NYU CASA ITALIAN ZERILLI MARIMO’ PRESENTS:
'LA CANTATA DI NATALE from the production "LA CANTATA DEI PASTORI"
(The Shepherd's Cantata)
December 18 2019 at 7:00pm
24 West 12 Street – RSVP needed
Celebrating I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA 40th Anniversary
and home base at New York University
honoring Prof. Stefano Albertini and Kostja Kovic
A Neapolitan Renaissance Christmas show - Based on the Traditional Southern Italian Play Written by Andrea Perrucci in the 17th century and still performed annually in the environs of Naples.
Told by masked character of Commedia dell”Arte, narrated in English by LA BEFANA (the Good Witch of Christmas) featuring the Italian Bagpipe.
The concert will feature the southern Italian traditional Christmas music of the show, narrated by la Befana.
The story of the play is set just before the birth Christ, during Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, and the devil has dispatched his demons to stop the Savior's birth. Their escapades are entwined with those of Razzullo, one of the Pulcinella masks here depicted as a comic, mischievous Neapolitan scribe to is always hungry.
Conjuring up tempests, dragons and other unseemly tricks, the demons try to do away with the play's characters but all are under the Angel Gabriel's protection and the holy couple finally reaches Bethlehem. Before good triumphs over evil, there is an incredible clash, in dance between the archangel and the devil and a grotesque, but humorous, depiction of heaven and hell.
I Giullari di Piazza will be celebrating their 40th anniversary! and this production was first presented at NYU in 1984 with the sponsorship of the Italian department, where the company was in residence for 10 years.
The cast includes:
Artistic director Alessandra Belloni also in the role of Mary -mezzo soprano, percussion,
Max Mc Guire – as la Befana
Joe Deninzon – devil, violin
Susan Eberenz flute - piccolo recorders
Wilson Montuori or Enrico Granafei - classical guitar
Serena Davini - percussion
Mark Mindek Archangel Gabriel on stilts
James Karcher – Devil sword fighter
Alex Ross, The New York Times
"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."
Jon Pareles 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.