Italy Today

D’Annunzio and his sirens, as told by Sylos Labini

The most piquant and sensual episodes of life at D’Annunzio’s villa in the play opening February 9, to be followed by an extensive tour throughout Italy

D’Annunzio and his sirens, as told by Sylos Labini

This is Italy Team

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It was only a matter of time before such an eclectic actor as Edoardo Sylos Labini?"a tireless researcher into key figures of the 20th century who previously brought to life Marinetti, Mazzini and Balbo?"would take on Gabriele D'Annunzio, Il Vate (The Poet), the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be marked this coming March 12th. And he will be doing it with the critical eye he is known for in the most unusual show of the season: D'Annunzio tra amori e battaglie (D'Annunzio's Loves and Battles). It will open in Chieti on February 9 and then start off on an extended tour of the Italian peninsula, with important stop-overs first in Rome (on February 21st) and then at the Manzoni theater in Milan on March 20th where, for the occasion, mementoes, clothing, jewelry and manuscripts that belonged to the "Comandante" will be on view in the foyer of the theater.

But as the event's protagonist (acknowledged as one of the most captivating figures on the Italian stage) notes, this is not an average commemoration. Because this actor, within the elaborate scenery which reproduces in miniature D'Annunzio's home, the Vittoriale?"that gilded cage where the bard of Italian poetry remained ensconced in his old age?"presents both the major events and spicier episodes of the "inimitable life" of D'Annunzio.

And behind the actor, from that sumptuous hermitage, a DJ the spitting image of the poet, plays the music he so enjoyed. From Vucchella, the beautiful song composed by D'Annunzio himself, to Wagnerian transports and the sensual voice of Joséphine Baker. In addition, in the text written in collaboration by Sylos Labini and Francesco Sala (also the play's director) and inspired by the book, L'amante guerriero (The Warrior Lover) by Giordano Bruno Guerri, appearing on stage will be four voluptuous sirens whom the author of Piacere crowned as ideal lovers.

Viola Pornaro in the role of Eleonora Duse, Silvia Siravo as the pianist Luisa Baccara (according to someone, she was a spy in Mussolini's secret service she was assigned to murder the poet whom the Duce feared held sway over the younger generation), Alice Viglioglia as Maria Hardouin (legal wife of this Don Giovanni), and Giorgia Sinicorni as the ambiguous figure of Amélie Mazoyer, the merciless housekeeper of the Vittoriale who had the thankless task of bathing and dressing the ladies of the street before they were placed in the den of iniquity, i.e., the bed of the tireless lover. A person Mussolini disdainfully likened to "a decayed tooth that you either have pulled out or covered in gold".

 

 

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