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
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.
Alessandra Belloni’s links to TV appearances:
Alessandra Belloni Live Appearance on ABC-TV7 Chicago http://youtu.be/3J9ZlzKLzPw
Alessandra Belloni featured on CNN Worldbeat http://youtu.be/IkOqBrpcB9Q
Alessandra Belloni "Spider Sex documentary " on National Geographic http://youtu.be/vp8dE3jJnq0
" 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)
To celebrate the holidays Italian style, the 43rd anniversary of I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA and our music directors birthday! John La Barbera , sharing food, drink and wonderful music while we celebrate four decades of Alessandra's Belloni's work! During this holiday end-of-year fundraiser, you will meet special people as we also honor Tony and Obie award-winning producing artist and formerly Artistic/Executive Director of Cherry Lane Theatre Angelina Fiordalisi, Award Winning actor Saverio Guerra, Director & Cinematographer Lisa Leone, and Award-Winning Author, Therapist & CEO Alex Iantaffi. Tickets: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/igiullaridipiazza/1043310? You will have the opportunity to listen to Alessandra Belloni, author of the book "Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna", published by Inner Traditions-Bear & Company. This fund raiser will also help Alessandra raising funds for her upcoming knee surgery December 21, and her recovery time. This will be such a special celebration of over four decades of work for I Giullari di Piazza, a non profit organization, who are artists in residence at the Cathedral of St. John Divine and who have also performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Symphony Space, to name but a few. The joyous afternoon will include a performance of "Tarantata," by award winning percussionist, singer, author Alessandra Belloni with composer, guitarist John La Barbera, founders of I Giullari di Piazza, in their famed production of "Tarantata," an impeccably researched production rich with songs, tarantellas, and magic rituals used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantula, along with healing chants and ritual drumming in honor of the Black Madonna. With its authentic music, costumes, and instrumentation, Belloni and company here unite the fascinating and similar legends, traditions, and musical rhythms of Southern Italy and Brasil. And, as always, the fun concludes with audience members being invited to join the cast for a "raise the roof" tarantella. Featuring: Alessandra Belloni - Artistic Director, Percussions and Vocals John La Barbera - Music Director, Composer, Guitar, Mandolin, Chitarra Battente Wilson Montuori - Guitar Joe Deninzon - Violin Steve Gorn - Bansuri Flutes, Saxophones, Clarinet Dancers - Amara & Mark Mindek also playing the commedia character Arlecchino www.alessandrabelloni.com www.igiullaridipiazza.org www.facebook.com/alessandrabelloni54 firstname.lastname@example.org Press quotes: Don Hackman, writing in the Los Angeles Times, found that "Alessandra Belloni and "Tarantata: Dance of the Ancient Spider" is a revelation, utterly fascinating." Drum Magazine noted that "Italian-born virtuoso Alessandra Belloni is established as a unique phenomenon, not just a percussionist, but also an actress, lecturer, entertainer, and healer." Jon Pareles of The New York Times, reviewing an I Giullari di Piazza show, remarked that "Ms. Belloni sang in an exultant voice. The songs blazed with an age-old momentum." Do not miss this wonderful winter celebration of life, joy, and community! Tickets and donations include dinner and the performance, 75% tax deductible Can't make it to the fundraiser? You can still I Giullari di Piazza non-profit organization under the 501-c-3 code and Alessandra Belloni;s work by donating here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/black-madonna-center General Admission $125.00
Ticket plus a program listing and a CD $150.00
VIP Ticket plus a program listing, CD & Book $175.00
On December 13th, 2023 Internationally renowned singer, percussionist, teacher Alessandra Belloni, Author of ‘HEALNG JOURNEYS WITH THE BLACK MADONNA” together with I Giullari di Piazza Italian Music and Dance company
Filmed, directed and edited by Francesco Piccolo in the summer 2023 produced by Alessandra Belloni & The Black Madonna Center Join us for A MUSICAL JOURNEY TO THE BLACK MADONNA IN SICILY & THE SUMMER SOLSTICE at the MEGALYTHS OF ARGIMUSCO & the ANCIENT SOLSTICE PAGAN FEAST OF U’ MUZZUNI December 13th Celebrating the Feast of Santa Lucia with the Sicilian Folk Music LA SANTA LUCIOTA We will begin with the screening of the film to be followed by live Sicilian Folk Music, featuring: ALESSANDRA BELLONI , artistic director vocals & percussion JOHN LA BARBERA , music director , guitarist & composer , chitarra battente & mandolin STEVE GORN on bansuri flutes, saxophone and clarinet WILSON MONTUORI – Guitar – JOE DENINZON - violin Joseph Giannini accordion and vocals (to be confirmed) · Special guests from Sicily on zoom from the group SUDCANTICA: Federico Chiofalo - accordion, tambourine, guitar, Sebastiano Pietrini - vocals, guitar, tambourine, Santino Scordino – vocals, bagpipe, tambourine, Jew’s harp Francesco Piccolo- film director, editor
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