Performance featuring Neapolitan Christmas music, La Befana telling a commedia dell'arte Christmas story, and conversation with the artists
We hope that you will join us online and support our non-profit organization with a year-end tax-deductible contribution for a very special event:
MUSICAL EPIPHANY CELEBRATION FUNDRAISER
Join us Tuesday, January 5, 2021, from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, live from Tom Tedesco’s Studio, for an Epiphany celebration hosted by Artistic Director Alessandra Belloni and Musical Director John La Barbera, co-founders of I Giullari di Piazza
This will be a special online live presentation featuring music from the beloved Neapolitan Renaissance Christmas show, LA CANTATA DEI PASTORI and premiering special storytelling about the history of I Giullari di Piazza and the creation of this classic holiday presentation, praised by the New York Times.
La Befana, the Good Witch of Christmas in Italy will tell her old beautiful story, on the traditional night before the Epiphany, about Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. They are joined by the Archangel Gabriel, Devils, Demons, and the commedia dell'arte characters in a triumph of good over evil.
In addition to the performance, the musicians and the company directors will interact and tell their stories about performing this production for 35 years. You will get a behind-the-scenes peek into how I Giullari and their shows developed, including conversations with members of the troupe, both musicians and dancers.
The evening will include live performances of some of the CANTATA favorite Neapolitan Christmas songs, including traditional tarantellas, Renaissance villanelles, and pastorales from traditional sources, with original music by John La Barbera and traditional Southern Italian instrumentation. The presentation ends with a singing by the Company of the oldest known Neapolitan Christmas song.
Directed by Alessandra Belloni (also in the role of Mary playing her drum to defeat the devil)
Music composed and arranged by John La Barbera, also playing classical guitar, chitarra battente, mandolin
Guest artists include: Max McGuire as La Befana; Joe Deninzon, violin and vocals, also in the role of the Devil; Francesca Silvano dancer, in the role of shepherdess, the Moon, and the Sun; and other special guest artists to be announced!
Tax-deductible tickets are $50. Link to the show will be available after ticket purchase.
We need the support of our fans and friends like you to be able to put on this beautiful ONLINE PREMIERE of our show and fulfill our winter season goals.
Purchase a ticket to this wonderful Zoom event for $50 and gather around with your pod, a glass of wine, and some Christmas cookies for a magical night. And, if you are able, consider an additional donation to I Giullari in whatever amount makes sense for you. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.
Black Madonna Musical Pilgrimage in Southern Italy, August 31 - September 12, 2020, Italy, Italy
VERY PROUD TO SHARE THAT REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW OPEN! This tour through Southern Italy, as seen in my book "Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna" (Bear & Company) is a journey to seven sacred sites of the Black Madonna that are called in the Italian tradition "the seven sisters.” They are connected to seven Goddesses that are part of the ancient worship of Mother Earth and the Moon Goddesses and the archetype of the African Mother. This will be the 7th musical pilgrimage I am leading, that is dedicated to the Divine Feminine and LA MADONNA NERA in places where she is still worshipped as she was in pre-Christian times. Unlike Spain or France, in Southern Italy we still dance, chant, and play our drums for Her. This will be a VERY unique and special experience!! PLEASE REGISTER NOW, AFTER MY BOOK HEALING JOURNEYS WITH THE BLACK MADONNA, THE TOUR WILL SELL OUT FOR SURE!TO REGISTER: https://www.everbutton.com/pay/4834$150 non refundable deposithttps://www.amazon.com/Healing-Journeys-Black-Madonna-Practices/dp/1591433428/Check out why I am leading this pilgrimage and why I teach my special drumming & dance workshops (coming up in Tuscany) and my work as healer and artist! The Voyage of the Black Madonnaa documentary film by Alessandra Bellonihttps://youtu.be/aE0Kg6A2Yi0Please contact me right away at ABelloni@aol.com if you want to come on this tour, The cost of the tour is $ 2,900 for double occupancy and $ 3,300 for single occupancy. Included:A great feature of this tour are the local folk traditions: the music of the tarantella, the dancing, and the fantastic food, all freshly prepared according to regional traditions. Here you will find the most amazing wine in the favored land of Dionysus, god of Ecstasy and Wine!I will take people on the same journey that I have taken over many years as a devotion to the Black Madonna which, in 1990, inspired me to write the Folk Opera THE VOYAGE OF THE BLACK MADONNA and now featured in my book! I am happy to share with you a very