspora Tapestry on display in Barga

An unqualified masterpiece: the entire Scottish Diaspora Tapestry on display in Barga

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, bits and pieces of which have appeared in Barganews many times over the past six years, can now be seen in its entirety here for the first time. Put simply, it is an unqualified masterpiece.

As a foreign correspondent for four decades, I’ve attended cultural exhibitions and walked the halls of museums on six continents. Nothing I’ve seen is more stunning than this 305-part, 160-meter-long collective work of art — in the breadth of its narrative, in the exquisite skill of its crafters or in its sheer emotional power. It […]

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#loveproject – 20 paintings given to Lucca

#loveproject – 20 paintings given to Lucca

#loveproject – The plan, says Keane, is to “place two paintings from each of us in five of the most important piazzas of Tuscany’s five most important cities: Florence, Siena, Livorno, Pisa and Lucca. Anyone who wants them can take them away, at no cost. Absolutely free.”

The second group  of  #loveproject paintings were installed in the second Tuscan city which gave their patronage to the project – this time, the City of Lucca. As can be seen from the image above, the major piazza’s of the city were host (for a least a limited time) to a series of paintings from Fabrizio Da Prato […]

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#loveproject – 18 paintings given to Pisa

#loveproject – 18 paintings given to Pisa

The plan, says Keane, is to “place two paintings from each of us in five of the most important piazzas of Tuscany’s five most important cities: Florence, Siena, Livorno, Pisa and Lucca. Anyone who wants them can take them away, at no cost. Absolutely free.”

The first of the #loveproject paintings were installed in the first Tuscan city which gave their patronage to the project – the City of Pisa. As can be seen from the image above, the major piazza’s of the city were host (for a least a limited time) to a series of paintings from Fabrizio Da Prato […]

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The Love Project in the cradle of the Renaissance

The Love Project in the cradle of the Renaissance

The plan, says Keane, is to “place two paintings from each of us in five of the most important piazzas of Tuscany’s five most important cities: Florence, Siena, Livorno, Pisa and Lucca. Anyone who wants them can take them away, at no cost. Absolutely free.”

The most conventional chapter in the saga of the Love Project is the exhibition that will open it — and even that has its unusual twists. On the 13th and the 14th of June, the well-known local artists Keane and Fabrizio da Prato will inaugurate a joint exhibition of 100 paintings. The venue is not […]

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Bel Canto in Barga

Bel Canto in Barga

Gala finales are the Oscar nights of an opera festival: virtuoso showcases for their performers, framed by a lyrical profession of their art’s most memorable scenes. Sally Li’s resoundingly successful Bel Canto in Barga was that and much more on Saturday, the last act of its 2014 season at the Teatro dei Differenti. The artists […]

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La Boheme at Bel Canto in Barga

La Boheme at Bel Canto in Barga

For two wonderful hours, a large and enchanted audience had a love affair with Bel Canto’s fine cast, laughing uproariously or weeping without shame through every classic aria in every improvised scene.

It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to find anyone who left last night’s performance of La Boheme without a tear in the eye and echoes of sheer musical pleasure in the heart. Presented by Sally He Li’s Bel Canto in Barga company at the Teatro dei Differenti, the production was not technically perfect […]

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Bel Canto in Barga – Opening night

Bel Canto in Barga – Opening night

The skies over Piazza Angelio threatened, but never parted, and a light mist only added a shade of mystery to the natural magic of an Italian Renaissance square. It was a perfect opening night for Bel Canto in Barga, the ambitious “International Singing Festival” founded and organized by our own prima diva, Sally Li. The […]