Arts News

Life is still Beautiful for Roberto Benigni, US stage debut announced: TuttoDante

By April MacIntyre Apr 22, 2009, 21:03 GMT

Life is still Beautiful for Roberto Benigni, US stage debut announced: TuttoDante

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 American stage debut at the Davies Symphony Hall on May 26 in San Francisco with his one-man show “TuttoDante.” Photo credit: Lucia Baldini

Roberto Benigni will be back in the United States soon.

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 American stage debut at the Davies Symphony Hall on May 26 in San Francisco with his one-man show “TuttoDante.”

Roberto’s show is described as a fascinating journey that extends from current and daily events to the Divine Comedy. 

His performance contains pure humor combined with breathtaking poetry, in particular Canto V° from The Inferno, Dante’s medieval, cosmos-bestriding epic of sin, salvation and eternity.

Benigni created TuttoDante in his native Italy, honing it for the past three years, where more than one million have attended his one man show.

With sold out appearances 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 V° 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.

“TuttoDante” has received rave reviews all across Italy, as well as in England for his recent London performance.

“Benigni has long been a national hero in Italy,” notes the UK’s Telegraph. “Climbing over the seats to collect his two Oscar for the 1997 tragicomedy La Vita è 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 Italy’s politicians. But, over the past three years, he has added to his hero status through his touring show dedicated to Italy’s medieval literary giant, Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy…By the time he reached the final section—a recitation of the poem itself…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.”

“By the time it came to the Divine Comedy’s Fifth Canto…There was pin-drop silence as Benigni switched from passionate…to controlled, near operatic delivery. Even for fans with minimal grasp of Italian the beauty of the poetry was apparent.” Evening Standard

Of the Italian show, critics declared:

“Benigni has been able to enchant…the audience, leaving it in ecstasy, speechless, perhaps, surprised by such emotion.” La Repubblica

“A small miracle, considering the amount of people Benigni has brought to the Divine Comedy.” Variety (US edition)

Roberto Benigni notes, “The poetry is not only in who writes, but especially in the ear of whom listens.”

His North American tour is as follows:

Tues. May 26               San Francisco, CA                 Davies Symphony Hall

Sat. May 30                 New York, NY                         Manhattan Center-- Hammerstein Ballroom

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

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