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

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Rare operatic jewels

The Opera Festival of Chicago will stage six performances at venues across the Chicago area during its fourth season. “Puccini Forever,” featuring arias and scenes from all of Giacomo Puccini’s operas, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on June 21 at DePaul University in Chicago; Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. June 27 and 29, and 2 p.m. June 30 at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston; and Luigi Dallapiccola’s “Il Prigioniero” and Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Medium” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. July 11 and 2 p.m. July 14 at the Athenaeum Theater in Chicago. The Opera Festival of Chicago is dedicated to staging Italian operas that rarely perfomed in the Chicago area. For more, click here.

Bring on the funk!

Italian R&B and funk guitarist Giacomo Turra will bring his world tour to The Salt Shed in Chicago on July 7. Intrigued by the vinyl records owned by his father, Turra started playing guitar at the age of 13, learning by jamming to artists like Stevie Wonder, George Benson and Herbie Hancock. He started posting video performances during the pandemic, gaining hundreds of thousands of followers around the world and becoming an official artist for D’Angelico Guitars, Shure, Laney and Universal Audio. He released his first original single, “Get Into the Groove,” and began collaborating with other international R&B and funk artists in 2022. For more, click here.

Not just your Nonna’s tunes

Representing the third generation of musicians in the Chiarelli family, the Rockford-based Vince Chiarelli Band will bring its act to Geneva’s FoxFire at 7 p.m. on July 13 and other locations throughout the area in July. The band is rooted in the music of Chiarelli’s late grandfather, Vincent Chiarelli Sr., who performed in Italy with Italian bandleader Franco Li Causi. Their repertoire includes Italian favorites such as “Volare” and “Quando, Quando, Quando” along with a touch of flamenco from Spain and bossa nova from Brazil. Their sound is driven by Chiarelli’s vocals, rhythm guitar and bass, and Frank Calvagna’s lead guitar. They’ve dubbed their blend of old and new, Italian and Latin, “Flamenco Italiano.” For more, click here.

The artistic side of wood

Sculptor Jyl Bonaguro’s large-scale work, “Halcyon,” will be on display until Sept. 1 at ALMA Art and Interiors in Chicago as part of the 2024 Chicago Sculpture International Juried Exhibition. The exhibit spotlights more than 80 artists in a variety of media. “Halcyon can be defined as an idyllic time in the past, a bit of carefree happiness. It also references a kingfisher or a mythic ancient bird that nested upon the sea,” the artist writes. “The slowly spinning wood-veneer piece redefines what wood can do and pushes the medium into pure sculpture sans furniture functionality.” Born in Chicago Heights, Bonaguro is a Chicago-based artist working in marble, limestone, wood and mixed media. For more, click here. (almaartandinteriors.com)

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 perform at Tortello! in Chicago on Mondays and Tuesdays in July. For more, click here.

Sumptuous showcase

European history buffs will have a field day at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms and Armor. Unveiled in 2017, the expansive exhibit showcases nearly 700 objects from the museum’s rich holdings of art from 1200 to 1600 as well as an extensive arms and armor collection. Among the Italian items on display are a terra-cotta altarpiece by Florentine Benedetto Buglioni, works of art for the bedchambers of Tuscany’s merchant elite, and a tempera-on-panel diptych of the Virgin and Child Enthroned and the Crucifixion (pictured). For more, click here.

About Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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One comment

  1. Several of these look very interesting. Thanks for sending.

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