Articles by: Tommaso Cartia

  • Photo by Jill Steinberg
    Life & People

    Paola Prestini–A Vision Into Art

    Paola Prestini has lived a life full of different cultural contaminations and is always driven by both the desire to discover and the thrill of the journey. She was born in Trento in the region of Trentino Alto-Adige, Northern Italy and then immigrated to the Arizona/Mexican border town of Nogales at an early age. The richness of this diversified ethnic background blended together with a passion for music that Paola discovered at a young age. This passion was most likely passed down to her from her father and her father's family who were reed makers for generations and her mother's deep attention to her craft.

    That particuar alchemy between different cultures has been sonically modulated by Prestini's taste in music. Although classically trained, she was never afraid to experiment with different musical influences, mixing them together with a various range of sounds and atmospheres.

    Paola's VisionIntoArt and National Sawdust

    This union of oppostites is not only a philosophy that she channels when she creates music, but it's the lifestyle with which Paola shapes both her professional and personal life. The composer is always very attent in creating union and in promoting sharing, communication, togetherness and artistic integrity. This is the philosophy behind VisionIntoArt, the non-profit art company that she found in 1999 while she was studying composition at Julliard. 

    Paola was then faced with an even bigger challenge: to establish a platform in New York where emerging artists can share their art visions and experiment in front of the public after their studies. National Sawdust aims to be that platform, giving contemporary performers the chance to make their raw talent floursh into established carriers.

    Prestini, Creative Director of the theater, was able to turn her vision into reality thanks to the unparellelled task force of talent behind National Sawdust. From Jean Pierre Chesse, President of the National Sawdust Board; Rick D'Avino, President Emeritus; and Kevin Dolan, Founder and Chair to some of the most exeptional contemporary artists that form the Artistic Advisory Board, like Laurie Anderson, Philp GlassRenée Fleming, Helena Christensen, and Susanne Vega, to name a few.

    We had the chance to sit down with Paola who told us about her tie with Italy, what inspires her to write music, and what we can expect from the National Sawdust Gala this May 3rd at Gotham Hall.

    How and and when did you discover your passion for music?

    I was born in Trento, Italy, and immigrated to the Arizona/Mexican border town Nogales at a young age. I still return every year to the Dolomites where my mother still resides part of the year. My father is a reed maker who is still based in Nogales. There, I was raised in a culture steeped in song. I came to composing early and now create music that takes the listener on a journey through different life experiences, creating an aural and visual map of the different countries and cultures that have inspired me. These travels sonically reflect the impact that collective identities have when they meet and dissolve in a person whose artistic roots are the collective sum of many parts.

    Take us trough your composing process. What inspires you?

    When I write, after an initial process of often puzzling mechanical work, I am in a state of flow: I often cannot remember the details of writing. It is as if all the years of experience come together to transport me through the process of expressing the cumulative inspirational sources into the musical concept at hand.

    My works are often inspired by literature or my different disciplines. My last work was Aging Magician, which opened at the New Victory Theater on Broadway. Another work, The Hubble Cantata, will go to the LA Opera and the Kennedy Center and is a collaboration with an astrophysicist. Another work, The Colorado, is a collaboration with a conservationist and a brilliant filmmaker and is touring to Stanford and the Kennedy Center.

    Your music takes inspiration from different countries. In these terms, what is your specific tie with Italy?

    One of my favorite works is an opera called Oceanic Verses, which began as a Carnegie Hall commission–a chamber work that painted a picture of Italy as it once was. By researching the Salento region, which maintains many ancient traditions and still speaks a nearly forgotten language, I created a work that illuminated the complex ethnic mosaic that has shaped my cultural heritage.

    The story was derived from the text of the songs I chose and intermittent poems from a variety of Italian poets, such as Vittoria Colonna, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Dante Alighieri, and Aleardo Aleardi. Oceanic Verses is sung in various dialects including Griko, Byzantine Greek, Ladino, and Bourbon Spanish, which colors the work with the ethnic influences of the Salento region.

    It's an opera exploring the complexity of my native land. The nexus of emigration and immigration has become a metaphor for a today’s global struggle with the issue of borders, and how this issue collides with one woman’s search for her internal geography.

    Beyond composing and being an artist, how important it is for you to be a mentor for the future generation of artists?

    My love in the artistic and executive process is bringing disparate voices together and allowing the synergy that emerges to grow. I have brought this inclusive vision to all of my curating with a focus on new music and interdisciplinary art. I am unswayed by trends and yet excited by all voices; I strive to stay ahead of the curve, and I am tremendously interested in nurturing new talent. As a composer, I believe the role of an artist in the 21st century should be that of creator, educator, performer, and entrepreneur.

    Tell us about National Sawdust. What is its specific mission, and what type of performances we can experience there?

    National Sawdust (NS), an unparalleled, artist-led, nonprofit venue, is a place for exploration and discovery. NS is a singular space founded with an expansive vision: to provide composers and musicians across genres a home in which they can flourish and then share their work. We also believe the future of new art lives in education. We define education broadly. To us, education is about giving young people and community members opportunities and tools to explore their potential for artistic and creative expression. 

    At NS, our advisory board and curators, including Philip Glass and Renée Fleming participate by giving us their discoveries according to their vast tastes and diverse disciplines. You can see FLEXN dancers one night, the punk rock activist group Pussy Riot on another, and opera on yet another!

    What can we aspect from the Gala scheduled for May 3rd? 

    Our spring gala, which is less than a month away on May 3 is chaired by Ann Ziff. The gala will be held at Gotham Hall in Manhattan, in honor of Renée Fleming, Philip Glass, and our artist in residence, Helga Davis. There will be an array of extraordinary performers, including the wonderful Met Opera countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and Liv Redpath, in addition to the famed actress Julianne Moore!  The gala is a critical part of our business plan in that it helps us reach new audiences and is also a substantial part of our revenue for the year, which directly supports our mission. 

    What are your future plans both artistically and as the creative director of NS?

    My plans artistically are to continue writing opera–I have a new one with Robert Wilson and continue to refine my interdisciplinary language. For NS, I want to expand our brand through franchising eventually!

    For more info and to contact Paola Prestini check out her website here >>

    To know more about the National Sawdust and the May 3rd Gala click here >>

  • Rosanna vi aspetta!

    Da "Donna Margherita" sei a casa con Rosanna!

    Un grazioso palloncino a forma di margherita e la scritta “Donna Margherita - Welcome”, ha accolto i tanti invitati all’apertura ufficiale del ristorante sulla Second Avenue di New York nell’Upper East Side, una delle zone più in voga della città, soprattutto dopo l'apertura della nuova linea metropolitana che merita a sua volta una visita per il suo design. Una buona occasione per scoprire questa gemma della ristorazione, la fermata è a pochissimi passi! 

    Il locale si presenta come uno spazio raccolto, minimal nell’arredamento, impreziosito da una classica vespa e pareti piene di margherite e foto d’epoca italiane. Nel piano rialzato troverete un'atmosfera più intima. Il tutto vi porta subito a casa, con la migliore musica italiana di oggi che fa da sottofondo.

    Una grande squadra di lavoro

    Lo staff ha deliziato i suoi ospiti con gustosissime pizze cotte nel grande forno a vista. Si tratta infatti di un Marra, forno napoletano realizzato a mano, tra i più innovativi al mondo. Ma ovviamente non poteva esserci un'occasione più speciale per scoprire anche la cucina di casa di Rosanna di Michele. La chef abruzzese ha mostrato alcuni suoi assi nella manica, come la famosa parmigiana e la lasagna con ragù di carne. Prosecco e vino, rigorosamente italiani, per rendere il tutto più frizzante. 

    Con Rosanna una squadra di lavoro speciale che con i proprietari del locale, Pino Manica e sua moglie Lucia Barletta, hanno animato la serata fino a notte tarda. Tutto con affiatamento e sinergia perfette.  Sembravano lavorare insieme da anni. Tantissimi gli ospiti accorsi a celebrare questo nuovo sodalizio fra la chef e la sua nuova casa al “Donna Margherita”.

    Tra i tanti ospiti anche il Console Generale d’Italia a New York, Francesco Genuardi, insieme a lui il Vice Console Roberto Frangione, la Vice Console Isabella Periotto, la Vice Console Chiara Saulle. Abbiamo incontrato poi la storica del cibo Francine Segan che si è detta entusiasta. Così come altre personalità del mondo del food newyorchese che del resto non aspettavano altro che un posto dove mangiare i piatti di Rosanna.

