The marionette, or pupo, Orlando from the UNESCO recognized marionette theater, l’Opera dei pupi…a cultural treasure of Sicily
Recalling A Time of Chivalry In Sicily
The UNESCO recognized opera dei pupi was a popular form of entertainment in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Before film and television, it was a favorite form of diversion for men and boys (It’s actually pretty violent and bawdy!). Our hero Orlando and the knights and their enemies recall the age of chivalry, originating…
Give Orlando A Hand
After the opera dei pupi, be sure to stick around to see if you could join the marionette troupe. You’ll find that operating Orlando is not as easy at it looks!
They Draw Their Swords
As explained yesterday, the most obvious difference between the Palermo school and the Catania schools of the opera dei pupi is the size of the marionettes. In addition, importantly (and proudly, I might add), the marionettes from Palermo not only have the ability to bend their knees, and kneel, but they also have the ability…
Two Schools of Pupi
There are two schools of the opera dei pupi in Sicily: the Palermo school and the Catania school. The Palermitan school’s theaters are smaller in scope and the marionettes are operated from the side wings, while Catanian theaters are larger and the marionettes are operated from above. This points to the difference in craftsmanship between…
It Runs In The Family
Sicily’s opera dei pupi’s theater troupes–more often than not, multiple generations of families–adapts stories from the medieval French epic poems, such as Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, Gerusalemme liberata by Torquato Tasso, and Orlando innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo, to name a few. Orlando, our beloved hero, pictured, is identified by a cross on his…
Chivalry Is Alive at the Opera dei Pupi
The past couple of days, I’ve talked about the bad guys and the good guys of the opera dei pupi–so who exactly are these characters? Our heroes, the knights, and their enemies recall the age of chivalry, originating from medieval French epic poems, especially featuring King Charlemagne, pictured seated on the throne, and his court….
The Ladies of the Opera dei Pupi
In addition to the knights and the Saracens, of course, we have our fair princesses! The audience, which most often consisted of men and boys from the popular classes, was very much engaged in the action of the opera dei pupi. Spectators were known to get rowdy, interacting with the characters on stage by responding…
Look For These Clues
The plots of the stories exhibited in the opera dei pupi are based on medieval literature. Many of those adventure tales feature knights who participate in the crusades, such as Roland from The Song of Roland. The bad guys of these stories are usually non-Christians who are generally called Saracens. Know that, when you are…
Enter Stage Left
In the opera dei pupi, Sicily’s UNESCO recognized marionette theater, you can recognize the good guys because their shields possess suns and birds and they enter from stage left.