Sunday, June 26, 2016

Concert at Sant'Eustachio

The Basilica di Sant'Eustachio is one of John and my favourite churches in Rome. We love its Romanesque belfry and its elegant 18th century Baroque exterior.
It is instantly identifiable by the stag of St Eustace mounted on the peak of the roof.
We often pass the church on our travels around the city -- it lies in the Historic Centre between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.  The church has a longtime mission of helping the poor of Rome.
and presents regular free musical concerts to raise funds by donation. We've attended several concerts but last night's Voci in Canto (Voices in Song) was the best.
The dapper musical director and organist, Paolo Tagliaferri, introduced three very talented sopranos
(l to r) Hera Zerva, Marianna Bazali and Victorina Eekeloo (mezzosoprano). Each of them sang two solos by the likes of Handel, Vivaldi, Bach and Mendelssohn.
Miss Ivanshchenko's performance of Vavilov's Ave, Maria was simply thrilling. How wonderful it must be to discover that your voice is up to such a challenge!
John and I particularly enjoyed the duets. The blending of voices was exquisite.
As a climax to the evening the three women sang Handel's Consolati, o bella from the gallery in front of the 18th century organ. The acoustics in Sant'Eustachio are superb.
What an Italian evening! Monsignor Pietro Sigurani, the delightful and ebullient Rector of the church thanked the performers. John and I will remember his humorous and yet touching speech in support of the poor of Rome.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Lunch at Da Enzo in Trastevere

The restaurant Da Enzo in Rome's Trastevere comes highly recommended, but it doesn't open until 12:30 p.m.
 Bill and I got there a bit early and were soon part of a patient throng.
At the stroke of the half hour we were quickly seated and orders were taken.
The food was wonderful.
I ordered the classic Roman deep fried zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and anchovies on our first visit. When it arrived it didn't look like much. 
 Then I cut into it. How do you say "yum" in Italian!
 Had to show you this bit -- a green bit of the flower. So fresh looking!
 Another Roman classic: pasta carbonara -- with eggs, and pancetta (a kind of bacon).
 Wanted you to see just how yellow the egg yokes were. The flavour was off the scale.
Bill ordered Pollo Romano (chicken baked with sweet peppers) on our first visit. Squisito (delicious).
 When we went back yesterday,  Bill tried another classic Roman dish: Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper). Note the extremely creamy sauce. He loved it.
My Lasagna Classica made with a couple of kinds of meat. I'm just showing you the crispy part at the edge.
 Here are a few of our contorni (vegetable side dishes). This is roasted eggplant and peppers.
 We don't eat chicory in North America. Steamed and served with oil and lemon it was the perfect foil for Bill's creamy pasta.
The house salad was a perfect tangy compliment to the lasagna. You can see a white piece of fennel buried in there -- it added crunch and a mild flavour.
We'll be looking for fennel when we get home.
Enough photography. I'm putting on my bib.
Time to tuck-in.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mark Lechy installation in Trastevere

John came upon an article in ARTnews this morning about an installation in Trastevere by British artist Mark Lechy. We were headed to Trastevere today anyway so added Lechy to our day's agenda. We didn't know Lechy at all so we were interested to learn that he won the 2008 Turner Prize.
 His installation, called UniAddDumThs, is set in Sant'Andrea De Scaphis, no longer a church. The young woman seen above the door here was very welcoming and gave us a copy of Lechy's artist's statement.
 According to the statement the work "is an evolving installation of knock-offs. It is an assembly of reproductions, a growing, pulsating display of simulcra rendered as 3D objects, 2D prints and videos." And so it was.
 Apparently, the objects on display are based on images he collected from the internet and also from an exhibition he curated at Southbank Centre in London in 2013 of archeological, art world and historical items.
 This got my attention because my own collecting of images on Pinterest can be quite obsessive and I often wonder just what I will do with them beyond the gathering thereof.
Looks like Mark Lechy has managed to do something with his image collection.  He will be doing a related installation at PS1 in NYC this fall and now I want to go see where this project goes!

Classical Sculpture at Palazzo Altemps

The Museo Nazionale Romano houses its collection of ancient Roman sculpture at the Palazzo Altemps.
Put this late 15th century palace and its collection on your short list of Roman museums if you like classical art.
We rediscovered the charms of the Altemps after attending the Olivier Roller opening there.
As an example of the riches of the Altemps, consider the mood of this 3rd century C.E. Head of a priest of Isis
The details of the palace architecture add to the fun.
John attempting to copy the severe expression of this 1st century C.E. Head of Hercules from the Ludovisi collection. When I showed John this picture he vowed to stop doing that thing with the corners of his mouth.
Here is a detail of another Hercules -- a Roman copy of a lost 5th century Greek original. That is the skin of the Nemian lion on his arm.
Mr Elmslie hard at work in front of a Colossal Group with Dionysius and a Satyr, another Roman copy. He's been discovering the camera in his phone on this trip.
Here's an example of what his phone can do. 
The Room of Painted Perspectives (Salle delle Prospettive Dipinti) contains charming late 15th century frescoes
of hunting scenes seen through false windows.
In another room I loved this marble sarcophagus with a Bacchanal procession.
This ancient fresco fragment seems to suggest that Italians have always needed to use their hands in conversation.
Another feature of the palace is the trompe-d'oeil decoration of one of the upper balconies.
This little grotto seems baroque or even rococo. 
Are the decorations exuberant enough for you?
We'll end with this lovely life-sized Artemis-Diana fragment
and a glimpse through a window into the Piazza Navona. Prime location indeed!