Two-time Academy Award-winner (1999) for Best Actor and Best Foreign Film and nominee for Best Director and Best Writer, for Life is Beautiful ROBERTO BENIGNI is making his US stage debut at the Davies Symphony Hall on May 26 in San Francisco with his one-man show â€œTuttoDante.â€ Robertoâ€™s unique creation is a fascinating journey that extends from current and daily events to the Divine Comedy. From moments of pure humor to moments of breathtaking poetry–in particular Canto VÂ° from The Inferno, Danteâ€™s medieval, cosmos-bestriding epic of sin, salvation and eternity.
Benigni has been perfecting his one-man show in his native Italy for the past 3 years, where more than one million passionate fans cheered in delight. Now, after spectacular appearances to sold out theatres in Paris and London, Benigni performs his show in English, peppered with Italian and for the finale, he will recite the Fifth Canto in its original medieval Italian.
The Canto VÂ° describes the tragic love story between Paolo and Francesca, condemned for the sin of lust to pass eternity on the first of the descending rings of hell.
â€œTuttoDanteâ€ has received rave reviews all across Italy, as well as in England for his recent London performance.
â€œBenigni has long been a national hero in Italy,â€ notes the UKâ€™s Telegraph. â€œClimbing over the seats to collect his two Oscar for the 1997 tragicomedy La Vita Ã¨ Bella (Life is Beautiful) was only the most conspicuous of his acts of iconoclasm. Since the 1970s he has been adored as a satirist of Italyâ€™s politicians. But, over the past three years, he has added to his hero status through his touring show dedicated to Italyâ€™s medieval literary giant, Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedyâ€¦By the time he reached the final sectionâ€”a recitation of the poem itselfâ€¦He recited the words so animatedly, but with such reverence for the 11 syllable lines, that it was like listening to great music. Millions of Italians have so far risen to their feet to cheer at the end of this show; this evening was no exception.â€
â€œBy the time it came to the Divine Comedyâ€™s Fifth Cantoâ€¦There was pin-drop silence as Benigni switched from passionateâ€¦to controlled, near operatic delivery. Even for fans with minimal grasp of Italian the beauty of the poetry was apparent.â€ Evening Standard
Of the Italian show, critics declared:
â€œBenigni has been able to enchantâ€¦the audience, leaving it in ecstasy, speechless, perhaps, surprised by such emotion.â€ La Repubblica
â€œClimbing through the ages, he miraculously combines yesterday with today, current events with poetry, anger with laughter.â€ Corriere della Sera
â€œA small miracle, considering the amount of people Benigni has brought to the Divine Comedy.â€ Variety (US edition)
And, judging from the sold-out box offices for every stage on the tour, from the long applause and standing ovations that conclude each evening, â€œa small miracleâ€ may have actually occurred, as Roberto Benigni says, â€œThe poetry is not only in who writes, but especially in the ear of whom listens.â€
â€œTuttoDanteâ€ starring Roberto Benigni is a majestic life-affirming evening performed in English, peppered with Italian, while the finale of the Fifth Canto will be in Italian.
DATE CITY/STATE VENUE
Tues. May 26 San Francisco, CA Davies Symphony Hall
Sat. May 30 New York, NY Manhattan Center–
Tues./Wed. June 2 & 3 Montreal, Quebec, Canada St. Denise Theatre
Sat. June 6 Boston, MA Berklee Performance Center
Sun. June 7 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Casino Rama
Wed. June 10 Quebec City, Canada Gran Theatre de Quebec
Fri. June 12 Chicago, IL Harris Theatre