personal journey that will transform your life!This special tour will start at Rome’s airport on the morning of August 31 – and return there on the night of September 12. It is open to women and men, please see the beautiful testimonial below by Salvatore Guglielmo, a special young man who took the tour last summer! See details below: We will visit the following places and Black Madonnas: La Madonna della Neve, Torre Annunziata. This is where I met the great writer and archeologist, Armando Mei, who will be leading this part of the tour with me.We will go to the annual feast which is a reenactment of the fishermen finding the Madonna in a box underwater, at sunset by the beach near Vesuvius. Spectacular and very moving! At the end of the reenactment we sang a sacred Medieval chant to the Black Madonna on the beach, and people gathered around us. We were filmed for local TV! Here is a link:http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=EEaVZKAFu5cFour nights at HOTEL DEI CONGRESSI – 4 star hotel with a beautiful Mt. Vesuvius view and swimming pool.• Black Madonna of Positano, also by the Sea, a beautiful Byzantine icon, also connected to Aphrodite. Positano is one of the most amazing towns of the Amalfi coast, and we will spend the day there. I will lead a ritual of purification in the sea with white flowers, drumming and chants. Dressed in white and blue, we will honor the Madonna del Mare, Aphrodites/Yemanja in the Afro- Brazilian tradition.-In another powerful moment we will do a great improvised TAMMORRIATA all together!! Last year we had a blast!https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10204573333234723• Led by writer/archeologist Armando Mei Pompeii and the Temple of Isis. The Temple of Isis in Pompeii is witness of Egyptian influence over Late Roman religion. In Pompeii is preserved one of the most important southern Italian temples dedicated to the Goddess Isis. Armando will talk about on the connections between the origins of the Great Mother Culture and its evolution over the millennia, a journey through Ancient Sumerian and Egyptian Myths among the ruins of the most famous ancient town of POMPEII.• – We will meet one of my drum teachers the well-known tammorra maker, Raffaele Inserra, from Gragnano, and singers Marianna Ricciardi, Gianfranco, for a feast at the great restaurant, il Vigneto. We will play and dance, and people will have a chance to learn the authentic tammorriata dance in honor of the Black Madonna.• We will leave for the mountains and visit the Black Madonna of Montevergine – also known as Mamma Schiavona (Serving Mother), on the spectacular, sacred Mountain near Avellino- (beautiful mountain region, called Irpirnia), originally the ancient site of the Temple of the goddess Cybele, Black Mother and Earth Goddess from Anatolia. She is the most important of the seven sisters.We will visit the famous Throne (a special rock in the mountains called Seggia della Madonna) where healing miracles happen. Last year many of our tour group had a very powerful and mystical experience. Up in the sanctuary we will play the tammorriata drumming and sing for her. We will also enjoy the great local food and wine, as we rest in the restaurant atop the mountain.We will spend two nights at the beautiful HOTEL DE LA VILLE**** (AVELLINO)• – Black Madonna in Moiano, near Benevento, the powerful, beautiful MADONNA DELLA LIBERA, the one I am most devoted to- I have personally received a miracle from her. She is the most magical! This was also an ancient site of the worship to the Goddess Isis.In the chapel we will also chant her traditional songs, ones I learned from the old women of the town during the procession.• LA MADONNA NERA INCORONATA DI FOGGIA (Puglia land of the tarantella!) new this year. We will travel to the famous Tavoliere delle Puglie, a beautiful landscape of agricultural land, to the Sanctuary of this mysterious Madonna Nera with the GOLD CROWN who appeared in the year 1001 in very magical way. While shepherds were working in the field 2 bulls ran away to a Tree (OAK TREE) and knelt down, as lightning and fire appeared for a long time. Suddenly a voice was heard saying I AM MARY MOTHER OF GOD! And I want my temple built here! And the Beautiful Statue of the Black Madonna Nera appeared right in the tree. And she made many miracles, also with a special anointing oil that always burns at her image and never goes out.