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Puccini Christmas Concerts hit their double target celebrating the Italian communities.

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

Last weekend, the great Italian Opera was back on the Riviera to offer the best Christmas Season greetings to the Italian community and supporters. The first Gran Gala Lirico 'Puccini e gli Altri (Grand Opera Gala 'Puccini and the others')was heldon the 9th December 2022 at the Francis Palmero Theatre within the Palais de l'Europe in Menton by the will of the Consolato Generale d'Italia di Nizza (Italian General Consulate in Nice) while the second performance 'Concerto di Natale', was held on the 10th December 2022at Espace Léo Ferré in Monaco under the patronage of the Embassy of Italy and the Com.It.Es Comitato degli Italiani all'Estero (Committee of Italians Abroad)based in the Principality. Both shows were skilfully performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lucca made of 54 elementsexcellently directed by Maestro Andrea Colombini who reaffirmed the essential role of music and culture, of which Italy is the highest expression, to unite European citizens under the same umbrella.

Photo >> The sopranos Silvana Froli and Deborah Vincenti peforming with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lucca directed by Andrea Colombini (Palais de l'Europe, Menton, 9th December 2022) © Maurice Abbati MOEA

Caterina Gioiella, Consul General of Italy in Nice, and Yves Juhel, Mayor of Menton, gave a special tribute to the great affinities between the Italian and French communities, always linked by a strong sense of brotherhood. The fruitful cooperation with the Ville de Menton showcased the event through a well-balanced soirée highlighted by the harmonious voices of two sopranos, Silvana Froli and Deborah Vincenti and the tenor Giovanni Cervelli.

Photo >> Caterina Gioiella, Consul General of Italy in Nice, and Yves Juhel, Mayor of Menton, opening the Grand Opera Gala 'Puccini and the others' © Maurice Abbati MOEA

Photo >> H.E. Giulio Alaimo, Ambassador of Italy in the Principality of Monaco, Ezio Greggio, President of Monaco's Comites, and Maurizio Di Maggio from Radio Monte Carlo (Espace Léo Ferré, 10th December 2022) © Com.It.Es

H.E. Giulio Alaimo, Ambassador of Italy in the Principality of Monaco, was delighted to see such a public participation (sold out) , a real evidence of the return to a normal social life, a testimony of a great Monegasque affection emphasized by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and His Family's words of greeting. Finally, the Ambassador's wish was addressed to strengthen public relations with the whole community with more events and opportunities for the incoming New Year 2023.

Photo >> Ezio Greggio posing with all members of Monaco's Comites (Espace Léo Ferré, 10th December 2022) © Com.It.Es

Ezio Greggio, President of Monaco's Com.It.Es., on stage with Maurizio Di Maggio, iconic voice of Radio Monte Carlo, expressed his joy to see the audience from Italy and France together again after the sad pandemic period while Jacques Pastor, Municipal Deputy in charge of Heritage and Traditions, confirmed his full support and closeness to the Italian community and he handed the prize 'Premio Com.It.Es. 2022' awarded to young Italians living in Monaco, who distinguished themselves in sports activities during the year. A delegation from the City of Lucca led by the Deputy Mayor Giovanni Minniti attended the concert with pride and participation.

Photo >> The tenor Giovanni Cervelli performing accompanied by the Philharmonic orchestra of Lucca directed by Andrea Colombini © Com.It.Es

Both performances have been very successful, paying tribute to Giacomo Puccini, one of the most important Italian composers of all time, known worldwide for his opera production. But the occasion gave also space to other pillars of the Italian musical history like Giuseppe Verdi, Gioacchino Rossini and Pietro Mascagni together with a homage to Johan Strauss Junior and John Williams, paramount composer for Hollywood cult films like Star Wars, Superman, E.T. and Indiana Jones. The execution of national anthems, Italian, Monegasque and French, was particularly appreciated for the energy and harmony of the Orchestra with its Conductor who arouse applauses and a remarkable standing ovation in both locations.

The interpretation of 'O mio babbino caro' (from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi) by the two sopranos was particularly touching as well as the Symphonic interlude of Puccini's Manon Lescaut and the most popular arias: 'E lucevan le stelle' from Puccini's Tosca and the 'Nessun Dorma' from Puccini's Turandot.

Photo >> The Philharmonic orchestra of Lucca directed by Andrea Colombini thanking for the tribute of the public © Com.It.Es
The excellence of the Philharmonic of Lucca.

Born in 2010, the philharmonic orchestra of Lucca, has performed in more than 250 concerts in many Countries including a recent one at Buckingham Palace for H.R.H. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. “Playing in front of people is the most gratifying experience of this inspiring Italian musical reality”- stated the Italian Maestro.

Music pushes natural sounds to reinforce environmental awareness.

A very unique moment was the performance of 'Cascade', an unpublished composition especially created for Monaco's Sovereign Prince by Francesco Cipriano. The use of strings and winds and gradually of all the other instruments of the orchestra recreated the shrill rustle of a waterfall. Music, in fact, can be an effective driver to raise environmental sensitiveness and bring human beings closer to Nature. Many composers, from different ages and still nowadays, take their inspiration from biodiversity's sounds. The neologism 'Eco-musicology' has been coined to identify the discipline focused on investigating the relationship among music, culture and nature. Musical notes linked together creatively by composers are particularly communicative and persuasive to anyone who listens, thanks to the universality of this pentagram language.

Photo >> Grand Opera Gala 'Puccini and the others' at Francis Palmero Theatre (Palais de l'Europe in Menton 9th December 2022) © Maurice Abbati MOEA
Puccini, a pioneer of modern ecology.

Giacomo Puccini was not only an extraordinary composer but a man of great culture and a promoter of avant-garde ideas. His international and cosmopolitan character was known for its simplicity and its attachment to nature. He was particularly fond of his 'homelands', Lucca's countryside and soon after Torre del Lago, where he decided to settle as his fame increased. Being a wealthy man, he did not decide to invest in a new real estate but kept his mansion in the wild nature around the lake of Massaciuccoli, claiming the protection of the area from industrialisation. Not by chance, the Premio Puccini (Puccini's Award), created by the Fondazione Simonetta Puccini to pay tribute to the Maestro, is awarded yearly to those who have worked and work for the protection of Nature and the Environment, with particular regard to territories dear to Puccini. ***


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By Maurice Abbati

Springer International Publishing

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