The opera composer Gioachino Rossini was born in Pesaro 220 years ago. But his genius still resounds all over the city.
Baby dance is an institution in most villagios and holiday resorts in Italy, where all generations singalong to Zecchino d’Oro and the crocodile song.
My children grew up spending a month every summer in Italian villagios throughout the country. Every night, every year and everywhere from Lombardia over Emilia Romagna to Calabria, we seemed to have a crocodile in tow. Campground entertainment’s animazione programme almost always included a ‘Baby Dance’, where pre-teens – girls in particular – could dance around and act pretty on stage. For some inexplicable reason the soundtrack was always the same and it always culminated with the crocodile song .
This led me to wonder whether “Il coccodrillo come fa?” was ingrained in the Italian DNA. Sometimes on television I still see toddlers and very grown up people flapping their arms like jaws, wiping their eyes, and pretending to read an invisible newspapers in tune to the song. The gestures seem to be universally known and a lot more popular in Italy than Itsy-bitsy spider, contaminating even foreign children with no prior knowledge of the language.
And it is all down to Zecchino d’Oro, a children’s song festival that has taken place every year since 1959. The purpose of Zecchino d’Oro was to encourage composers to write songs specifically for children, the songs were also performed by children at the festival and on national television. In consequence, Zecchino d’Oro songs bridge several generations and remind them all of childhood pleasures, before children became big time media consumers and small Hannah Montana clones.
Hopefully they don’t miss out on the cuddly crocodile, which has served the national identity so well – both as a dancing lesson and as a lesson in Italian language and culture.
In honour of the San Remo Festival here is my list of the best Italian pop songs that have made an impact abroad or at least in Denmark.
Albano Carrisi is a very famous Italian pop singer you might go visit, if you happen to be in the Brindisi area.
Italy has several very attractive opera arenas like the Sferisterio, an opera arena in Macerata, in the central Marche region near the Adriatic coast.
If you haven’t got tickets to the opera in Verona Arena there are alternatives. Italy has several very attractive outdoor venues, when it comes to dramatic song performances.
In july we stumbled upon the Sferisterio Opera Festival in Macerata that stages 3-4 popular performances each summer along with a number of other musical events. This year one of the main acts was Madame Butterfly.
The Sferisterio in Macerata was built in 1829 as a stadium for an Italian kind of handball, circuses and bull fights, but today it has a reputation as the open air theater with the best acoustics. The arena is formed as a half circle with a very tall and long wall behind the stage. It is surrounded by arches and columns carrying a double row of boxes, and a stone gallery with seating for more than 3 000 spectators. A perfect neoclassical setting for a night out in Italy.
Apart from the opera arena in Macerata you might like to see
The poet of Recanati