• CALABRIA!! My favorite land! Stay at HOTEL TERRAZZO SUL MARE in TROPEA for five nights with GREAT CALABRESE FOOD, NEAR THE CENTER OF TOWN, and a stunning view of the sea and the volcano. We will stay in the beautiful town of Tropea, in a hotel with great food and a breathtaking view of the beach and the active volcano, STROMBOLI! There we will have a few days of rest on the beach, swimming in the turquoise sea which is very similar to Hawaii, and shopping in the town.In Calabria we will meet and feast with my good friend and tarantella teacher, Vittorio de Paola. We will have dinner and party in his beautiful restaurant on top of the mountain, with a great view of the sea. This was a highlight of last year’s tour! Then we will honor the Black Madonna del Tindari. This is a magical place, where the Madonna del Tindares (Ethiopian name) was found in cave under the mountain, which we will visit, by enchanted lakes of salt water, and a wonderful turquoise sea, where we will do a purification ritual. The Madonna looks like an African Totem and is inside the church on top of the mountain, with the inscription Nigra Sum Sed Formosa (I am Black and Beautiful). Next to the church we will visit the archeological site that has the temples of Demeter and Cybele and drum as we watch the most spectacular sunset over the sea. The feast of the Black Madonna di Seminara, Madonna dei Poveri, celebrated with a wild drumming ritual, reenacting an ancient fertility rite, and giant Puppets that dance to the fast 6/8 rhythm of the tarantella (Giganti). Last year everyone was enchanted by the powerful rhythms of African origins, and seeing the giant puppets of the African King Courting the Italian Queen, thus bringing together these two cultures. OF TROPEA, THE MADONNA OF THE SEA, THE ANCIENT APRODITES RITUAL IN THE WATER AS A FINAL BLESSINGS FROM THE GREAT MOTHER. EVVIVA LA MADONNA NERA! Testimonial for the Black Madonna Pilgrimage"Attending Alessandra Belloni’s Black Madonna Pilgrimage was life changing. It is one of the hardest experiences to put into words as it is an experience lived and felt greater than can be expressed by any language. She has shown me the truth of my roots in Southern Italy and I have never felt more connected to something greater than myself in all my life. Being devoted to the many Italian goddesses that came before her, The Black Madonna upon experiencing her awakened many answers within me. She has a power that must be experienced on a personal level to understand this. My life is truly beginning and I feel I’m beginning to blossom. Alessandra has a mysterious gift to guide you but only if you listen to her and reach deep down into your own soul, and it has been one of the greatest decisions of my life to join her. You may sometimes find yourself in overwhelming joy or in tears, releasing all that is holding you back. It is a lesson not only in surrendering to the Cosmic Mother, but the divine within. Now I really feel a part of something bigger than myself and even though a majority of women join Alessandra, I feel blessed to be one of a handful of men that has truly heard this call to join her and learn from her. Embracing the divine feminine of the Black Madonna has nurtured my soul, my divine masculine, and I feel more like a real conscious man. The world has a lot to learn from Southern Italian culture, and I encourage everyone to learn from Alessandra and raise world consciousness. We need that more than ever in the times we’re living in."The cost of the tour $2,900 to $ 3,300 which includes $ 400 extra for a single room This does not include airfare and lunch as we will be moving around during the days. But includes:1) Hotel accommodations, double occupancy, 4 star hotels 2) Breakfast and wonderful dinners in very good restaurants and hotels,3) Tour bus4) Ferry boat back and forth to Sicily5) My work as the guide to the pilgrimages with some lectures on site, leading drumming ceremonies, chants and rituals in appropriate locations.
DEAR FRIENDS! I am happy to announce that for the first time, my RHYTHM IS THE CURE workshop will take place in SICILY!
Join us on the mystical Island of Demeter and Persephone for this magical healing drumming and dance retreat, in a luxurious new resort overlooking the sea!
Rhythm is the Cure is a 7-day intensive healing workshop featuring Southern Italian ritual dances used as music and dance therapy for centuries throughout the Mediterranean. Participants will learn the unique style of tambourine playing and the ancient healing trance dance of the tarantella, used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantula.This workshop focuses on releasing blockages of energies and breaking the imaginary "spiderweb"of the subconscious mind.Through this work, Alessandra has helped transform many people's lives through the years.
Special guest this year: Anna Maria Pugliese, teaching the Tarantella Siciliana and Tarantella Calabrese!
"RHYTHM IS THE CURE" HEALING DRUMMING AND DANCE RETREAT IN SICILY, ITALY AUGUST 17 to the 24th, 2020 Learn more HERE _______________________________________
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Sunday January 5th at 5 PM (Epiphany Eve in Italy) Theater for the New City, Johnson Theatre 155 First Avenue (between 9th & 10th Street) Tickets: $25 Reservations: 212-254-1109 or www.theaterforthenewcity.com
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
Celebrate the Epiphany, the Coming of the Light, in Southern Italian Style with I Giullari di Piazza's
'LA CANTATA DEI PASTORI' (The Shepherd's Cantata) Based on the Traditional Southern Italian Play by Andrea Perrucci in the 17th century and still performed annually in the environs of Naples.
