Last night, the beautiful San Carlo Theatre in Naples, hosted the première of Il Cappello di paglia di Firenze (The Straw Hat of Florence) an alive, surprising and amusing musical farce based on the vaudeville Le Châpeau de paille d’Italie by Eugène Labiche and Marc Michel, with the music of the great composer Nino Rota who also wrote the libretto helped with his mother Ernesta Rinaldi. This little jewel, that echoes opera, operetta, musical theatre and contemporary sounds, was welcomed by a resounding success that led to a very unusual circuit in Italy, initially performed in the 50’s at the Piccola Scala in Milan under the direction of Giorgio Strehler.
The piece follows the tradition of Donizetti opera buffa, with a sparkle of Rossini, Verdi, Lehár, a reminiscence of some classic movies soundtrack from West Side Story to The Magnificent Seven, and, of course an atmosphere that irrevocably take us to the Federico Fellini‘s masterpieces, such as 8 ½, the Dolce Vita, La Strada, remarkably animated by Rota’s music. Set in the magical atmosphere of Paris,the story turns around an elegant straw hat from Florence, real protagonist of a continuous paradoxical misunderstandings, exchanges of person, plot twists and naturally happy ending.Young and energetic Valerio Galli directed with vitality the San Carlo orchestra and choir. Elena Barbalich ‘s featured an animated direction, perhaps a little too horizontal, having often the big cast (nearly 40 people) all aligned on the same level, Tommaso Lagattolla‘s amazing costumes who’s palette spans from pastels from a glamorous red, black and white evening gowns number. I loved the impressive and athletic cast: Pietro Adaini, Gianluca Buratto, Bruno de Simone , Dario Giorgelè, Marco Miglietta, Roberto Covatta just to mention few, and the primadonnas Zuzana Marková, the ‘diva’ Anna Malavasi as the Baroness of Champigny, the flamboyant Anna Maria Sarra who irrevocably reminded me of the notorious Gradisca from Fellini’s Amarcord.
In the middle of the audience a unexpeced violin solo performance by Salvo LobardoThe highlights? I have to mention the irresistible choir performance of Io casco dalle nuvole a Broadway musical like moment with eight identical blonds seamstresses silhouetting against a fuchsia background, the very Verdi inspired change of the guard, , a unexpeced Salvo Lobardo ‘s violin solo performance in the middle of the audience, the colored umbrellas floating over the stage and, last but not the least, the lovely clown with his white had and his trumped , who took me to the magical world of Fellini.for more info Teatro San Carlo