MUSICAL/West Side Story
December 13-16, 18-22
Teatro del Maggio Musicale, piazza Vittorio Gui 1, Florence
One hundred years after the birth of composer-conductor-musical giant Leonard Bernstein, revival shows and remembrance initiatives are taking place. Florence gets in on the fun with a week-plus of West Side Story, the classic musical inspired by Romeo and Juliet: filled with star-crossed love, feuds and, naturally, plenty of finger-snapping and dancing from New York’s gangsters (the Jets and Sharks) as they fight for their turf. In Federico Bellone’s adapted version, dialogue will be performed in Italian but all of the Stephen Sondheim-authored lyrics will be sung in their original English. As for the finger-snapping, expect to see all of the original choreography by Jerome Robbins, reproduced for today’s stage by Fabrizio Angelini. For more information and tickets, see www.maggiofiorentino.com.
Spend a cozy evening or afternoon at the Paperback Exchange as the days get colder: the beloved bookshop is hosting two events spotlighting local authors this week. On Thursday, December 13, Florence-based novelist Baret Magarian, author of the acclaimed The Fabrications, will read from his bilingual Scherzando con tutte le mie bestie preferite, which touches on love, identity, transience and art's consoling and damaging effects; he'll then share some excerpts from Mirror and Silhouette, which reflects on the past, the shadow self, and the masks we all wear to reveal or conceal ourselves. Saturday afternoon (December 15, 1-4.30pm) brings a come-and-go book signing with Christine De Melo, the bestselling, effervescent author behind the new novel Ruthless. For more information, call 055.293460.
Via Maggio has transformed into a holiday village for the month. Contemporaneamente celebrates the new-and-now in via Maggio and surrounding areas – holiday-hued but more than just candy canes and caroling. More than 50 art galleries, shops, bar-cafes and artisan botteghe will have thrown their hats in the ring, hosting exhibitions, tastings, children’s activities, guided visits and workshops. Highlights to look out for this week include Roberta Cipriani Pampaloni's Leonardo-themed Rêve de feu performance (December 15) ahead of the 500th anniversary of his birth; Anna Corcione’s site-specific, migration-themed installation Italian Roots at her via Maggio studio; and St. Mark's English Church's traditional caroling outing (December 18, 6pm, departing from the church). For full program details and times as more are announced, see theflr.net/contemporaneamente2018.
A holiday season staple, the Four Season's Open Day is a charitable event raising money for the Istituto degli Innocenti (this year's aim is to help the institute construct a didactic garden). Jam-packed with Christmas goodies, gourmet chefs' dishes, children's entertainment and caroling, Open Day offers the perfect excuse to explore the sprawling Giardino della Gherardesca and contribute to a good cause while you're at it. A minimum donation of one euro is required to enter.
Marina Abramovic's landmark work “The House with the Ocean View” is currently being re-staged at the ongoing exhibition The Cleaner in its Italian premiere. First exhibited in 2002, the much-imitated, much-mocked, and generally pot-stirring performance art piece consisted in Abramovic taking up residence in New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery for 12 days, fasting, remaining silent and (effectively) trapped inside a suspended structure supported by a ladder with rungs made of blades. Hours for the exhibition and this Italian debut are from 10am-8pm daily and 10am-11pm Thursdays; as for what the artist gets up to after closing, it’s all left to the honor system.