    Non è stato infatti difficile trovare persone che la venissero a festeggiare. Questa particolare attenzione è dovuta alla stima che Rosanna è riuscita a guadagnarsi in anni di esperienza  nel mondo della ristorazione anche a New York.  Ha portato infatti la sua cucina  in posti come Whole Foods, Di Palo's,  Eataly,  Arthur Avenue,  Consolato Generale d’Italia,  Casa Italiana Zerrilli-Marimò NYU, l'ICE, La Scuola d'Italia e tanti altri.

    “Donna Margherita” e la collaborazione con Rosanna

    Il ristorante appena riaperto e rinnovato era prima una gelateria ed una pizzeria che proponeva solo pizza al taglio. “Golosi Second Avenue”, questo il vecchio nome del locale.  Fa parte di uno dei tanti locali che i proprietari hanno aperto a New York, la loro esperienza è lunga ed è una storia tutta italiana. Ce la ha raccontata Lucia Barletta:

    “Noi veniamo dalla Calabria e siamo arrivati a New York tantissimi anni fa, mio padre ha iniziato negli anni ’70 aprendo un primo ristorante in Calabria e a New York dove poi nel corso del tempo abbiamo aperto otto ristoranti che adesso abbiamo venduto. L’ultimo è stato “Trattoria Dopo Teatro” a Times Square, ma ne abbiamo avuti altri come "Buon appetito" , "Cascina", "Zanzibar", "Cascina Downtown", "Golosi Park Avenue", "Golosi Second Ave", che poi è diventato "Donna Margherita”. 

    Lucia e Pino Manica avevano da tempo in mente di trasformare il piccolo locale in una pizzeria a tutti gli effetti, ma l’incontro con Rosanna e la sua cucina ha poi cambiato un po’ le carte in tavola.

    “La nostra idea era quella di aprire una pizzeria all’italiana”, ci racconta Pino, “poi l’arrivo di Rosanna ha cambiato un po’ le cose. Conoscendo  la sua cucina ho cominciato a capire che potevo proporre non solo la classica pizzeria italiana ormai presenza consolidata a New York. Ci sono tantissimi ristoranti italiani qui, ma quando entri in un locale sembra sempre che manchi qualcosa, trovi la pizza buona e poi magari non trovi la pasta cucinata come si deve o viceversa. Credo molto in Rosanna, nel suo modo di presentare il cibo italiano, tutto italiano.  E' difficile trovare qui a New York  piatti originali che si possono gustare soltanto nelle case italiane. Questa è la cucina di Rosanna”.

    La cucina di casa 

    L’incontro con Lucia e Pino è sembrato a Rosanna un segno del destino, d’altronde quel nome, “Margherita”, non poteva che risultarle famigliare, è il nome di una delle sue figlie! La famiglia è la grande ispirazione della cuoca di Vasto (Abruzzo), cresciuta respirando la passione per la cucina trasmessale dai genitori che gestivano una pizzeria. Rosanna porta in tavola non solo dei piatti squisiti ma anche tutto il suo amore per l'Italia e per le sue tradizioni culinarie che si sono tramandate di generazione in generazione. 

    Sentire una mamma italiana esclamare “è pronto a tavola!”, non è solo un’esortazione per la sua famiglia a mangiare, ma anche a riunirsi nella bellezza dello stare insieme, del conviviare. Questo è lo spirito con cui Rosanna ti invita alla sua tavola, la sua cucina è come un caloroso abbraccio e la sua energia contagiosa (con il suo sorriso indimenticabile), ti mette di buon umore ancor prima di assaggiare i suoi piatti. Poi li assaggi, ed è pura magia.

    Raramente un piatto cucinato fuori dall’Italia riesce a conservare i veri sapori e i profumi autentici. La chef riesce in questo difficile intento, sia che cucini con prodotti importati dall’Italia che con quelli comprati nei migliori markets di New York. Nella sua cucina c’è qualcosa che va oltre la bontà degli ingredienti o la giusta tecnica con cui vengono cucinati, c’è un’alchimia unica tra lei e le sue ricette. Ancor prima di assaggiare un piatto di Rosanna, il suo profumo ti trasporta immediatamente in Italia, ed il suo sapore, se sei italiano, sa subito di casa.

    La chef ci ha svelato il suo segreto e ha condiviso con noi il suo entusiasmo per questa nuova avventura.

    Il segreto di Rosanna

    “Il mio segreto è l’amore”, ci racconta Rosanna, “un amore vero per la mia terra, ed è quello che ho trovato e che posso condividere qui al “Donna Margherita”. Oggi si ufficializza questa nuova apertura della quale sono felicissima. In passato ho ricevuto altre proposte da altri ristoranti ma non erano adatti a me. Sono una chef un pò particolare. Con Luigi e Pino ho subito sentito quell’aria di casa. Io qui presento e promuovo in parte la cucina abruzzese ma in generale la cucina Mediterranea italiana. C’è una grande attenzione da parte dello staff per il prodotto di qualità, si fa la spesa tutte le mattine ricercando gli ingredienti più freschi.”

    “Qui posso dare spazio alle nozioni di cucina che mi porto con me da quando ero piccola”, continua la chef, “stiamo rinnovando il menù con piatti della mia tradizione come la parmigiana e la lasagna. Poi abbiamo i piatti del giorno, gli specials di pesce per esempio. Io vengo da una città sul mare dove si cucina tantissimo pesce, dai frutti di mare all’insalata di polpo, alle capesante gratinate. Ci sono poi tutti i prosciutti e i formaggi freschissimi, insomma un’esplosione di sapori italiani! Questa è la mia cucina, la cucina di casa, che è anche il mio hashtag sui social media, proprio perché è tutta cucina di casa mia”.

    Il menù del ristorante è pensato per essere una continua sorpresa, come quando si viene invitati a pranzo o a cena e si cucinano le ricette in base alla freschezza dei prodotti che si sono trovati in giornata facendo la spesa. Molti piatti nascono sul momento, dall'estro improvviso di Rosanna che si muove in cucina in base agli ingredienti che trova a disposizione. Proprio come avviene a casa! Ricette semplici, dai sapori decisi ma sempre raffinati, e quei profumi inconfondibili del Sud Italia che risvegliano i sensi. 

    Tutto questo, unito all’ottima qualità delle pizze e all’affabilità dei proprietari, di Rosanna e del suo staff, fan del “Donna Margherita” il luogo ideale a New York per sentirsi avvolti dal calore di una vera casa italiana. 

    E dulcis in fundo. Alla fine dell'inaugurazione non poteva mancare che il tocco finale di "Donna Margherita". Le margherite di Rosanna, dolce ricordo della serata, un biscotto di pasta frolla a forma di margherita pensato dalla chef. 



    Donna Margherita
    1304a   2nd Ave  (929) 273-1610
    New York, NY 10065

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  • Fabbrica's Ambience
    Life & People

    Fabbrica: A Groundbreaking Italian Restaurant

    “I wanted to eat how people eat in Italy,” Alberto Baudo told us when we asked him why an accomplished journalist, writer, director, and producer decided, at a certain point in his life, to dive into New York’s Italian dining scene.

    After arriving in the Big Apple twenty years ago as a correspondent for RAI (Italy's national public broadcasting company), the Roman journalist began to feel nostalgia for home, Italian cuisine, and typical Italian products. He realized that there are many Italian restaurants in New York, but few of them are truly authentic. To fill this void, he decided to open Acqua near Wall Street. Beginning as a fun adventure with the goal of offering the American public traditional Italian cuisine, the restaurant became a great success and launched Baudo into the world of food.

    The Opening of Fabbrica

    With this important experience as his base, the restaurateur then opened Fabbrica in Williamsburg, near the waterfront, which is also the neighborhood to which he later moved. “Five years ago, this area wasn’t very alive. It was an industrial area that subsequently became residential thanks to restoration work conducted by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration. The area was full of factories (fabbrica in Italian), so I chose the name as an homage to the neighborhood’s history.”

