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Ensemble

Unmistakably Italian

A fresh start for Gnecchi's 'Cassandra',
by GIUSEPPE PENNISI

 

The late Dame Joan Sutherland and her husband, the conductor Richard Bonynge, loved Catania's 'Massimo Bellini' Theatre in eastern Sicily, not only for its elegant façade and its smart auditorium, but also for its perfect acoustics. In the late 1880s, its architect, Carlo Sada (later in charge of designing Buenos Aires' Colón) developed an acoustic miracle where in all series of seats the audience feels to be literally embraced by the music. This jewel has had ups and downs during the last twenty five years. It is not one of the thirteen centrally subsidized Italian 'national' theatres but a Regional Foundation financed mostly by the cash-strapped Sicilian Regional Government as well as by limited support from the central Ministry of Culture and by a few private sponsors. Also, Catania's audience has changed: it used to be highly intellectual but, although the city has one of the best universities of Southern Italy, the main focus of the ruling elite is on reviving industry in order to absorb the very high unemployment...

Copyright © 18 January 2011 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy

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VITTORIO GNECCHI

ITALY

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