Postcards from Italy at the Sydney Opera House

I’ve never been to Italy. I’d like to, but I’ve never been.  I’ve eaten enough of the food to know I would love it if I went (I’ve never met a plate of pasta I haven’t liked), and I’ve watched enough Sophia Loren matinee movies to know the ladies are like woah momma!  And I have an enduring crush on one Antonio Sabato Jr., so I know the dudes are easy on the eye too.

I also know it’s a culture that appreciates fine art and beauty. I know artists like Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci have been inspiring artists generations after they’ve left the mortal world, and I know Dan Brown would be writing thriller fan fiction had he not been inspired by Italian art.  I know that Italy has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world (51, to be exact).  I have romanticised the image of gondola rides and sunset, eating gelato on a cobblestoned street, driving a car with the roof down and wind blowing in my hair (sheesh, I’m lame) and so believe me when I tell you, Italy has been on my radar for a while.

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Singer-songwriter Cosima De Vito

So what about Italian music?  Visions of Italy come across in the art and the architecture, and it’s the same with music.  People have been drawn to Italian music and it’s only fitting that the music be shared across the seas to here in Sydney.  Violinist Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich says, “I remember my papa playing tapes of Luciano Pavarotti in our home when I was a little kid. I always dreamt of Italy, receiving a postcard from a close relative or friend who visited Italy was just a special thing. Reading their travel stories, feeling and smelling the postcard like you were actually there was something surreal.”

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Violinist Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich

Victoria is part of a special performance at the Sydney Opera House called Postcards from Italy, a celebration of Italian music.  Performed by four young Italo-Australian performers (Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich, guitarist Giuseppe Zangari, singer-songwriter Cosima De Vito and tenor Daniel Tambasco), Postcards from Italy will showcase Italian identity through instrumental and vocal music, and bring to life the passion, style and emotion of the music.  Victoria and Daniel share their thoughts about Postcards from Italy and their love of Italian music.

What inspired this idea?

Victoria: I guess that we are all friends from a variety of circumstances and are all of Italian heritage (me the least actually, I think everyone else is a full Italian!).

Daniel: Bringing Italian musical gems to a place like the Opera House is a great idea, the performers in the show value our Italian heritage, and we have the great pleasure of sharing this through music.

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Tenor Daniel Tambasco

How did you get started?

Victoria: Daniel, Giuseppe and I did a similar themed concert a few years ago and I’ve been hanging out to do it a second time.  In the meantime I met Cosima and knew she’d be a perfect addition to the performance!

Daniel: I will have to second Victoria’s response to this, we did an Italian concert a few years ago that was successful and we’re glad to be doing it again.

How did you get the cast/crew/team together?

Victoria: We’re all very busy with our teaching and performing schedules, but we meet in different combos and plan, rehearse and drink coffee together.

Daniel: We meet when we all get the chance to, the beauty is is that we’re all friends and can rehearse at someone’s place casually.

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Guitarist Giuseppe Zangari

Can you describe classical Italian music, and how this is different to other classical music in Europe?

Victoria: I think the Italian culture itself is so rich and unique.  There is a reason why Italy brings on associations with music, food, art, fashion and family.  I think it’s a general love of life that the Italians embrace so well, and of course, this comes out in the music.

Daniel: Italian people, like many other Europeans, can be very passionate people.  They stick to what they believe in, they value good things in life and life in general.  This is perfectly reflected in some of the finest and most identifiable tunes that the Italians have written.

What defines this genre of music? For Italian music, is it the time period, the geography, the composers?

Victoria: We are performing music from a large variety of periods, regions and composers, which is perhaps why this is called Postcards from Italy –  we are trying to give the audience an adventure through all the ages and areas, and even genres of music.

Daniel: It can be a variety of things, from emotional states and feelings to also appreciating the beauty of the location.  Some songs were also composed for a certain event of the time, for example, one song that I will be singing is Funiculi Funicula which was written to celebrate the opening of the funicular cable car that went up the Mount Vesuvius.

There is a reason why Italy brings on associations with music, food, art, fashion and family.  I think it’s a general love of life that the Italians embrace so well – Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich

What is it about this type of music that people will love?

Victoria: It’s fun, emotional and honest..the Italians make no apologies for going over the top with anything!

Daniel: People are guaranteed to hear something they have once heard before, it’s bouncy, fun, happy and passionate all at the same time, and if people can feel something when they hear Italian music, then the composer has succeeded.

Who are some of the composers you’ll be showcasing during the performance?

Victoria: Verdi, Rossini, Puccini, Ennio Morricone

Are there any familiar songs you’ll be performing that we might have heard elsewhere?

Victoria: O Sole Mio, Nessun Dorma, The Prayer

Daniel: Con Te Partirò, Funiculi Funicula

Sydney’s undergoing a lot of development and restructure – do you think this is true for its performing arts culture, and where do you think events like Postcards from Italy fit into Sydney in the future?

Victoria: I think if we have more venues and more event on, then certainly it will show growth in Sydney and the opportunities that are available for entertainment.

Finally – favourite piece from Postcards from Italy and why?

Victoria: Not sure yet, I cant pick – I love them all!

Daniel: O sole mio – both parents are from Napoli and this song is a nostalgic song for me that reminds me deeply of my mother and growing up.

 

Book your tickets

Postcards from Italy is on at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday, 22nd Maywith two performances, one at 3pm and another at 6pm.  Tickets start from $25, and can be purchased via the Sydney Opera House booking page.  For more information visit www.sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/postcards_from_italy_2016.aspx

 

Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0

All other images supplied by concert organisers

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