Leisure

A preview of music, film, theater, dance and more

Keeping the flame alive Andrea Falcone is a musician on a mission. He seeks neither fame nor fortune. Instead, he and the fellow members of La Tosca Italian Mambo Ensemble are dedicated to performing and preserving the folk music of Italy. Featuring master accordion, violin, mandolin, stand-up bass and guitar players, the group is co-led by Falcone’s wife, Stephanie Pielok. “We perform a repertoire from the 1850s to the 1950s: tarantella, pizzica and tammurriata from Italy but also tango, fox trot, mazurka, and the music of the Romany, including gypsy jazz,” says Falcone, a native of Milan. La Tosca will …

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Lyric’s production of Donizetti comedy an utter delight

Delightful. No single word better describes the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s current rendition of “The Daughter of the Regiment.” There’s a giddy magic about the production that conjures laughter and applause at every turn and has the audience floating on air. Donizetti’s beloved French-language comedy tells the tale of Marie, the orphaned “daughter” of a military unit, who defies both the regiment and her long-lost relatives to be with Tonio, the young man she has fallen in love with. As Marie, Lisette Oropesa appears for all the world to be an impetuous tomboy, dancing gracefully in the upper reaches of …

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Celebrate 31 Day of Italians in October

Thirty-One Days of Italians has released its 2023 List, honoring extraordinary people of Italian heritage who significantly influenced the history and development of America. The project was launched in 2006, with a list being provided annually for the month of October. The first day in October honors the Italian immigrant and the last day is set aside to honor someone not on the list. Honorary members are on the List every year and include Fr. Pietro Bandini, Constantino Brumidi, Mother Francis Cabrini, Enrico Caruso, Christopher Columbus, Enrico Fermi, Amadeo Pietro Giannini, Guglielmo Marconi, Filippo Mazzei, Antonio Meucci, Maria Montessori, Andrea …

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September series in Detroit to celebrate Italian, local design

The Consulate of Italy in Detroit and the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan will once again team up to produce LoveITDetroit. The month-long celebration of artists, innovators, designers, architects, engineers, brands, influencers and more from Italy and Detroit will hold forth throughout September at 1001 Woodward Avenue. A virtual experience is also available. The second-annual series of events will take place during the Detroit Month of Design. Last year’s event won Detroit the distinction of City of Italian Creativity in the World by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. For details, click here.  

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National fest to screen Italian film in Northbrook

Italian Film Festival USA will screen “Aspromonte, Land of the Forgotten” at 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 at the Northbrook Public Library. Directed by Mimmo Calopresti and released in 2019, the film will be presented in Italian with English subtitles. In 1951 in Africo, a small village in the southern valley of Aspromonte, a woman dies in childbirth because a doctor fails to arrive on time. No road connects Africo with other villages. In the wake of this tragedy, all of Africo’s including children – abandon their usual occupations and unite to build their own road. Giulia, the new school …

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Muti named CSO director music director emeritus

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has named Ricardo Muti Music Director Emeritus for Life beginning in the 2023/24 season. The CSO’s 10th music director, Muti recently completed his 13th season at the helm of the celebrated symphony. He will assume the new role in September, when he conducts two weeks of concerts in Chicago to open the CSO’s 133rd season. Muti was recognized with the new artistic title during an onstage ceremony on June 23 at Orchestra Hall during the first of three performances of Beethoven’s “Missa solemnis,” which marked his final subscription concert as Zell Music Director.  

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Fazio unveils new Cubs song at Wrigley Field

Windy City crooner Sam Fazio debuted a newly discovered Cubs song before the team’s Aug. 2 matchup with the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. Titled “Come Out to Wrigley Field,” the tune was written by Pasquale “P.J.” Panico, a World War II veteran, musician and retired city of Chicago employee who passed away at the age of 95. A recording of the song was discovered among Panico’s belongings by his grandson, Rob Sarwark. “I was gathering up his old records for safekeeping, and one was clearly not commercially produced,” Sarwark says. What he unearthed was a demo of a Cubs …

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Unique Tuscan guitars available in the Windy City

In the heart of Tuscany, a group of artisans and luthiers dedicated to the crafts of woodworking, metallurgy and musicianship produce some of the funkiest, high-quality guitars on Earth. In his company’s headquarters, master luthier Bruno Bacci personally adjusts the tension and intonation on each instrument before it leaves the shop, ensuring maximum vibration and sound definition on every electric guitar, bass and baritone guitar that bears his name. The formula has proven to be a hit, as some of the world’s most highly talented guitarists, such as American jazz and funk guitarist Mark Lettieri and Sicilian jazz and rock …

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Pallatto’s new CD views life through a mature prism

Joanie Pallatto and her husband, Bradley Parker-Sparrow, are primarily jazz artists, but their influences include bossa nova and other Latin sounds, world jazz, the Great American Songbook, and even a little pop and Beatles-inspired rock. All of these influences are present in Pallatto’s latest release, “Accidental Melody,” which features music and lyrics exclusively written by Pallatto. “Surrender” blossoms into a seven-minute introduction of the project’s theme — a philosophical look at life as one reaches middle age and beyond. This exploration continues in songs like “The Melody of You,” “Don’t Ever Look for Love,” “In the Middle of Life” and …

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Documentary explores iconic hospital, painting

Film Festival USA will screen “The Innocents of Florence” at 7 p.m. on May 22 at Harris Hall 107, Northwestern University, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston. Directed by David Battistella, the documentary explores the history of the Ospedale degli Innocenti, founded in 1446 as a hospital for young mothers and babies, and the restoration of its logo, the painting “The Madonna of the Innocents.” The concert is free and open to the public. For more, click here.  

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