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Belloni, LaBarbera, and La Befana Talk and Sing on Zoom

The event will be live streamed on Zoom, Tuesday January 5.

Belloni, LaBarbera, and La Befana Talk and Sing on Zoom

Join I Giullari di Piazza for "Belloni, La Barbera and La Befana Talk and Sing," a special live online presentation featuring music from the Neapolitan Renaissance Christmas show "La Cantata dei Pastori" and fascinating conversation about the history of this beloved show, created in the 17th century by Sicilian writer Andrea Perrucci of Naples.

The event will be live streamed on Zoom, Tuesday January 5, the traditional night of the Epiphany, from 7 to 9 PM.

Writing in The New York Times, critic Alex Ross described "Cantata" as "a rarity among Christmas programs; it somehow manages to be both riotously entertaining and curiously haunting, even profound...a vibrant and uproarious performance." Some of "Cantata's" favorite Neapolitan Christmas songs will be performed by members of I Giullari di Piazza, featuring

* Alessandra Belloni in the role of Mary

* John La Barbera playing classical guitar, chitarra battente, mandolin

* Max McGuire, actor, appearing as La Befana, narrating the story in English

* Joe Deninzon, violin and vocals, and portraying the Devil

* Francesca Silvano, dancer, as a Shepherdess, the Moon and the Sun

plus other artists to be announced.

The evening will include live performances of some of the favorite Neapolitan Christmas songs from "Cantata," including:

* traditional tarantellas, Renaissance villanellas and pastorales performed in traditional Southern Italian instrumentation

* original music by John La Barbera

* narration in English by Max McGuire as La Befana, the Good Witch of Christmas

* the ensemble singing the oldest known Neapolitan Christmas song.

Preserved since the 17th century, and still performed in the streets of Naples during the Christmas season, "La Cantata" tells of the funny, outrageous, and dangerous adventures of Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. Along the way, a bit of comedy is provided by the hapless commedia dell'arte character Razzullo, who is always hungry and looking for something to eat. In the meanwhile, the Devil dispatches demons, tempests and dragons to try to prevent the birth of Jesus, but all are under the protection of the Archangel Gabriel, and Mary and Joseph finally reach Bethlehem where Good triumphs over Evil!

Presented as a fundraiser for I Giullari di Piazza, the performance will help with expenses for artists' fees, sound and lighting engineers, rehearsal and recording studio rental, publicity, and promotion on social media. Contributions are, as always, tax-deductible. I Giullari di Piazza (the Players of the Square) is the only Southern Italian Folk Music, Theatre & Dance Company in the United States. They are Artists in Residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and a non-profit organization that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

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