By Simona Frasca
This ebook experiences the interval from the unification of Italy to the fascist period via major Neapolitan performers reminiscent of Gilda Mignonette and Enrico Caruso. It strains the transformation of a well-liked culture written in dialect right into a renowned culture, written in Italian, that contributed to the creation of "American" id.
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Additional info for Italian Birds of Passage: The Diaspora of Neapolitan Musicians in New York
I perhaps had more fortune because I worked in a period of great musical vivacity. I was 20 years old when at the Teatro Bellini in Naples I worked in the famous Piedigrotta of Furio Rendine. During one of the encores of the show, Gennaro and Vincenzo Gardenia participated. Gennaro was the first great Italian-American actor to be engaged in Hollywood. They were taken with my voice and offered me a contract in America. I had already travelled in 1949 with Cafiero-Fumo Company and Luisa Conte; we had been in Brazil for almost 6 months.
36 As far as music is concerned, Tamanini’s statement identifies a clean and very real split in Italian-American culture. On the one side there is the generation of Frank Sinatra and his contemporary performers; this generation responds to the archetypical Italian-American canon mentioned earlier, to the stereotype of the immigrant who has suffered and who, for this reason, is ready to cheat anyone. Spiteful and trigger-happy, this stereotypical immigrant is often deceived by friendship and the spirit of camaraderie because, at the bottom of his heart, he is a good man who loves his mother and his wife, even if he is also a Don Juan.
26 Other than maintaining a program of musical shows and dramas over the course of the month, the theaters were also places for holding so-called “evenings of honor,” for artists who were very popular in the community. These evenings were elegant affairs of musical and dramatic presentations. For example, on March 30, 1922, the noted dialect poet Pasqualotto was honored in Acierno’s Thalia Theater on the Bowery. On that occasion, major artists of the day appeared on stage—Teresa de Matienzo, Griselda Picone, the Amauli couple, the comedian Alfredo Bascetta, the Neapolitan singer Gennaro Quaranta, and the tenor Vittorio Somma.
Italian Birds of Passage: The Diaspora of Neapolitan Musicians in New York by Simona Frasca