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Social Events

ICEBREAKER – Saturday 17 June 2017, 17:00 – 18:10

Location: Hotel Villa Diodoro (Terrace garden, floor -2)




Prosecco, Sicilian red and white wines, Pineapple juice, blood orange juice, Mineral water



Tartine fantasia

Arancinette di riso e mozzarelline in carrozza

Fonduta di formaggio e sfogliatine dell’orto

Tocchetti di scacciata alla catanese

Spiedini di frutta

Dry snack


ENTERTAINMENT - THE PUPPET THEATRE – Saturday 17 June 2017, 19.30 – 21.00

 (Text adapted from the website: http://unescosicilia.it/wp/project/lopera-dei-pupi/?lang=en)


The puppet theatre, known as the Opera dei Pupi, emerged in Sicily at the beginning of the nineteenth century and enjoyed great success among the island’s working classes. The puppeteers told stories based on medieval chivalric literature and other sources, such as Italian poems of the Renaissance, the lives of saints and tales of notorious bandits. The dialogues in these performances were largely improvised by the puppeteers. The two main Sicilian puppet schools in Palermo and Catania were distinguished principally by the size and shape of the puppets, the operating techniques and the variety of colourful stage backdrops.
These theatres were often family-run businesses; the carving, painting and construction of the puppets, renowned for their intense expressions, were carried out by craftspeople employing traditional methods. The puppeteers constantly endeavoured to outdo each other with their shows, and they exerted great influence over their audience. In the past, these performances took place over several evenings and provided opportunities for social gatherings.
The economic and social upheavals caused by the extraordinary economic boom of the 1950s had a considerable effect on the tradition, threatening its very foundations. At that time, similar forms of theatre in other parts of Italy disappeared, some of them to re-emerge some twenty years later. The Opera dei Pupi is the only example of an uninterrupted tradition of this kind of theatre. Owing to current economic difficulties puppeteers can no longer make a living from their art, prompting them to turn to more lucrative professions. Tourism has contributed to reducing the quality of performances, which were previously aimed at a local audience only.

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME – Saturday 17 June 2017

The Conference delegate will meet the group at the hotel Villa Diodoro to walk to the bus area.

Departure from Taormina, driving to Acireale (about 1 hour by bus).

Arrival at the Acireale Puppet Theatre – (http://www.operadeipupi.com/index1.php#)

19:45 – 20:45 
The show – The death of Roland – From: La Chanson de Roland, (English: The Song of Roland)
See the attachment BELOW for more information
The story
Old French epic poem that is probably the earliest (c. 1100) chanson de geste and is considered the masterpiece of the genre. The poem’s probable author was a Norman poet, Turold, whose name is introduced in its last line.
The poem takes the historical Battle of Roncesvalles (Roncevaux) in 778 as its subject. Though this encounter was actually an insignificant skirmish between Charlemagne’s army and Basque forces, the poem transforms Roncesvalles into a battle against Saracens and magnifies it to the heroic stature of the Greek defence of Thermopylae against the Persians in the 5th century b.C..
The poem opens as Charlemagne, having conquered all of Spain except Saragossa, receives overtures from the Saracen king and sends the knight Ganelon, Roland’s stepfather, to negotiate peace terms. Angry because Roland proposed him for the dangerous task, Ganelon plots with the Saracens to achieve his stepson’s destruction and, on his return, ensures that Roland will command the rear guard of the army when it withdraws from Spain. As the army crosses the Pyrenees, the rear guard is surrounded at the pass of Roncesvalles by an overwhelming Saracen force. Trapped against crushing odds, the headstrong hero Roland is the paragon of the unyielding warrior victorious in defeat.
The composition of the poem is firm and coherent, the style direct, sober, and, on occasion, stark. Placed in the foreground is the personality clash between the recklessly courageous Roland and his more prudent friend Oliver (Olivier), which is also a conflict between divergent conceptions of feudal loyalty. Roland, whose judgment is clouded by his personal preoccupation with renown, rejects Oliver’s advice to blow his horn and summon help from Charlemagne. On Roland’s refusal, the hopeless battle is joined, and the flower of Frankish knighthood is reduced to a handful of men. The horn is finally sounded, too late to save Oliver, Turpin, or Roland, who has been struck in error by the blinded Oliver, but in time for Charlemagne to avenge his heroic vassals. Returning to France, the emperor breaks the news to Aude, Roland’s betrothed and the sister of Oliver, who falls dead at his feet. The poem ends with the trial and execution of Ganelon.
Return to Taormina