On December 10, Marseille rolls out the green-white-and-red carpet for one of the finest French-Italian actors and his travel companions.

Many of the artistic and cultural gems that France is so proud of actually have their roots in Italy: literature, poetry, music, dance, theatre… and Cesare Capitani. And what better tour guide on a stroll through Italy than this Milan native who has lived in Paris for a decade and a half now? Along with his musician friends Renata Bittencourt and Roberto Stimoli, he invites his audience to accompany him on a musical, entertaining Promenade… In Italia to explore the Boot’s cultural heritage, scenic landscapes, and regional dialects, and of course the stereotypes of each other on either side of the border. Next stop: the Italian Cultural Institute in Marseille on December 10 at 18h30.

Saluti Italia!
Dante Alighieri and Carlo Goldoni, Giorgio Gaber and Lorenzo Il Magnifico, Dario Fo and Gabriele d’Annunzio… names which evoke the emotion, passion, drama and beauty that make Italian culture so rich and multifaceted. In his humourous, lighthearted one hour program, Cesare revisits them all, their well-known and lesser known sides…. reading, reciting, singing and dancing his way along the Peninsula. And with the loving eye of someone who squarely has a foot in either country, straddling the Alps, he pulls gentle fun of the clichés about Italians, both from within and without. A true immersion in Italian culture without the hassle of packing your bags.

Theatre patrons in France and beyond know and love Cesare well…. the author and protagonist of such phenomenally successful plays as “Moi Caravage” and “L’Autre Galilée”. In these, he brilliantly incarnates complex personalities…..Caravaggio, the troubled painter, and Galilei, the conflicted genius scientist. Born in Milan, Cesare has made Paris his home many years ago and is loving it, but he still deeply cherishes his Italian origins. Promenade… In Italia is therefore both an homage to his beautiful home country and a way to show a different side of his immense talent and skills as an actor, author, and singer… a more playful, poetic, fun side, but every bit as polished and accomplished as one knows him to be.

Cesare Capitani
And Cesare, the language aficionado, won’t let the chance slip by to present his show in both French and Italian – or more precisely, in the rich vernacular of regional Italian dialects, from Venetian to Neapolitan and Milan. And of course, the other important Italian language… gestures. Italians talk with their hands as much as with their mouths, but do those not fortunate enough to have been born and raised in Il Bel Paese always understand what these unspoken words mean? Hilarious misinterpretations ensue…..

Cesare isn’t one to do things half-heartedly, it’s therefore only natural that he picked travel companions on this musical journey who come equipped with stellar credentials and a love for foreign shores: Sicilian-born and Johannesburg-trained guitarist Roberto Stimoli has a penchant for eclectic music across centuries and latitudes… his repertory spans Bach as much as Latin American and African rhythms. And classically-trained Renata Bittencourt, already well-recognized in her native Brazil, has made a great name for herself as an award-winning concert pianist since her arrival in France in 2009.

Cesare Capitani and friends
Cesare Capitani’s tour train to Italy has no firm schedule but stops occasionally in a city near you. (If you cannot hop on in Marseille on this occasion but are in Paris in early 2016, you also have another chance to see this remarkable actor in his spectacular, unmissable success “L’Autre Galilée” when it plays for another two months at the Théâtre Lucernaire from January 13 to March 12.)

L’Infinito – Giacomo Leopardi
But for now, this Promenade… In Italia is one well worth taking. Buon Viaggio, and send a postcard!

Tickets are free but places are limited, reservation is mandatory (by phone 04 91 48 51 94, or by email iicmarsiglia [at] esteri.it)

Words by Giorgio Gaber Leopardi

 

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All photos courtesy Cesare Capitani

 

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