The musical version has been adapted and directed by Alessandra Belloni and enacted by masked commedia dell'arte characters, puppets, devils, and the Archangel Gabriel on stilts. Narrated in English by La Befana - the Good Witch of Christmas; music composed and directed by John La Barbera.
"A musical play presented by the traditional Italian group I Giullari di Piazza (is) a rarity among Christmas programs; it somehow manages to be both riotously entertaining and curiously haunting, even profound… a vibrant and uproarious performance." --Alex Ross, The New York Times
The music, directed by John La Barbera, is folkish, aiming for vitality above precision and often achieving both. The adaptation, by the troupe's director, Alessandra Belloni, is geared for action rather than quiet piety; in a climactic battle, Miss Belloni as Maria beat a large drum and sang out while the Angel Gabriel took on the dragon. Giuseppe de Falco as Razzullo (and Vincenzo Corrao as the birdlike Sarchiapone) shared slapstick duties. --Jon Pareles, The New York Times
Cast: Alessandra Belloni - as Mary, mezzo-soprano, percussion John La Barbera - music director, classical and renaissance folk guitar, mandolin Giuseppe De Falco - Neapolitan singer/actor as the commedia dell'arte character Razzullo Max McGuire - La Befana Mark Mindek - stilt dancer as Archangel Gabriel Joe Deninzon - violinist as the Devil Susan Eberenz - flute, piccolo, recorders Enrico Granafei - as a devil and a fisherman James Karcher - sword fighter, principle devil Francesca Silvano - dancer, shepherdess, devil Peter DiGeronimo - shepherd, devil Sebastian La Barbera - young devil fiddler and special children's participation as shepherds and angels.
I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA, renowned 33-year old Southern Italian music/theater/dance company, will present their traditional Southern Italian "La Cantata dei Pastori," (The Shepherd's Cantata) a musical holiday delight for people of all ages, Sunday January 5th at 5 PM, at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue.
Join La Befana, the Good Witch of Christmas, Mary and Joseph, the Archangel Gabriel, Devils, Demons, and the commedia dell'arte characters who enact this beloved story of the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, and the triumph of good over evil.
The music - tarantellas, villanellas and pastorales - comes from traditional sources, with original music by John La Barbera. Adaptation and direction are by Alessandra Belloni. Songs are sung in Italian; costuming and music instrumentation is traditional Southern Italian; narration is in English. The play ends with a singing by the Company of the oldest known Neapolitan Christmas song.
The play is set during Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, during which the Devil has dispatched demons to stop the birth of Jesus. Along the way, the holy couple's escapades are entwined with the hapless commedia dell'arte character called Razzullo, a comic mischievous Neapolitan scribe who is always hungry and looking for something to eat. The demons, in the meanwhile, conjure up tempests, dragons, and do all they can to stop the birth, but all are under the protection of the Archangel Gabriel (played here, in traditional style, by Mark Mindek, well known stilt dancer who has appeared in Metropolitan Opera productions, Disney Films and special events around the world.). The holy couple experiences funny, outrageous, and dangerous adventures before they finally reach Bethlehem and Good triumphs over Evil!
"La Cantata dei Pastori" is still performed annual during the Christmas season in the environs of Naples. Written by Andrea Perrucci during the height of commedia dell'arte popularity in Italy, it combines commedia characteristics with those of the Italian medieval sacra rappresentazione. These elements are fused in settings which borrow from a third genre, the Italian pastoral drama.
The play's author, Andrea Perrucci, used the pseudonym of Dt. Casimiro Ruggiero Ugone when he wrote "La Cantata dei Pastori." This Sicilian-born but Neapolitan-bred poet and dramatist, who had a reputation in Naples as a stage director, was educated by the Jesuits and received a doctorate in letters.
" In this age of high tech special effects and over the top theatrics it was refreshing to see a performance reminiscent of traditional Opera Buffa. One gets the feeling of witnessing a show performed the same way it has been for centuries in Campania. The performers' passion and talent, not technology, breathe life into the story to create a wonderful illusion." --Magna Grece (Journal for people of Southern-Italian descent)