Milan’s Moonlight Castle Concerts

Castle at night

Castello Sforzesco

Under a moonlit sky in Milan, my friend and I discovered a rare evening treat: an ingenious pairing of art and music. Enclosed behind the Castle walls, for only 15 Euros, we thrilled to dramatic staging of details from the paintings of Caravaggio accompanied by the Milano Chamber Orchestra playing Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Monteverdi among others.

Three actors from Teatri 35 captivated us as they deftly draped fabric around themselves changing scenes, positions, and dress 19 times using only the billowy material. They enacted images from Caravaggio’s artwork, then adapted final postures, posing like statues for up to a minute or so while Baroque music enveloped the emotional staging. How they held the poses for as long as they did was astonishing to witness.

Called Vivant Tableaux (Living Paintings), this performance technique of scenic representations originated in the Eighteenth Century and gained popularity in the Nineteenth.

Another night we watched an operatic rendition of Cinderella, using student actors in a parody of the fashion industry as a setting. Among the more amusing takes we recognized were four men in white, pony-tailed wigs and sunglasses lampooning Karl Lagerfeld, and a blond-wigged woman spoofing Donatella Versace in expression and gestures. Though clever and amusing, the performance–accompanied by the beautiful operatic voices of students–went on too long.

We noted (but did not go) that Notturni in Castello (Nights at the Castle) planned a fantasy Harry Potter performance another evening. Clearly, the Castle has something for everyone.

Innovative concerts starting at 9 PM en plein air at Castello Sforzesco run from June through August. You can buy tickets in advance on the grounds during the day. For more information: https://www.notturnincastello.it/

 

Renwick Rocks!

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

Exhibition at Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery is ongoing through January 21, 2019. For more info: https://americanart.si.edu/ exhibitions/burning-man

Ren Truth is Beauty Marco Cochrabe

“Truth is Beauty”  by Marco Conchrane

Pushing the outer limits of their own space, the Renwick Gallery brings the boundless creativity of Burning Man from Black Rock, Nevada, to the conservative confines of Washington, DC.

Since the first sybaritic spectacle in 1986, the dry lakebed outside Reno has been home to phantasmagoric sculptures, whimsical mechanical devices, and radical art. Minus the sex, drugs, and rock and roll, the Renwick indulges our curiosity in this countercultural contemporary art scene both in the museum and out into the neighborhood. Pick up a map at the museum to find six street art installations nearby, including the giant Grizzly Bear (photo below) made of pennies. Read more ›

Mosaic Workshop “You Break It, You Make It”

VT BridgeAptly titled “You Break It, You Make It,” Bette Ann Libby’s Mosaic Workshops in the Green Mountains (also Boston) are creative and fun. Not to mention therapeutic. Grab that hammer and smash your old ceramics to bits. (Go ahead, imagine whatever–or whomever– you want.) If you don’t have any old dishes, don’t worry. Bette Ann has enough shards for any project you have in mind, along with all the safety apparatus, cement, and grouting you need. It’s a messy business, but the process is all-engrossing, and, I promise, you won’t think of anything that has stressed you out. For a day and a half, your focus is design intensive. No need to bring any snacks either. Bette Ann not only teaches you the basics and inspires you, she also feeds you well. (Full disclosure: Bette Ann has been my friend since college days.)

This was my fourth mosaic workshop and I’d participate again. The first couple of times, I had specific designs in mind. The third time I was clueless and just made an abstract. This time, having been too busy to give it much advance thought, I settled on my house number—a Bette Ann suggestion.

Considering that you are shattering shards, the workshop location could not be more peaceful. Whether you are juggling pieces of glass, mirror, or ceramics, this hands-on mosaic workshop is an adventure in recycled art.

VT BA house

Mosaic Workshop Setting

Mosaic WS KB & BA

Finished Mosaic

VT

Waitsfield, VT

VT Bridge long view

Historic Bridge in Waitsfield, VT

VT BA KB Bridge

Bette Ann and KB

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