    Modern Italian Style

    Fabbrica grew with the neighborhood, which today is very alive, dynamic, and full of artists and musicians. Alberto always stayed true to his philosophy of offering purely traditional cuisine, from Roman fare like Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara to other recipes from Italy’s various regions. However, just as art and music change and evolve, so does Italian cooking. Thus, the restaurateur wasn’t afraid to introduce some culinary experiments to his menu, proposing some variations to some of the most typical dishes: “We have fusion cuisine for a clientele that is young and fresh. It’s the “Modern Italian” food wave that caters to New York’s new taste preferences, which are greener and healthier. When cooking, we’re using more organic and macrobiotic products.”

    One example is the famous Tuscan dish Pici all’aglione. I pici is a type of handmade pasta that is similar to spaghetti but thicker. It’s traditionally prepared with tomato sauce and garlic. Fabbrica’s spin on the dish presents an innovative matching of ingredients: pistachio and lemon. The pistachio is made into flour and mixed with lemon juice and lemon rinds in order to form a sauce. Then mashed pistachio is added on top. This fresh, summer recipe is a best seller among the restaurant’s clients, and it’s served all year thanks to its popularity.

    Excellent Service

    Fabbrica has truly become a point of reference and a standard for those who are looking for a comprehensive Italian experience in New York. Their entire food selection, everything from their cappuccinos and brioche in the morning to their traditional lunches and dinners, knows how to make clients happy, even the most hard to please who love trying new dishes. The excellent staff and service pamper diners and make them feel at home. In fact, the restaurant was recently awarded with the Targa della Repubblica Italiana Ospitalità ed Eccellenza. This prestigious plaque for top-notch hospitality was given to the restaurants by Italian Consul General Francesco Genuardi.

    The New Factory

    With Fabbrica, thanks to enterprising spirit of Alberto Baudo, the surprises never stop coming. The building that houses the restaurant is very large and has that typical Brooklyn industrial style. Thanks to a space that is already theatrical in itself, the place has always lent itself to hosting artistic events and musical performances. However, starting on April 7th of this year, the restaurant is launching a new project that will be even more event-focused and have a richer calendar. Baudo thought of calling this new initiative “The Factory,” which reminds us a bit of Andy Warhol’s famous studio in New York that hosted great artists and celebrities of ‘60s. Fabbrica’s new program is in line with that spirit, and it will include evenings full of music, poetry, and videographic performances.

    In an attempt to highlight the theatrical aspect of the space, Alberto installed red velvet curtains and new set designs. But the restaurateur has yet another great surprise in store for his clients, and he gave us a preview: “Starting on April 7th 2017, we will begin ‘The Factory’ evenings. Fabbrica is getting a new soul in its body. These new musical evenings will be organized by an exceptional artistic director–Andy Rourke–the historic bassist from the British band The Smiths. Together with Andy, we will offer jazz, alternative rock, and Brazilian music. We will have regular house bands, and we’ll also have special guests.”

    We can’t wait to participate in one of these beautiful evenings at Fabbrica’s new Factory!

    For more information on the restaurant and the upcoming events check out Fabbrica's website here >>


  • The Tallone Lettering
    Art & Culture

    Alberto Tallone Editore: the Art of Typography


    The Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University (part of the Butler library) is the right home for my Tallone books. There, the collection will remain whole, allowing interested students and researchers to appreciate and connect the cultural wealth of literature and the aesthetic beauty of fine printing. I believe that the Tallones’ opus is particularly appropriate as the contemporary link in the great tradition of Italian fine printing from Manutius to Bodoni.”

    These were Alexander Goren’s words as he explained what pushed him to donate his collection to Columbia. The meeting was moderated by the newyorker Ennio Ranaboldo, a literature lover and a passionate fan of Tallone's books. The conversation focused both on the donation and on the history and importance of the publishing house. In addition to Goren, the other panelists included Eleonora and Elisa Tallone–representatives of the family–Jane Siegel who was involved in the acquisition of the collection, and Paolo Valesio, the 'Giuseppe Ungaretti Professor Emeritus of Italian Literature' at Columbia University.

    Also in attendance were Consul General of Italy, Francesco Genuardi, and director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Giorgio van Straten.

    The Donation

    Jane Siegel knew of Goren’s large collection of Tallone books, and she knew that the Columbia University library would be the ideal place to archive it. Siegel tells us, “These Tallone books are not only beautiful to look at, but they’re also rich in content. Some are of bibliophile copies of traditional texts; others are artists’ books and modern poetry. The collection covers the period of time from 1932 up until today. The books will now be available to students and researchers of Columbia and to the library’s visitors.”

    Alexander Goren has always had a passion for books. During the presentation, he spoke about how he became a collector and how he discovered the Tallone editions.

    “Since I was young, I always loved illustrated books, and I bought my first collector’s book when I was still in college. It was a German version of the 1763 Bible–a big volume. From that moment on, I began to collect antique books. One day I happened upon a book in a very unusual format. It was a Tallone edition of In Praise of Folly by Erasmus of Rotterdam. Right away, I fell in love with the graphic idea, the type, and the paper. I then entered into contact with the Tallones; I asked them for their catalog, and I began to collect their books.”

    But what makes the Tallone lettering so exceptional? Eisa and Eleonora Tallone spoke to us about it, recounting their family history.

    The Story of the Tallones

    “The literary critic Gianfranco Contini explained that the idea that beauty can be blended together with editorial truth, it becomes alive in Alberto Tallone’s work” Elisa tells us, “Our grandfather Alberto grew up in a very fertile intellectual environment. Love for art and beauty were passed down to him since he was a young child. His father, Cesare Tallone, was a great painter. He was first a student and later a professor at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. His mother, Eleonora, was a poet and friend of writers like Sibilla Aleramo and Dino Campana. When he became a publisher, my grandfather naturally felt the necessity to give a beautiful aesthetic to the books he was publishing. After his first experience in Paris as an apprentice of the typographer Maurice Darantiere, he returned to Italy in the ‘60s and founded his typographic studio.”

    The Tallone Lettering

    The Tallone publishing house’s volumes are put together entirely by hand, utilizing type case characters pulled from the punchcutters originally carved by great artists like Nicola Kis, William Caslon, Henri Parmentier, and Charles Malin. Eleonora Tallone spoke to us about the distinctive traits of the Tallone lettering.

    “The aesthetic research behind Tallone books was never purely in the name of tradition but also for the best possible experience in reading a book. This makes our books modern, even if they were made in traditional ways. Alberto’s lesson on modernity is symbolized by the lettering that he himself designed. This lettering took inspiration from the architecture of Andrea Palladio’s Renaissance villas.”

    “The Tallone type is a symbol of modernity that we continue to use because it is free of superfluous ornamentation,” continues Eleonora, “On a book’s page, nothing should distract the reader’s eye from the author’s thoughts.”

    The Visual Poetry of Tallone's Books

    In the time of e-books and Kindles where a lot of content, including books, is accessed online, we ask ourselves if the work of pressmen and typographers is still relevant. Professor Paolo Valesio responds to this question by referring to Tallone books and to the added value that a printed book continues to have in respect to other virtual methods of reading.

    “In reality, printing is still very relevant,” Valesio explains to us, “Printing has its own poetry, a visual poetry. There are studies that deal with how the graphics of a book’s page influence the way we read. Tallone shows how both the writing’s aesthetics and its layout affect our reading. The Tallone catalog includes the classics of Italian poetry such as Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, and Leopardi, but it also contains some volumes of scientific and engineering work that are poetic in a certain sense. They have a poetic aesthetic that is precise and well-thought-out.

    Even Ennio Ranabaldo praised Tallone’s typographic art: “The immense beauty and legibility of the page gives the reader satisfaction that is not only intellectual but also visible. A Tallonian page and its lettering bring us inside that page and make us more attentive readers.”

    A Successful Typography

    Interest in typography is still very alive. This is confirmed by the Tallones’ great success in both Europe and America, which is guaranteed by the uniqueness of Tallone’s volumes.

    “The Tallone type remains faithful to itself,” Elisa Tallone highlights, “But we look to give each book its own format, and this distinguishes our style from others. For example, for the edition of Pinocchio, we utilized a sky blue paper that is representative of the Fairy with Turquoise Hair. We also rely on craft paper mills that may be small but work with great quality.”

    The Tallones garner a lot of attention here in America. Outside of New York, the publishing house is also very present in San Francisco. Elisa spoke to us about it:

    “San Francisco is the other big book capital in America that we’ve been going to since the ‘80s. We’ve recently had two shows: one at the State University where we presented our collection and one at the Italian Cultural Institute. Here in New York, we have a series of meetings planned to try to organize new presentations and establish new collaborations.”

