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“Italy, Cultures, the Mediterranean” in Tunisia

The music of Eugenio Bennato and the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, Goldoni in Milan’s Piccolo Teatro, the contemporary dance of Daniele Ninarello and Zappalà’s Company, ‘Ancient African Art’ at the Uffizi Gallery, the “Ulysses syndrome” by Massimo Torrigiani, “Classic Reloaded” of the MAXXI company at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, and even Great Italian Cinema: these are some of the initiatives of the Tunisian Cultural Programme called “Italy, Cultures, the Mediterranean”, the cultural programme that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) will promote over the year through its overseas network in the Countries of the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region. The Programme was presented by Maria Vittoria Longhi, the director of the Italian Cultural Institute at a press conference in Tunis, and is characterized by a strong cooperation between important Italian and Tunisian cultural realities. This cooperation represents the exact purpose the Italian Ministry wants to achieve: “We want to strengthen dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean”. Starting from March 18th, the Bardo Museum in Tunis, in collaboration with the Uffizi Gallery of Florence, will be hosting the exhibit ‘Ancient African Art’ at the Uffizi Gallery. It will show a collection of pieces coming from Tunisia and offered by Murad II Bey to the Tuscan physician and professor at the University of Pisa, Giovanni Pagni, helping to unveil centuries of relations between the two countries. Moreover, there will be a strong collaboration with the new-born Tunisian National Film Archive, through the implementation of various initiatives aimed at enhancing the classic and contemporary Italian film industry. Fondazione Scuola di Musica di Fiesole and the main Tunisian musical institutions will work together and organize concerts and workshops with the aim of exchanging and improving each other’s expertise. “Listening, dialogue, co-creation, positive cross-fertilization: these are the key words that inspired the Programme, promoting a cooperative approach, encouraging the exchange of ideas and dialogue between Italian institutions and local players, as well as between artists, the public and scientists,” said director Longhi, together with the director of the Bardo Museum, Fatma Nait Yghil, and the artistic director of the Film Archive, Mohamed Challouf. A strong dedication comes also from the theatre and dance sectors through masterclasses and training, where the greatest energies and creativity are to be found. Worth mentioning is also Eugenio Bennato’s concert, as he will be holding the first international date of his tour “Da che sud è sud”, and Vinicio Capossela’s possible performance in June. There is also the participation in most important musical events, such as: Jazz à Carthage, with the duo formed by Enrico Rava and Makiko Hirabayashi at the Festival de Carthage; the Symphonic Music Festival El Jem; and the October Musical, with a performance dedicated to Rossini on the 150th anniversary of his death.

Poetry and photography will also be honoured, with the participation of Davide Rondoni in the International Poetry Festival of Sidi Bou Said and the photography exhibition “Volti d’Italia” curated by Anglo-Italian Julian Hargreaves. Furthermore, traditional events have been confirmed after the great success of past years’ editions: The Italian Design Day, the Italian Language Week and the Italian Cuisine Week, featuring a special cooking show organized by Spaghetti Swing. It is almost impossible to list all the events, which total more than 50, that are included in the Programme. Special attention must be paid to the regions far from the capital, as director Longhi said. She also suggested to visit the web page and the Facebook page of the Italian Cultural Institution to read about all the events.

 The season’s grand finale will be the contemporary dance show “Dido and Aeneas” by the Oplas Company, which puts together dance and live music. The show was inspired by Nahum Tate’s opera and the universally famous and homonym opera by Purcel. Cooperation, training, co-creation are the distinctive features of the Italian cultural action and of this Programme. “We are indeed convinced that culture is a very powerful tool for promotion and development, a common heritage we must safeguard by enhancing similarities and respecting differences,” director Longhi concluded. The special plan #Vivereallitaliana, “Italy, Cultures, the Mediterranean” includes an integrated promotion programme that combines tradition, innovation and creativity. The programme identifies exchanges and highlights cultural and social identities as the instruments through which to consolidate and strengthen the dialogue between the Countries bordering on the two shores of the Mediterranean.   

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