As the weather gets warmer, head to the hills above Florence and the wonderful gardens of Villa La Pietra. New York University Florence (via Bolognese 120) is planning a busy program for the 17th edition of The Season. Our events will draw you into the most intimate aspects of Villa La Pietra and out into the wider currents of history and art, literature and music.
The Season will begin May 11 with an Acton Lecture, titled Color Inspiration, by the artists Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably, who are internationally famous for their work in fabric design, quilts, knitting, needlepoint, painting, and mosaics. Be inspired by the possibilities of pattern, color and the life-changing glory of the decorative arts. We will honor Sir Harold Acton again on May 13 with a concert featuring American composer Scott Wheeler, including his Italian songs and the world premiere of a new composition setting the words of Harold Acton (from Memoirs of an Aesthete), Arrival in China 1932, especially commissioned for the occasion. Wheeler will also present his violin sonata The Singing Turk, which has been performed all over the world, derived from operatic themes discussed in the book The Singing Turk (2016) by NYU co-director Larry Wolff. On June 13, the China theme continues with a lecture by Professor Joanna Waley-Cohen, provost of NYU Shanghai and NYU professor of Chinese history: Sharing Beauty: China in Italy in Premodern Times.
We have featured music composed by Roberto Scarcella Perino in past Seasons, and on June 15 he presents a scene from his new opera, Enrico IV, with a libretto by NYU Florence faculty member Federica Anichini, based on the play by Pirandello. The scene will be sung by the celebrated Italian baritone Gianluca Margheri. The concert will also include the world premiere of the composer’s new trio.
On June 16, we will offer a symposium on fairy tales, including research from NYU Professor Patricia Lennox on the books in the Villa La Pietra collection. NYU Florence will mark the Franco Zeffirelli Centennial with a screening of Tea With Mussolini on June 19 and open an exhibition of the remarkable dresses of Hortense Mitchell Acton from the 1920s and 1930s, from her favorite Paris fashion atelier Callot Soeurs in a rare opportunity to see this important fashion collection at Villa La Pietra. The film will be accompanied by a discussion of the lives of expatriates in fascist Italy in the 1920s and the 1930s. The following day, the NYU Tisch Continuum Company will put on their adaptation of Romeo and Juliet with professional actors visiting from New York. We will screen short clips from the Zeffirelli movie and offer the actors a chance to discuss different approaches to the text and the characters.
The incredibly talented young singers of Accademia Verdiana in Parma will offer a Verdi workshop and concert on June 22 and we’ll also have a conversation about the music, musicology, history and the technical aspects of performing, with insights from Francesco Izzo, Direttore Scientifico of Festival Verdi Parma. More on opera with a book presentation by Larry Wolff discussing his book, The Shadow of the Empress: Fairy-Tale Opera and the End of the Habsburg Monarchy, with commentary by Francesco Izzo, on June 23.
The well-loved student performance by the Tisch Commedia dell’Arte students will take place on June 27. This year, Professor James Calder, of the Tisch Graduate Acting Department, plans to present Molière’s The Imaginary Cuckold, or Sganarelle.
The Season ends on June 29 and 30 with composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Michael Korie’s new opera, The Garden of the Finzi Contini, adapted from the classic novel by Ferrarese writer Giorgio Bassani. The opera had its world premiere in New York City in 2022 and we are very proud to present the European premiere, featuring several of the original singers in a concert version, telling the story of Jewish families in Ferrara in the late 1930s.
We anticipate a season that takes full advantage of every venue at Villa La Pietra and its gardens, and we welcome our friends in the wider Florence community to join us. RSVP email@example.com / +39 055 5007210