    This stresses, yet again, how important and historic printmakers are anything but dead. They still have much to tell us about our time through their visual poetry.


  • La famiglia Tallone presso la loro tipografia ad Alpignano in Piemonte
    Arte e Cultura

    Alberto Tallone Editore: un'arte tipografica da collezione

    The Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University (sezione della libreria Butler), è la giusta casa per i miei libri Tallone. Lì la collezione si manterrà integra, permettendo a studenti e ricercatori di apprezzarla e di unire la ricchezza culturale della letteratura con la bellezza estetica della miglior tipografia. Credo che l’opera dei Tallone sia il ponte ideale tra la stampa contemporanea e la grande tradizione tipografica Italiana, dalla stamperia Manuzio a quella dei Bodoni”.

    Così si è espresso Alexander Goren, spiegando il motivo che lo ha spinto a donare la sua collezione alla Columbia. L’incontro, moderato dal newyorchese Ennio Ranaboldo, appassionato di letteratura e delle edizioni Tallone, si è concentrato sia sulla donazione che sulla storia e l’importanza della casa editrice. Protagonisti del panel oltre a Goren sono stati Eleonora ed Elisa Tallone, rappresentanti della famiglia, Jane Siegel che si è occupata della transizione della collezione, e Paolo Valesio, professore di letteratura italiana presso la Columbia University.

    Tra il pubblico anche il Console Generale d’Italia Francesco Genuardi e il direttore dell’Istituto Italiano di Cultura di New York Giorgio van Straten.

    La donazione

    Jane Siegel era a conoscenza della grande collezione di libri Tallone conservata da Goren e sapeva che la libreria della Columbia University sarebbe stata il luogo ideale per custodirla. "Questi libri Tallone, ci dice Siegel, "non sono solo belli da vedere, ma sono ricchi di contenuto, alcuni sono delle copie bibliofile di testi tradizionali, altri sono libri di artisti e di poesia moderna. La collezione copre un lasso di tempo che va dal 1932 ai giorni nostri. I libri saranno ora a disposizione sia degli studenti della Columbia che ai ricercatori e ai visitatori della libreria". 

    Alexander Goren ha sempre nutrito una grande passione per i libri. Durante la presentazione ha raccontato come è diventato collezionista e come ha scoperto le edizioni Tallone. 

    "Ho sempre amato i libri illustrati, sin da bambino, e ho comprato il mio primo libro da collezione quando ancora frequentavo il college, era una versione tedesca della Bibbia del 1763, un grande tomo. Da quel momento ho iniziato a collezionare libri antichi. Un giorno mi sono imbattuto in un libro dal formato molto particolare, era un''edizione Tallone de "L’elogio della Follia" di Erasmo da Rotterdam. Ne ho amato subito l’idea grafica, i caratteri e la carta. Sono poi entrato in contatto con i Tallone, gli ho chiesto il loro catalogo e ho iniziato a collezionare i loro libri".

    Ma cosa rende la tipografia Tallone così eccezionale? Ce ne hanno parlato Elisa ed Eleonora Tallone raccontando la storia della loro famiglia.

    La storia dei Tallone

    “Il critico letterario Gianfranco Contini disse che l’idea che la bellezza possa fondersi con la verità editoriale è fiorita con Alberto Tallone", racconta Elisa. "Nostro nonno Alberto è cresciuto in un clima intellettuale molto fertile. L’amore per l’arte e la bellezza gli è stato trasmesso sin dall’infanzia. Suo padre, Cesare Tallone, fu un grande pittore, prima studente e poi professore presso l’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. Sua madre Eleonora invece era una poetessa amica di scrittori come Sibilla Aleramo e Dino Campana. Quando diventò un editore mio nonno sentì naturalmente la necessità di dare una bella forma estetica ai libri che pubblicava. Dopo la sua prima esperienza a Parigi come apprendista del tipografo Maurice Darantiere, negli anni 60 tornò in Italia e fondò il suo studio tipografico.”

    Il Carattere Tallone

    I volumi della casa editrice Tallone sono composti interamente a mano, utilizzando i caratteri “di cassa” tratti dai punzoni originali incisi da grandi artisti come Nicola Kis, William Caslon, Henri Parmentier e Charles Malin. Eleonora Tallone ci ha parlato della particolarità del carattere Tallone.

    "La ricerca estetica che sta dietro a i libri Tallone non è stata mai fatta nel segno della pura tradizione ma nel segno della miglior esperienza di lettura possibile di un libro. Questo rende i nostri libri moderni anche se sono fatti con delle modalità tradizionali. La lezione di Alberto sulla modernità è simbolizzata dal carattere tipografico che lui stesso ha disegnato. Questo carattere ha preso ispirazione dalle architetture delle ville rinascimentali di Andrea Palladio".

    "Il carattere Tallone è un simbolo della modernità che continuiamo ad utilizzare perchè questo carattere è libero di ornamenti superflui", continua Eleonora,"sulla pagina di un libro, nulla dovrebbe distrarre l'occhio di chi legge dal pensiero dell'autore".

    La poetica visuale dei libri Tallone

    In tempi di e-book e Kindle, dove molti contenuti, compresi i libri, vengono ormai fruiti online, ci si chiede se il lavoro degli stampatori e dei tipografi sia ancora rilevante. Il professor Paolo Valesio risponde a questa domanda facendo riferimento ai libri Tallone e al valore aggiunto che un libro stampato continua ad avere rispetto ad altri strumenti virtuali di lettura. 

    "In realtà la tipografia è ancora molto rilevante", ci spiega Valesio, "la tipografia ha la sua poetica, una poetica visuale. Ci sono degli studi che si occupano di capire come l'aspetto grafico di una pagina di un libro possa condizionare il nostro modo di leggere. L’arte dei Tallone lavora proprio su questo. I classici della poesia italiana sono ovviamente tutti presenti nel catalogo Tallone, da Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio a Leopardi, ma anche l’impaginazione dei volumi di trattati scientifici o di ingegneria sono poetici in un certo senso, hanno una estetica artistica ben precisa e pensata."

    Anche Ennio Ranabaldo loda l'arte tipografica dei Tallone: "L’immensa bellezza e leggibilità dei libri Tallone dà al lettore una soddisfazione non solo intellettuale ma anche materiale e visiva. La grafica talloniana e il suo carattere ci portano dentro la pagina e fanno di noi dei lettori più attenti".

    Una tipografia di successo

    Che l'interesse intorno alla tipografia sia ancora molto vivo, lo conferma il grande successo dei Tallone sia in Europa che in America. Questo successo è garantito proprio dall'unicità dei loro volumi.

    "Il carattere Tallone rimane fedele a se stesso", sottolinea Elisa Tallone, "ma noi cerchiamo di vestire ogni libro con una impaginazione personalizzata e questo distingue il nostro stile da altri. Per l’edizione di Pinocchio, per esempio, abbiamo utilizzato una carta di colore celeste che ricorda la Fata Turchina della storia. Noi ci affidiamo anche a delle cartiere artigianli piccole ma che lavorano con grande qualità."

    C'è molta attenzione qui in America per i Tallone, oltre a New York, la casa editrice è molto presente anche a San Francisco:

    "San Francisco è l’altra grande capitale del libro in America che noi frequentiamo moltissimo, sin dagli anni '80. Di recente abbiamo fatto due mostre presso la State University dove abbiamo presentato la nostra collezione e presso l’Istituto Italiano di Cultura. Qui a New York abbiamo in agenda una serie di meeting per cercare di organizzare nuove presentazioni e instaurare nuove collaborazioni".

    Questo per sottolineare ancora una volta come realtà tipografiche così importanti sono tutt'altro che morte ma hanno ancora tanto da raccontare della nostra contemporaneità attraverso la loro poetica visuale.




  • Eating spaghetti like in Italy? This is the promise of Gruppo Italiano. A true all-round Italian experience. Photo: Sora Rosa - Villa Tor Carbone (Lazio) ©
    Dining in & out

    Gruppo Italiano (GI): Authentic Italian Cuisine Rises to New Heights

    A true all-round Italian experience. This is what Gruppo Italiano promises to offer here in the US. The restaurants that are joining the group are committed to make you feel as you were in Italy from the very moment you set foot in any of them.

