Bringing the Talent to you

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Lucca and Pisa are hosting an exciting new venture initiated by the Tuscan English Academy and prompted by this year’s 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard, William Shakespeare.
The literacy legacy of the man from Stratford will be marked by celebratory performances of his work by The National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and many other theatre production companies, not only in the UK but globally. There will also be hundreds of lectures, recitals, international academic conferences, films, concerts..... read more>>>

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The exhibition now showing at Pisa’s elegant Palazzo Blu is dedicated to the works of the late 19th century French artist, Henri de Toulouse - Lautrec. As an introduction, visitors are taken into the world of this extraordinary and innovative artist by skillful use of black and white film clips accompanied by background music of the period, including the Can-can. These depict a bustling Parisian street life and colourful night- life, found in the
bars, brothels and cabarets of Montmartre in the late 19th century, all of which conspired to inspire and capture the imagination of this great artist.... read more>>>

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Montecarlo is normally a sleepy, idyllic hill - top town, over looking the Lucca plain and surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. However, we are now into the tourist season and despite the umbrella type weather at the weekend, the rain-drenched streets surrounding the picturesque centre were lined with parked cars and the whole place had come to life. The main attraction was no doubt the wine and olive oil tasting event, always very popular with the public. However, there was also the added bonus of an opportunity to see an exhilarating production of Rossini’s opera, The Italian Girl in Algiers, performed in the teatro by the young and dynamic opera company, LuccaOpera..... read more>>>

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The beautiful Renaissance church of Santa Maria dei Servi was the venue for the final concert in Lucca Music Association’s chamber music season, where on Sunday, 15 March, pianist Pietro De Maria performed for the first time in his career, JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations... read more>>>

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As we approach the final moments of the Lucchese year 2014, a year that has seen such a wonderful array of musical performances, from opera to orchestral, from chamber music and recitals to jazz (not forgetting the popular summer and winter music festivals), we were recently reminded of the origins of one of the main contributors to these events,.... read more>>>

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The Palazzo Strozzi in Florence has organized another feast for devotees of modern art with a major new exhibition entitled, Picasso and Spanish Modernity. Curated by Eugenio Carmona and organised by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, this exhibition has already attracted thousands of visitors, eager to see the works of one the most dominant and influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973). Picasso once famously said, every child is born an artist, the problem is trying to remain an artist when he grows up.’ ... read more>>>

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A leisurely stroll along the Lucca walls on a warm, sunny Friday afternoon along with several joggers, cyclists and those simply enjoying the passeggiata; this is one of the many delights of this beautiful medieval city. However, last Friday’s walk was more purposeful than usual, that of arriving at the Casametta San Colombano in time for a delicious aperitivo of
Wine and Arias...

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Butterfly at Torre del Lago

The impressive grand open-air theatre at Torre del Lago, with seating for more than 3,000 people and with the natural back – drop of Lake Massaciuccoli, is once more the venue for the Puccini Festival. Now in it’s 60th year, one of the show pieces is a new production of Madama Butterfly, created by director and designer Renzo Giacchieri to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the work’s première in Milan in 1904… read more>>>

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Viareggio Carnivale 2014

The Viareggio Carnivale is the second largest event of this kind after Venice and attracts over one million visitors and spectators every year. There is a whole month of festivities, day and night starting on the 9
th February, with spectacular parades of allegorical papiér-mâché floats, local parties, masked balls and festivals of all kinds with the floats dedicated to John Lennon and Freddie Mercury, under the theme of Revolution were particularly impressive... read more>>>

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Opera at the Giglio of Lucca

The Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra with harpsichord conductor Riccardo Mascia and director, Julian Kovatchev did an excellent job in accompanying this demanding work, with its patter, secco recitative, a cappella part writing, and concerted ensembles. There were some lovely moments for the solo clarinet and oboe and the fast moving, scurrying string parts were well handled… read more>>>

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A Christmas Family Treat at the Palazzo Strozzi
The Russian Avant-Garde

There are special labels on display inviting young visitors and their families, many of whom will be from different parts of the world, to explore beyond the horizon, with fun questions about travel, exploration and emigration, and ideas aimed at stimulating their imagination. There is also an explorer’s map case, which is full of activities for all ages, and a free drawing kit; both are available at the information desk on the first more>>>

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Wagner Bicentenary Celebration in Lucca

The 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner was celebrated in style on Tuesday evening at the beautiful Chiesa dei Servi, in a Gala concert organized as part of the festival, Puccini e la sua Lucca. The performance was an all - Italian affair, given by the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of its charismatic director, Andrea Colombini, with soloists, Francesca Patane (soprano) and Nicola Simone Mugnaini (tenor), but the music was most definitely… read more>>>

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The Brunello Wines of Montalcino

No Tuscan wine-tasting pilgrimage would be complete without a visit to the famous Brunello vineyards found in the Montalcino area. Unlike their younger sister vines in northern Tuscany around Lucca and Montecarlo, records showing the production of the red Brunello wines in Montalcino have been traced back to the 14
th century… read more>

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Torre Del Lago 2013
- A night at the opera -

The Puccini Festival, set against the magical backdrop of lake Massaciuccoli at Torre del Lago is once more under way.
This year marks the bicentenary of Verdi’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mascagni, and as a tribute, 2013’s programme includes special productions of two of the most loved of all Italian operas; Verdi’s Rigoletto and Mascagni’s Cavalleria more>>>

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Lucca OPERA festival, Montecarlo
- I Concerti degli Angeli Custodi -

The teatro dei Rassicurati in Montecarlo, Lucca is the chosen venue for a youthful production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni on 22 & 23 June, performed under the expert baton of conductor, Jonathan Brandini… read more>>>

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April 2013

As part of their European Spring Tour, 2013, the EUYO under the baton of their charismatic music director, Vladimir Ashkenazy, arrived in Lucca on 5 April to perform in the magnificent Romanesque basilica of San more>

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Carnival Time

An earthquake, after-shocks, torrential rain and snow; not a promising start to the year here in Tuscany. But now we’re into February and Carnevale time, an event celebrated throughout Italy, full of its own particular drama and excitement and looked forward to by whole communities, with many, both young and old taking part. The popular seaside resort of Viareggio in the Lucca province emerges from hibernation at this time of year, and lights up the cold winter air with a spectacular event, second only to that in Veniceread more>

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The Spirit of Christmas in Tuscany

Certainly in Tuscany the build up to Christmas is a special time. From medieval villages to large cities, coastal towns to hill-top villas, the often very cold air is charged with the warmth, magic and excitement of the Christmas festivities which begin in earnest on the public holiday of December 8… read more>

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The Tuscan Talent's Taste of Tuscan Arts review:

The Palazzo Blu, which is situated by the River Arno in the heart of Pisa, was first built in medieval times. Over the years it has been demolished, re-built, added to and embellished by its various illustrious owners, until finally, in 2001 it was purchased by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio of Pisa and completely restored, opening to the public in 2008. It has become a focal point for the arts in Pisa and amongst other things, hosts a permanent art collection, which highlights the art and culture of Pisa from Renaissance times to the present day…read more>

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Tuscan Talent is introducing Heiko Vermeulen, Wild Food and Wine specialist, writing for the Tuscan Talent Food section:

Italy and even more so Tuscany conjure up many images in people's minds: high culture from Renaissance art to dramatic opera, historic sites dating back to the Romans and beyond, la dolce vita in a country with a benevolent climate where the inhabitants enjoy some of the best cuisine and wines in the more>

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Tuscan Talent’s summer course, A Taste of Tuscan Arts ended on a high note, with a visit to the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago to see a performance of Puccini’s opera, Tosca. This was the opening night, but any pre performance nerves were not evident in what was a truly magnificent production... read more>

Tuscan Talent
Many of us who have holidayed in Italy often think longingly of the Tuscan dream, egged on by those Tuscan delights spelt out so appealingly in the books of Frances Mayes.
She knowingly said:
after Florence and Siena, just wander. Get lost, see where you end up, take unpaved roads.
Louise Badger and Lawrence Kershaw seem to have followed this advice. In their book, Todo in Tuscany, which takes a rather different stance on relocating to Tuscany, they reminisce fondly about past holidays spent in various parts of Italy, including the magical city of Siena read more>

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During these lazy, hot Italian summer days, holiday - makers can be seen relaxing on sun drenched beaches, or idily chatting or reading by the pool, taking time to sip long cool drinks and occasionally treating themselves to a delicious gelato.
The evenings however tend to be a little more energetic. After eating al fresco, (nothing starts before 9pm) there is a veritable feast of cultural and artistic events and activities to be found just about everywhere in Tuscany, and none more so than in the province of Lucca. For jazz lovers, there are the free Friday evening concerts in the beautiful Botanical Gardens, and the Jazz and Wine Festival…
read more>

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The porcini season in Tuscany lasts from May to around November, so spotting a basket full of freshly picked Porcini in a local restaurant I decided to sample the menu. But first I asked restaurateur and expert Ilario from the
Del Sonno restaurant why, given all the different varieties of mushrooms to be found growing wild, Porcini have become over the years so popular and so highly sort after.The answer is simple… read more>

Relaxing in the shade on a sunny terrazza looking out onto a stunning natural landscape, taking in the peace and tranquility of the moment whilst sipping a delicious Vermentino – sheer paradise. I can’t think of a better way of spending a lazy summer’s (Italian that is!) afternoon…
read more>

A Sunday Treat – Tuscan style!

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On Sunday, April 15 we were treated to the first of the Aperitivo concerts in Lucca, all of which begin at 11.30am and last for about an hour. These concerts are wonderful value, usually of a very high standard and followed by a free glass of wine provided by Buon Amico, the fatoria in nearby Montecarlo, where we will take our
A Taste of Tuscan Arts guests for wine and olive -­ oil tasting…
read more>

Relocation from England to the Lucca hills

Todo in Tuscany,
written by Louise Badger and Lawrence kershaw
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This story of relocation to Tuscany is one to which many of us in England can relate, especially during these days of unseasonable (apparently) cold, grey and miserably wet weather. Living the Tuscan dream of golden sunshine, blue skies, wonderful scenery, food and wine, what could be better!
read more>
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