Category Archives: Music



Joseph Talia OAM, singer, artistic director, teacher and scholar, will be giving a series of talks on Italian opera from the Renaissance to Bellini between March and November 2020 at CO.AS.IT, 199 Faraday St, Carlton, from 6.30-8.00 pm on the last Tuesday of every month (except June). Entry is free, an aperitivo is included, but registration is requested. Apart from his teaching work, Maestro Talia is the author of the trilogy A History of Vocal Peda­gogy: Intuition and Science; Vocal Science for Elite Singers; and Italian Bel Canto in the Age of Vocal Science. Here is his description of each of the 8 lectures ……
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Celebrating Italian Studies at UWA

The series of public lectures celebrating Italian Studies at UWA (where the first lectureship in Italian in Australia was established in 1929) continues. Following an introduction by John Kinder, the talks, which can be heard by clicking on the title links below, have been given by Robert Hollingworth (‘Shaping the invisible: Images reflected in music‘), Stefano Carboni (‘Venice and the Ottomans: A visual artistic journey between the Serenissima and Istanbul‘) and Susan Broomhall (‘Missing Magnificence: Tracing Catherine de Medici’s hidden cultural legacy‘). The series continues on 13 August, 6pm-7pm, Murdoch Lecture Theatre, UWA Arts Building, with a lecture by Catherine Kovesi on Italy and the Invention of Luxury. Luxury as a concept and practice has a long and often sordid past from which it has never entirely freed itself. Italy is at the heart of luxury throughout its chequered history, from its fifteenth-century definition and first articulations to its broader manifestations in present-day luxury brands and the untrammelled consumption of our age.


Bartolomeo Cristofori, pianoforte man

Sally Grant   New York

Image: Google

Image: Google

For those who may have missed it, on Monday Google celebrated the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) of Padua, with a doodle dedicated to the relatively unknown, at least outside of musical circles, inventor of the pianoforte. By including a scale that changes the volume from piano to forte, the doodler, Leon Hong, has playfully captured the innovative nature of Cristofori’s invention. Watching the instrument maker become more animated as the volume rises is a particularly delightful touch. Perhaps it also signifies the glee that Cristofori feels for at last being celebrated in such a global and prominent way for his creation of a musical instrument that has impacted human culture so profoundly. The Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York owns one of only three surviving pianos by Cristofori. The other two are at the Museo Strumenti Musicali in Rome and at Leipzig University’s Musikinstrumenten-Museum.

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Migration Blues: Readings and songs from ‘Schizophrenia Migrantis’

51608-1According to Danilo Sidari, ‘schizophrenia migrantis’ is a state of mind affecting the majority of migrants (regardless of their ethnicity) and caused by a strong feeling of homesickness. The malaise mainly shows itself in a sense of displacement generating a sort of “grey psychological zone” where cultural identity is not clearly defined. At the Museo Italiano, Carlton, on 16 October at 6.30pm, Danilo Sidari will be reading excerpts of stories from his book, Schizophrenia Migrantis, and performing songs alongside the pianist Mauro Colombis.

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Fabrizio De André, popular intellectual

Guendalina Carbonelli   Monash University

I cannot remember the first time I came across Fabrizio. I was a child when like many Italians I started to listen to his songs with my parents and my older siblings. At that age his songs were fairytales to me; as I grew up, however, I realised that his songs had a very provocative component.Fabrizio_De_André2 My academic interest in De André is far more recent, however, and was triggered by the many initiatives that in 2009 were dedicated to the 10th anniversary of his death. The event was celebrated with books, successful tv shows and in particular a touring exhibition which visited Genoa, Rome, Nuoro, Palermo, and Milan between January 2009 and October 2010. 144,000 people went to the exhibition during the first 6 months in Genoa alone and about 150,000 in Nuoro and Rome. Visits by celebrities and politicians helped to boost the wide national response to the exhibition. In 2009 Cristiano De André, Fabrizio’s son and a singer-songwriter himself, started a tour in which he sang his father’s songs. The tour lasted two years and reached an audience of more than 500,000 people. I found all this attention quite unusual, even for a cantautore as popular as De André: I wondered why he was able to generate such a significant level of interest.

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The Politics of ‘Connective Marginalities’ in Italian Reggae Culture

Mathias Stevenson   Monash University

My interest in this research topic stems from my dual passion for Italian language/culture and Jamaican popular music. I have been collecting and studying Jamaican music for a little over twenty years but only discovered that Italian reggae existed during my first study trip to Italy in 2001.Flyer After seeing a poster at Florence’s Campo di Marte station, I set off on a solo mission to attend the internationally recognised, but now exiled, Rototom Reggae Sunsplash in Osoppo. At this festival I was introduced to Italian reggae for the first time, through the performances of Salento’s Sud Sound System and Turin’s Africa Unite. Upon returning to Australia I managed to stumble upon a second-hand CD of Sud Sound System, and when I returned to Italy in 2004 to undertake my Masters fieldwork on the cinema of Nanni Moretti (with generous financial assistance from the Cassamarca Foundation), I attended a number of reggae events at Rome’s centri sociali (Villaggio Globale and Intifada). Continue reading

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When in Rome do as the Romans do. But what do they listen to?

Roger Hillman   Australian National University

So, imagine you’re Woody Allen, about to make a film about Rome, in the wake of  other takes of an outsider on Barcelona and Paris. The last in particular had lots of music, crucial for the atmosphere and the sense of history. What musical choices do you make for Rome? How much do they overlap with what Woody actually chose, especially with the song that bookends the film? What is the going stereotype of music in Italy? What point has been reached by the reception history of popular song, opera, and especially perhaps of something in between, music of Rota and Morricone? Does Italy still sing?

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Portelli, ‘a life in progress and the stories of oral history’

Francesco Ricatti   University of the Sunshine Coast

Harlan CountyAlessandro Portelli recently retired from his position as Professor of American Literature at the University of Rome La Sapienza. Portelli has been highly influential in the development of oral history. Follow the link to listen his recent lecture at Royal Holloway University of London, which marked the launch of the Public History Centre. In it, Portelli highlights some of the experiences that have contributed to the development of his oral history methodology. Continue reading

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