    Gruppo Italiano (GI), is the natural evolution of the original Gruppo Ristoratori Italiani (GRI), founded in 1979, which had carried out significant work in supporting the Italian food industry in the United States. Throughout the years, the group has become a benchmark for Italian products, importers, distributors, and the Italian restaurant scene with a special focus on hospitality and culinary education.

    GI is bringing the old group to new heights with a renovated program for its members and a wide range of new opportunities in advertising, networking, and staffing solutions for businesses in the United States dealing with authentic Italian products, from food to wine. 

    The Event

    The elegant cocktail reception at Il Gattopardo featured speeches by Maurizio Forte, Director for the USA of the Italian Trade Commission, Charles Scicolone, a wine consultant who is often called the “Maestro of Italian Wines,” journalist John Mariani who authored the book “How Italian Food Conquered the World,” and Sorrentino himself.

    i-Italy, which just announced its media partnership with the association, was there to cover the event.

    Sorrentino explained the new group’s mission. He focused on the importance of Italian culinary tradition and the new educational efforts that the organization is providing both for Italian and American students.

    “A few years ago the Italian dining scene was quite different. Most of the Italian restaurants used to serve what is called 'Italian-American cuisine,' which was created by Italian immigrants with local ingredients,” Sorrentino began, “Now the Italian restaurant scene is way more vibrant, contemporary, diversified, sexy and glamorous. We did a lot in 30 years to improve the image of Italian cuisine, but we still have a lot to do. We think that in times of glocalization, with Nouvelle cuisine being the future, the GI feels the need to promote authentic Italian cuisine, which is not static but is in constant evolution, but evolution needs to respect our tradition and culture.”

    The GI Scolarship Program

    The restaurateur then talked about the GI Scholarship Program, which, for 35 years, had been providing almost a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships to culinary and hospitality students from across the US.

    “This scholarship enables American culinary students to travel to Italy and to participate in intensive educational programs in order to study the cuisine, viticulture, and products of Italy.”

    But that’s not the only initiative that the GI has in terms of education. It is, in fact, important to support American students who want to have a real touch of Italy before coming back to work for the Italian dining scene in the US, but it is also vital that more Italians can come to work in the US.

    The Importance of an Authentic Italian Staff

    The GI Board provides direct access to agencies throughout Italy that give the chance to host Italian culinary students, cooks, and chefs for research and development. 

    As Sorrentino stresses, “It's also important to bring Italian students and Italian professionals here in America. We provide them with accommodations and visas, and they start to work in our restaurants.” It's a great opportunity for Italians who want to bring the Italian food industry in the US to new heights of excellence. Very often, even in the most authentic Italian restaurants in the US, we find a staff which is not from Italian origins. Dining in an Italian restaurant should be an immersive experience for the clients. A restaurant should tell the story of  a culture and a country. That's why it's important the staff comes from a specific background. GI is trying to fill this void by simplifying the process for Italians to work in Italian restaurants in America in order to bring their natural Italian vibe to those dining establishments.

    Consumer Education and Italian Companies Aggregation

    Maurizio Forte also talked about the importance of education, this time targeting it more towards the consumers. 

    “Educating our consumers around the world about authentic Italian food is very important. We want to be a platform for spreading knowledge about Italy and for selling our products. That’s why we also associate with the distributors and the importers. We work very hard in promoting authentic Italian cuisine and restaurants with the conviction that entering into an Italian restaurant must feel like traveling to Italy, despite being in the US”.

    Then Forte pointed out how important it is for smaller Italian companies and artisans to come together as a group and to establish their footprint in a market where the larger chains have always had more power.

    Catch more about the event on our upcoming episode of i-ItalyTV, with exclusive interviews with the protagonists of the night.

    i-ItalyTV airs every Sunday @ 1:00 PM on NYC Life, Channel 25 (HD ch 525)

  • Photo by ©Andrea Rotili
    Life & People

    Mafalda's Empathy

    The Birdland is a New York Jazz temple that has hosted some of the greatest gods in the history of music. Some names include Charlie “Bird” Parker–who inspired the club’s name long ago in 1949–John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Lester Young. In addition to jazz musicians, other artists and celebrities were regulars at the club, from Gary Cooper and Marilyn Monroe to Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, and Ava Gardner.

    Mafalda: A Pure Performer

    During the club’s sixty years of activity, perhaps nobody has been able to present such a rich repertoire of classic Italian pop music. Mafalda Minnozzi did it thanks to her personal vocal style, which allows her to sing songs like Azzurro, Parole Parole, Come prima, Arrivederci, and Nessuno in a swing, jazz, samba, or bossa nova style. She never forgets, however, the importance of songs intepretation.

    For her set list, the singer proposed more than just Italian songs. She chose Brazilian pieces from Antônio Carlos Jobim, some American ones from Cole Porter, as well as an homage to the French singer Édith Piaf, who has always been a big inspiration to her. Mafalda is a wholesome performer in the best sense of the word, and she’s in line with great Italian music artists like Caterina Valente, Mia Martini, Ornella Vanoni, and Mina. Her virtuous voice is like a musical instrument, and it reminds us of the beloved and much missed Giuni Russo. Russo was a Sicilian performer gifted with an exceptional vocal range, which she often used to experiment in music.

    The eMPathia Jazz Duo

    Next to Mafalda here at the Birdland, we find Paul Ricci, the American soul of eMPathia Jazz Duo. Ricci is a guitarist and composer who attended New England Conservatory in Boston. He has collaborated with big names in music like Astrud Gilberto, Bobby Sanabria, and Harry Belafonte. The musician found in Mafalda's voice the perfect instrument to express his passion for jazz, Brazilian, and African music. The duo already produced two significant projects: eMPathia in 2015, which was nominated for the Premio Tenco and Inside, which was produced by Grammy winner Jeff Jones in 2016.

    From there, a series of concerts had them touring in Italy, Europe, the United States, and Brazil–the second homeland of the singer. For the past twenty years, Mafalda has been considered the official ambassador of Italian music in Brazil.

    The empathy that the duo creates with the public is the same empathy that you feel when you talk to Mafalda. The singer is a communicator in the truest sense of the word, a woman who loves to share her soul with her listeners, closing the gap between the stage and reality.

    After her performance at the Birdland, she told us about her story, with the same truth and honesty that can be perceived in her singing.

    Mafalda’s Story and her Origins in Marche

    “I was born in Pavia,” Mafalda begins to tell us, “But I subsequently moved to Marche, the region where my parents were from. At Pavia’s Istituto delle Canossiane, I began getting involved in music. I used to sing in the chorus. There, I learned the discipline and how to listen. In reality, my mother, with her soprano voice, was the first to pass down a passion for music. Through singing, I tried to talk to my mother with whom I had a difficult relationship. Then I discovered Caterina Valente, an Italian singer who struck me when I was very young. I tried to emulate her. I liked the fact that she performed in so many different languages, as if they were a single language.

    Marche is a region full of great musical and poetic traditions from opera singer Beniamino Gigli to poet Giacomo Leopardi. Singing and storytelling are dominant in our culture. In Macerata, we have the Sferisterio, the second biggest arena for classical music in Italy. I grew up here artistically. The arena also hosts “Musicultura,” a very important festival that I had the honor of participating in.”

    From Marche to Rome and then Around the World

    As she likes to say, she was always "curious and in love with life." So guided by an insatiable hunger for artistic expression, Mafalda then moved from Marche to Rome. There, she studied music and dance. She attended the theatrical school of Saverio Marconi from "La compagnia della Rancia." The singer was then ready to dive into great challenges and to present herself to the world. Her first recitals took place in 1986. She wrote them, and her husband, Marco Bisconti, directed them. Today, he is her producer. After this experience Mafada packed her bags with classics from the Italian songbook, and she took them to Paris, Greece, and Germany.

    As a traveling storyteller, Minnozzi then continues her journey around the world until she discovered Brazil. Love at first sight turned into a twenty-year career. Here she would meet Paul Ricci, and the United States would open its doors to her.

    “Paul and I met in Rio de Janeiro, and we never left each other. He became the artistic director of my work. I enjoy not only the sense of freedom but also the discipline that he works with. I learned so much from him; he’s a great musician and a great person who is very patient and generous. He writes scores in a very meticulous and precise way. Paul was able to bring the great tradition of American jazz to a land that really loves this style of music, Brazil, and to combine it with Brazil’s own rhythms.

