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The ‘Italian Opera Embraces Africa’ lands in Pretoria

​Pretoria hosts the exhibition entitled “Italian Opera Embraces Africa”, which showcases original sketches and costumes from the historical archives of Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, including works by Visconti, Zeffirelli and De Chirico. The event, which opened today at the Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History in Pretoria featuring a performance by the Tshwane University opera studentswas organized by the Italian Cultural Institute in the South African city. The exhibition is part of the ‘Italia, Culture, Africa – 2019’ programme  promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The programme is meant to foster an integrated promotional action designed to enhance and expand cultural relations between Italy and the African Continent. Being one of the most important and widely known assets of Italy’s cultural heritage, Italian Opera kickstarted the ‘Italia, Culture, Africa – 2019’ programme. Melodrama, Italian theatre forms, all professional, artistic and technological talents working in the Opera world come together to shape an art form that combines music, dance, acting and singing to generate a wealth of extraordinary emotions. The Italian Opera is especially appreciated in South Africa and visitors will be able to enjoy  top-quality artifacts. The exhibition features 49 original sketches and 14 costumes that have been selected among the ones created by theatre artists from 1912 up to the present day. Each costume represents a famous opera, from Barbiere di Siviglia to Aida, from Tosca to Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, Andrea Chénier, Don Pasquale, Cavalleria Rusticana. Many of the creations on show are by Camillo Parravicini (1902-1978), one of the most prominent Italian set designers. Works by Giovanni Grandi (1886-1963), Alfredo Furiga (1903-1972), Pier Luigi Pizzi (1930) and Pierluigi Samaritani (1942-1994) are also on display. As regards costume sketches, the exhibition showcases works by several talents like Mario Pompei (1903-1958) and Mario Cito Filomarino (1893-1957), two most remarkable and sensitive artists with a touch of Art Deco,  Anna Anni (1926-2011) and Piero Tosi (1927).

Works by Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli are also on display paying tribute to their talents embracing film-making and opera productions. De Chirico’s designs for the production of Rossini’s Othello can be admired in the halls of the Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History along with two costumes worn by Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti .