Weekend celebration of Italian culture

Published 20 February 2009

ingleseThe Director of the Italian Institute of Culture in Sydney, Dr Annamaria Lelli, will be a guest at the University of New England next month during a weekend of events highlighting the richness of Italian culture past and present.

On the evening of Friday 6 March, Dr Lelli will officially open a travelling exhibition that illustrates the work of archaeologists in uncovering artefacts from beneath the seas, lakes and rivers of Italy. The following evening (Saturday 7 March), Dr Lelli will attend a recital in UNE’s Lazenby Hall by the world-renowned Italian pianist Roberto Cominati.

The exhibition of fully-annotated photographs and diagrams, assembled by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, has already travelled to major centres around the world – including Budapest, New Delhi, Singapore and Sydney. It is currently on display in the Learning Commons on the ground floor of UNE’s Dixson Library, where its official opening on the 6th of March will take place at 5.15 pm.

Presented by the Institute of Culture, the exhibition has been brought to UNE and mounted in the Dixson Library by the Board of the Museum of Antiquities (within UNE’s School of Humanities) and the University’s Discipline of Italian (within the School of Arts). Dr Mario Inglese, Lecturer in Italian at UNE, said the exhibition was one expression of the strong relationship between the Italian Government and the University. Its visit to UNE is part of a program of events this year organised by the Museum of Antiquities to mark the Museum’s 50th anniversary.

Dr Inglese (pictured here), whose UNE lectureship is sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, works to promote interest in Italian culture – as well as the Italian language – throughout the New England region. He said the exhibition, which continues in the Dixson Library until the 20th of March, would inform visitors not only about Italy’s sunken archaeological treasures, but also about the latest technological advances in bringing them to light.

At the exhibition opening, finger food and Italian wine will be served to the accompaniment of Italian music (Vivaldi and Corelli) played by a string trio from UNE’s Discipline of Music, and the free event will conclude with a presentation on marine archaeology by Associate Professor Tom Hillard and Dr Lea Beness from the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University. Among their archaeological fieldwork, Dr Hillard and Dr Beness have carried out underwater exploration at Torone in the Chalkidiki, northern Greece. The following day, the Dixson Library will be open between 5 and 6.45 pm to enable concertgoers to visit the exhibition.

The recital by Roberto Cominati at 7 pm on the 7th of March is the first concert in the Musica Viva Armidale (MVA) 2009 Subscription Series. Robyn Power, a member of the MVA committee, said her initial concept of linking the concert with the work of UNE’s Italian Discipline in promoting Italian culture had received a boost through the arrival of Dr Inglese at UNE four months ago, and his collaboration with the Museum of Antiquities Board in bringing the underwater archaeology exhibition to Armidale. “The ‘Italian weekend’ developed through a coming together of lots of things,” she said.

Before the concert, the President of MVA, Nickie Murcell, will introduce Dr Inglese, who will welcome Dr Lelli and speak briefly about this “coming together” of cultural events mediated by the Italian Discipline at UNE.

Roberto Cominati, the winner of several major piano competitions, has delighted audiences around the world with performances that (in the words of one critic) are outstanding for their “sense of refinement and clarity”. His Armidale concert will include Barcarolle and Ballade No. 1 (Chopin), Sonata No. 1 (Schumann), Mirrors (Ravel), and three pieces from Études Tableaux Op. 39 (Rachmaninov).

In keeping with the weekend’s Italian theme, Italian wine will be served during the interval.

THE PHOTOGRAPH of Dr Mario Inglese displayed here shows him standing beside the underwater archaeology exhibition in UNE’s Dixson Library.