    Music as a Life Mission

    Mafalda’s long career was rich with important artistic and personal encounters such as those with Italian singer Lucio Dalla, Milton Nascimento, Guinga, Martinho Da Vila, to name a few. However, she was never greedy for success. For her, music is a mission: to recount the lives of others through her own voice.

    “I lived through the great life of everyday people, as Chico Buarque and Carol Porter told through their music. Artists are tools in the hands of an art that is given to them from birth. You don’t become an artist; you don’t learn to sing or to play. Talent is natural. Then you can improve it and study later on. You’re born with a gift, and you need to thank Mother Nature for it. I am a bit agnostic, but I feel that I’m a very spiritual person. I’m very Franciscan in many ways. I believe in the values of brotherhood, exchange, forgiveness, and sticking together.”

    Mafalda has a wholesome approach to her career as a singer, and she has always wanted to preserve this purity without making any compromises. In a recording industry that continuously tends to limit an artist’s expression, Minnozzi chose to stay away from certain market trends. This is why the singer founded her own record label and manages every single detail of her career, from the clothes she wears on stage to the promotion of her CDs.

    “I was always true even if it hurt me. Being true to myself caused me to lose some professional opportunities. But music is born to make people stick together and to tear down walls. Music was born to be free. It’s a universal language that everyone can speak and understand.”

    Ambassador of Music

    Publicizing Italian music around the world is another important mission on Mafalda’s artistic journey. The singer is impressed by the enthusiastic feedback that the public gives her when she proposes songs by Umberto Bindi, Paolo Conte, Luigi Tenco, Ivano Fossati, and other great Italian singer-songwriters. She was also amazed by how Italy seems to have forgotten about this immense musical heritage. She shared with us her feelings from her last performance on the Birland stage.

    “Bringing Italian music to the Birdland is not simple. I’m bringing a language that the audience doesn’t understand. This evening there were people from all over the world, and they appreciated this repertoire. I don’t understand why we Italians don’t believe in our culture and in our past. We have an extremely important musical tradition that is rooted in the villanelle from the ‘400s and baroque music, and then we pass to folkloric music until we arrive at today’s singer-songwriters. This year at the Sanremo Music Festival, I heard songs that have melodies that you really can’t sing along with. They don’t represent our musical identity. They don’t have any durability. However, when I go back to Italy, I propose my repertoire of great classics, and the audience goes crazy. It’s not true that the public isn’t interested in this music anymore. Perhaps, they’re not used to really listening to it.”

    Whether in Italy, in Brazil, or on the stage of the Birdland, the empathy that Mafalda creates with her audience makes her a great ambassador of music, not only of Italian music but also of the world.

    Mafalda and Paul are already in the recording studio for eMPathia Jazz duo’s next disc, and they’re ready to continue their unstoppable tour around the world. Next stop, Brazil.

    For more info on the band's tour and news check out their website here >>

  • Paolo Siniscalco
    Paolo Siniscalco. To the right: The building of Siniscalco & Partners in Rome
    Facts & Stories

    CPAs Without Borders (Part One). "Helping Italians do business in the US takes very attentive cultural mediation." A Conversation with Paolo Siniscalco

    Click here for the interview with Rocco Totino >>

    Paolo Siniscalco is the co-founder of the Italian accounting firm Siniscalco & Partners, headquartered in Rome. He specializes in taxation and in general business consulting. Siniscalco is also experienced in mergers and acquisitions–on national and international levels–and in the restructuring of industrial groups.

    How was the idea born for a meeting between Italian and American accounts?

    The Internationalization Committee of the Italian Board of Certified Public Accountants had organized a trip to the United States for 150 colleagues. Aside from this institutional component, I thought that it was the right occasion to put them in contact with American professionals in a convivial environment.

    What better occasion than this to organize a meeting in a prestigious American firm? So, I made arrangements with the former president of the CNDCEC, Gerardo Longobardi, and the organizer of the trip, Filippo Invitti (member of the Committee), who liked the idea. Then I invited professionals from Grassi & Co., and also from other accounting and law firms. It was a unique opportunity for an exchange of experiences between professionals from both continents.

    You laid the first stone of an important framework that evening.

    It was, above all, an opportunity for networking, and we’re already thinking of other things. With the expected merger in Italy between my firm, Siniscalco & Partners, and Grassi & Co., we wanted to give continuity to all of the meetings conducted by professionals. The merger hasn’t happened yet, but we are on the verge of doing it; we’re negotiating the terms.

    You’ve been here in New York for three years. You worked hard for this.

    The motivation for my coming here, and for the merger, is that Grassi & Co. wanted to become international. They wanted to have a more prominent presence in Italy. Since I had the structure with my firm in Italy, and I’m very well rooted and connected there, the idea of a partnership, the origin of Siniscalco, Grassi & Co.–in Italy came to be. After the new merger, the plan is to assemble Italian professionals spread out over the joint territory in a structure of 100/150 people, and along with Grassi & Co. (with its 300+ professionals), support clients in cross-border transactions between the two countries. In a few words, we see it as a highly-skilled, dedicated Italian-American office.

    What do you think about differences between the world of Italian accountants and their  American colleagues? What brings them together?

    They’re two completely different worlds. There are pros and cons on both sides, but this alliance will better service the clients of both countries: whether Italians, Americans, or Italian Americans. What I saw with American accountants is their difficulty communicating with Italian clients, and vice-versa, because of the different approaches of the two professional systems–the Italian client is used to having the accountant take care of all his or her needs as a general counsel, which is a feature not present in American accountancy. As I’m used to saying: with Italian clients, you need to speak Italian, not just for linguistic reasons but also for cultural sensibility. It takes attentive mediation.

    The laws are different, of course, but there are also different financial and accounting tools that are often difficult to use  side by side. It happens that many errors are made, some even unknowingly.

    In fact, I’m trying to work on this. Often, American accountants see only what’s happening in the United States, but not what’s happening in Italy. The same is true for Italians who are concerned about what’s happening in Italy; they don’t see what's happening in the United States. Unfortunately, when a company is Italian and works in the United States, or vice versa, it’s important to be aware of both systems.

    Could you give us an example?

    One of the mistakes that Italians make when they come to the United States is that they open businesses and appoint themselves administrators, but they are residents of Italy. Their American accountants fail to tell Italian clients that this may be a case of “relocation abroad,” a regulation that requires the US-based operation to submit a tax return in Italy, despite the fact that  is not physically present in Italy.

    There are also cases of American citizens, or green card holders, who live in Italy and, according to U.S. law, have to file a tax return and pay taxes in the United States, or be subject to a penalty.



    GRASSI & CO >>>

  • Foto di ©Andrea Rotili
    Fatti e Storie

    L'empatia di Mafalda

    IL Birdland è un tempio del Jazz newyorchese che ha ospitato le più grandi divinità della storia della musica. Parliamo di nomi come Charlie Parker detto “Bird” che ne ha ispirato il nome nel lontano 1949, John Coltrane, Miles Davis e Lester Young. Non solo jazzisti, ma anche artisti e celebrità sono stati assidui frequentatori del locale, da Gary Cooper a Marylin Monroe, da Frank Sinatra a Marlene Dietrich ed Ava Gardner.

    Un'interprete pura

    In sessant’anni di attività però, forse nessuno prima era riuscito a presentare al pubblico un repertorio così ricco dei grandi classici della canzone popolare italiana. Mafalda Minnozzi ce l'ha fatta, grazie al suo stile vocale personalissimo con il quale riesce a vestire canzoni come, Azzurro, Parole ParoleCome prima, Arrivederci, Nessuno, di sfumature swing, jazz, samba e bossanova. Senza dimenticare l’importanza dell’interpretazione che è propria della melodia italiana. 

    In scaletta la cantante non ha proposto solo brani italiani, ma anche pezzi brasiliani come quelli di Antônio Carlos Jobim, americani di Cole Porter fino alla sua musa ispiratrice, la cantante francese Édith Piaf. Tutti tasselli importanti e significativi del suo viaggio in musica. Mafalda è un’interprete pura nel senso più alto del termine, in linea con le grandissime artiste della musica italiana da Caterina Valente a Mia Martini, da Ornella Vanoni a Mina. La sua voce virtuosa, usata come uno strumento musicale, ci ricorda anche Giuni Russo, l'interprete siciliana, prematuramente scomparsa, dotata di un'estensione vocale fuori dal comune che ha sempre prestato al servizio di ardite sperimentazioni sonore, precorrendo spesso i tempi in Italia. 

    L'eMPathia Jazz Duo

    Affianco a Mafalda qui al Birdland troviamo Paul Ricci, l’anima americana dell'eMPathia Jazz Duo, chitarrista e compositore formatosi al New England Conservatory di Boston, che vanta collaborazioni con alcuni grandi nomi della musica: Astrid Gilberto, Bobby Sanabria, Harry Belafonte. La sua passione per il jazz, per la musica brasiliana ed africana ha trovato nella voce di Mafalda lo strumento ideale per potersi esprimere. Il duo ha dato vita a progetti discografici importanti, eMPathia nel 2015 candidato al Premio Tenco e Inside nel 2016, prodotto da Jeff Jone, vincitore di un premio Grammy.

    Da qui una serie di concerti che li ha portati in tour in Italia, Europa, Stati Uniti e Brasile, seconda patria artistica della cantante. Mafalda è considerata ormai da vent’anni l’ambasciatrice ufficiale della musica italiana in Brasile.

    L’empatia che il duo riesce a creare con il pubblico è la stessa che si prova quando si parla con Mafalda. La cantante è una comunicatrice nel senso proprio del termine, una donna che ama “mettere in comune” la sua anima ed il suo vissuto con chi la ascolta, accorciando la distanza tra palco e realtà.

    Così si è raccontata a noi dopo la sua performance al Birdland, con la stessa semplicità ed onestà con cui intona il suo canto.

    La storia di Mafalda. Le origini marchigiane

    “Sono nata a Pavia”, inizia a raccontarci Mafalda, “ma mi sono successivamente trasferita nelle Marche, il luogo di origine dei miei genitori. All’Istituto delle Canossiane di Pavia ho iniziato ad approcciarmi alla musica, cantavo nel coro. Lì ho imparato la disciplina e l’ascolto. In realtà la passione per la musica me l’ha prima trasmessa mia madre che ha una voce da soprano. Con il canto cercavo di dialogare con mia madre con la quale avevo un rapporto conflittuale. Poi ho scoperto Caterina Valente, una cantante italiana che mi aveva colpito sin da piccolina, la emulavo. Mi piaceva il fatto che interpretasse in tante lingue diverse, come se fosse un unico idioma.

    Le Marche sono una regione di grande tradizione musicale e poetica da Beniamino Gigli a Leopardi. Cantare e raccontare sono dominanti nella nostra cultura. Poi a Macerata abbiamo lo Sferisterio, la seconda arena più grande per la musica classica in Italia. Qui sono cresciuta artisticamente. L’arena ospita anche “Musicultura”, un festival molto importante, al quale ho avuto l’onore di partecipare”.

    Dalle Marche a Roma e poi in giro per il mondo

    Dalle Marche poi Mafalda si sposta a Roma guidata da una sete inesauribile per tutto ciò che è espressione artistica. Qui studia musica, danza e frequenta la scuola di teatro di Saverio Marconi de “La compagnia della Rancia”. Sempre ‘curiosa e amante della vita’, come ama definirsi, Mafalda è pronta a lanciarsi in sfide sempre più grandi e a presentarsi al pubblico di tutto il mondo. Dopo i primi recitals nel 1986 scritti da lei e diretti dal marito, oggi suo impresario, Marco Bisconti, la cantante riempie la sua valigia con i grandi classici del canzoniere italiano e arriva a Parigi, in Grecia, in Germania.

    L’amore per il Brasile e l’incontro con Paul Ricci

    Come un cantastorie itinerante Mafalda continua poi il suo viaggio per il mondo fino a scoprire il Brasile, un’amore a prima vista che si è poi consolidato in vent’anni di carriera. Qui incontrerà Paul Ricci, e alla cantante si apriranno le porte anche de gli Stati Uniti.

    “Io e Paul ci siamo conosciuti a Rio de Janeiro e non ci siamo più lasciati. Lui è diventato il direttore artistico del mio lavoro, mi piace tanto il senso di libertà ma anche di disciplina con cui lavora. Io da lui ho imparato tantissimo, è un grande musicista e una grande persona, umana, un uomo molto paziente e generoso. Scrive le partiture in maniera molto meticolosa e precisa. Paul è riuscito a trasferire la grande tradizione del jazz americano ad una terra che ama molto questo stile musicale, il Brasile, e a fonderlo con i suoi ritmi”.

    La musica: una missione di vita

    La lunga carriera di Mafalda, costellata di importanti incontri artistici e di vita come quelli con Lucio Dalla, Milton Nascimento, Guinga, Martinho Da Vila, per citarne alcuni, non è mai stata all’insegna della rincorsa al successo. Per lei la musica è una missione: raccontare le vite degli altri attraverso la sua voce.

    “Io ho vissuto attraverso la grande vita della gente comune, come la hanno raccontata Chico Buarque o Carol Porter. Della gente comune ma anche dell’intellettuale e dell’artista. Noi siamo degli strumenti, in mano ad un’arte che ci è data dalla nostra nascita. Non si diventa artisti, non si impara a cantare o a suonare, poi dopo si può migliorare, studiare, ma il talento è naturale. Nasci con un dono e bisogna ringraziare madre natura per questo. Io sono un po’ agnostica ma mi sento una persona molto spirituale, sono molto francescana in tutti i sensi, credo nei valori della fratellanza, dello scambio, del perdono e dello stare insieme.”

    Mafalda ha un approccio puro al suo mestiere di cantante, e ha sempre voluto preservare questa sua purezza senza cedere a compromessi di nessun tipo. In un’industria discografica che tende sempre di più ad appiattire e a limitare l’espressione di un artista, la Minnozzi ha scelto di mantenersi libera da certe logiche di mercato. Per questo la cantante ha fondato la sua etichetta discografica e cura ogni singolo dettaglio della sua carriera, dai vestiti di scena che indossa alla promozione dei sui CD’s.

    “Sono sempre stata vera fino a farmi male, ho perso anche tante occasioni per questa mia verità. La musica è nata per fare stare insieme la gente, per distruggere le barriere. La musica è nata per essere libera, è un linguaggio universale che tutti possono parlare e capire”.

    Ambasciatrice della musica.

    Far conoscere la musica italiana nel mondo è un’altra importante missione nel percorso artistico di Mafalda. La cantante è stupita dai feedbacks entusiasti che il pubblico le regala quando propone brani di Umberto Bindi, Paolo Conte, Luigi Tenco, Ivano Fossati, e degli altri grandi cantautori italiani.  Si meraviglia anche di come l’Italia sembri essersi dimenticata di questo immenso patrimonio musicale. Ce ne parla riferendosi proprio alla sua ultima esibizione sul palco del Birdland.

    “Portare la canzone italiana al Birdland non è semplice. Io sto portando con me un linguaggio che la gente non capisce. Stasera c’erano persone che venivano da tutte le parti del mondo e hanno apprezzato questo repertorio. Non capisco perché noi italiani non crediamo nella nostra cultura e nel nostro passato. Noi abbiamo una tradizione musicale importantissima, noi veniamo dalle vilanelle del ‘400, dai canti barocchi, per poi passare a tutta la musica tradizionale fino ad arrivare ai nostri cantautori. Quest’anno ho sentito a Sanremo delle canzoni che non sono cantabili, non rappresentano la nostra identità musicale, sono fine a se stesse, non hanno durabilità. Quando torno in Italia però e propongo il mio repertorio dei grandi classici, il pubblico impazzisce, non è vero che al pubblico questa musica non interessa più, forse non è più abituato ad ascoltarla davvero.”

    Che sia in Italia, in Brasile, sul palco del Birdland, da solista o in duo, l’empatia che Mafalda riesce a creare con il suo pubblico la hanno resa una grande ambasciatrice della musica, non solo italiana, ma del mondo.

    Già in studio di registrazione per il prossimo disco dell’eMPathia Jazz duo, Mafalda e Paul sono pronti per continuare il loro inarrestabile tour in giro per il mondo. Prossima tappa, Brasile. 

    Per maggiori informazioni sui concerti dell'eMPAthia Jazz Duo e tutte le novità cliccate qui sul sito ufficiale >>

  • Art & Culture

    Piedmont: An Unforgettable Vacation

    An elegant breakfast was held to promote the beauty of the region of Piedmont. The audience included journalists in the culture, food, tourism, and sports sectors, along with people who are passionate about Italian culture.

    The event, organized in collaboration with ENIT’s (Italian Government Tourist Board) New York office, was presented by Consul General Francesco Genuardi. He greeted the delegation and spoke with great enthusiasm: “Piedmont is a unique region with a very important past. In fact, it is the region that unified the rest of Italy. In the beginning of January 2017, the New York Times included Turin on its list of cities not to be missed. Piedmont has not only a great past but also a great future, as the delegation here will soon explain to you. Piedmont’s story is characterized by an incredible combination of different factors that make it particularly attractive.”

    Maria Elena Rossi, general manger of Sviluppo Piemonte Turismo Srl, was the moderator of the panel composed of Mauro Carbone, general manager of Ente Turismo Alba Bra Langhe Roero and supervisor of The National Centre For the Study of Truffles Marco Albano, curator of the Juventus Museum, a multimedia and bilingual historical sports museum dedicated to the Juventus Football Club; Stefano Mosca, director of ATL Biella (Local Tourist Agency); and Gianni Miradoli from the tour operator Central Holidays, which organizes tourist packages for Americans who want to visit Italy.

    An illustrious guest of the event was Marco Leona–Scientist in Charge of the Department of Scientific Research at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. The art scientist is the head of a team whose job is to discover hidden secrets in the museum’s works. Born in Ivrea, a town just outside the city of Turin, Leona is a point of pride for the region of Turin. He has been living in New York for the past thirteen years.

    Exciting Experiences in the Region of Piedmont

    Maria Elena Rossi began the conversation with an important statistic: more than 270,000 American tourists have visited Piedmont in 2015. This is a striking statistic, and it highlights the growing interest in the vast and constantly changing tourist offerings of the region.

    “To allow the tourism market to expand, we need to present new innovative experiences,” Rossi affirms. “The thread that connects all of the testimonies that we are able to hear today is that they are all exclusive experiences that can be had in Piedmont based on our traditions and our culture in the various parts of the region. Today in the field of tourism we know that it’s important to live certain emotions and certain experiences. Therefore, we were thinking of presenting you with some of Piedmont’s offerings from the quality of Alba’s white truffles and fabulous wines to the textile industry and sports. For example, Juventus, the historic soccer team known worldwide, is becoming a tourist attraction thanks to the opening of a museum dedicated to the team’s history. Luxury car design is also very important to us, for example, FIAT.”

    Any tourist who wants to visit Piedmont will find himself or herself in front of diverse, unique, and exciting offerings.

    The Clothing Industry

    The clothing industry, for example, is a great cultural tradition of the region. 80% of the best fabrics used in the luxury clothing found on New York’s 5th Avenue come from Piedmont, from Biella in particular. Textile businesses are now opening their doors to tourists to offer exclusive interactive experiences.

    Stefano Mosca from ATL Biella offers his thoughts: “We are here to tell a story. We know that Milan is one of the most important Italian cities in the fashion world. Without Piedmont and without Biella, no fashion brands would exist. We produce we 80% of the best textile products. All of the great fashion designers come to Biella to supply themselves with the best fabrics. We want to open the doors of all the factories to allow you to experience how the best fabrics in the world are created. Quality has to do with sustainability. When we bring tourists in these factories, they will be surrounded by beautiful natural backdrops that show exactly how these fabrics were born. When you visit a textile factory, you will understand how complicated it is to produce quality fabrics, which have their foundations in raw materials. You can follow the whole assembly process from raw materials to the finished fabric, and there will also be the chance to do some shopping. Not only touching the fabric but also having that human interaction will make all the difference–meeting the workers, for example, the family members of the famous Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Mill.”

    Manufacturers are certainly not the only ones who made a name for Piedmont in the world. It’s a land of great culture and longstanding artistic traditions.


    Who better than Marco Leona, an art scientist at New York’s MET, to tell us about the artistic excellence of the region: “Piedmont is truly a special and unique place. Suffice to say that the dome of the Mole Antonelliana in the center of Turin is one of the largest non-reinforced stonework monuments in the world, and it’s the symbol of the city. The Mole Antonelliana, a former synagogue, defines the Italian skyline for those coming to Italy, not the Vatican as you may imagine. Many ancient civilizations crossed the Alps from France into Switzerland, and they arrived in Piedmont. It was a forced passage. They left important artistic and cultural testimonies here.”

    Piedmont is an increasingly attractive destination, and today it draws visitors from all over the world. The region guarantees extremely high standards in terms of accommodations as stated by Gianni Miradoli, tour operator of Central Holidays, which organizes tourism packages to some of the most popular and important Italian destinations. "The services and accomodation in Piedmont are incredible. We send tourists to Tuscany and to Rome, but Piedmont is second to none. Our clients' enthusiastic feedback confirms this.”

    The Charm of White Truffles

    As if it were not enough, the region is also renowned for its gastronomic traditions. In particular, the production of white truffles from Alba is a delicacy and a unique rarity in the world.

    Marco Carbone from the The National Centre For The Study of Trufles tells us, “White truffles from Alba are the most precious white truffles, which on their own are already the most prized because they can’t be cultivated. We have an annual production process that is linked to a natural cycle, the changing of the seasons. The white truffle is fascinating because truffle hunting is absolutely free. There’s no private property; therefore, anyone can go to look for truffles where he wants. If someone knows about some plants that produce the truffles, he must keep the secret. We developed our world around this. Visiting us means going with the truffle hunter and his dog, discovering that “backstage,” the environment behind the truffle, which its most important part, aside from its scent."

    Juventus: More than Just a Soccer Team

    Another of the region’s great attractions is the historic soccer team Juventus. Italian soccer has always been an important part of cultural identification. No longer just a simple team, the soccer association is opening up new business possibilities, starting from the foundation of a themed museum. We had the chance to chat with Marco Albano, curator of the museum, who spoke with us about the new initiatives connected with the team:

    “When we talk about Juventus in this way, we’re not only talking about sports but also about entertainment. The Americans are our teachers in this because they’ve been able to create that stadium atmosphere that transcends sporting events. They go to the stadium with their kids and families. They go hours before the start of the game, and they even stay after just for fun. In Italy there still is no event like the Super Bowl. There’s the final of the Champions’ League, but it’s more of a media event. We, as Juventus, were able to create the atmosphere of a media event because the audience of Juventus matches is the largest in Italy, but it’s also a local event. At the stadium, there’s a full-fledged business because we generate a sales volume of 400 million Euros a year. It’s also a lifestyle business. By now, Juventus is like Harley Davidson, like Ferrari–a brand in all aspects. Those who wear it, those who live it, those who touch it commit to Juventus, not only as a team but also as a philosophy of live, as a style. There are strong and very marked brand values. Juventus, love it or hate it, black or white, without compromise. It’s something that either you love and you live with a sense of belonging, or you don’t live it at all.

    Piedmontese Character

    Piedmontese character is strong. It’s the character of a land that has its cultural strength and its natural propensity to feel a bit like the center of the world in the great traditions of the Duchy of Savoia. This is how Maria Elena Rossi looks to define the excellence of the Piedmontese character: “The most important characteristic of the Piedmontese character is surely linked to its history of the Savoys, which has a lot to do with the seriousness, the trustworthiness, and also the hunt for excellence. It’s probably also a result of the fact that Turin was the capital of the kingdom and was surrounded by beauty, art, and culture. Furthermore, there was a strong proximity to the European courts. It’s also certainly a land that has had a strong push towards internationalization.”

    This seriousness and this attention to quality are inevitably reflected in the business culture and in its products.

    “Behind every quality product, there’s a lot of culture. Without culture, there’s no added value to the product. Today, we believe that the true value of a product on the market is the culture that it represents, that it brings with itself, and that distinguishes it. In Piedmont, there are still numerous examples of authentic Italian manufacturing, and therefore, there are still many opportunities to spread the Italian culture through these products. This is what we want to tell–unique experiences of shopping, of tastes, of visits that we believe can be some of the greatest cultural experiences.”

    Stefano Mosca, director of ATL Biella closed with that thought, underlining, yet again, how the region of Piedmont is a place not to be missed on your list of places to visit around the world.