AMATO OPERA house – BEL CANTO on the Bowery, New York

 

Only 103 seats and all with a perfect view and acoustics, hand painted scenery and originally design costumes, singers and actors that perform for the great passion of music and bel canto, not for money.

Amato Opera house has entertained opera lovers for 61 years of uninterrupted production. Founded in 1948 by husband and wife team Anthony and Sally Amato, grew to become not only a must-go theatre where to appreciate opera in NYC’s cultural scene, but also a reference point for theatre students and singers, thanks to the enthusiasm, creativity and energy of Mr. and Mrs. Amato.

The Marriage of Figaro by Rossini, was chosen in May, 2009, as it started 61 years before at the auditorium of Our Lady of Pompeii church on Bleecker and Carmine Sts., to end an uninterrupted production. Last permanent home was at 319 Bowery, in the East Village.

colorful DIA de los MUERTOS – cemetery in Mexico

 

It was a day of heat and humidity, the clouds were high in a blue sky which they were slowly overcasting: a thunderstorm was approaching. Then, on the way to Merida, in the Mexican State of Yucatan, I met Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchior.

I was looking for a shady spot to rest, and two benches in front of a cemetery fenced with light mauve painted walls seemed a nice idea. But there were people on the other side of the wall: there they were. Leaning on a light mint green wall that felt cool to the touch, chatting, considering what to do and about the unusual surroundings, they invited me to join the conversation.

A cemetery, undoubtedly, but neither a tear nor a veil of sadness emanates from the hand painted angels or from the poor christs in cages. How could it be, perhaps it’s due to the turquoise that mingles with the horizon or the innate happiness of the people from the Caribbean Sea?

The Three told me about a special day, el dia de los muertos, when all the family, and I also mean the ones who come back from nobody knows where and on this day only, meet to have a riotous time amidst crosses, pinnacles and domes.

The ones that remained bring hand embroidered table cloths, candles to light up at night time, the preferred meals of those who left and kids who play soccer and run around the little temples that remind me of Legos. The ones who left wait until sunset to come back, if they’ve mistaken the address and end up at home they won’t find anyone waiting for them but the dog and a cold soup, but if they make it here … here is the party. The ones that remained drink and stuff themselves with food, laugh at the stories and the tales and pray for grace, sing and dance until morning.

Now you know why this not an ordinary cemetery, but a cementerio mexicano, a place where memory brightens up.

HAPPY hours – street DRUNKARDS in New York

I used to live in Hell’s Kitchen, NY, before the New Times Square induced cleansing. Drunkards below my windows and drugs dealing at nighttime.

FIGHT club – PEACEFUL Sunday afternoon

They look like you and me: harmless. But you don’t want to get into a fight with them for just no reason. They know boxing, wrestling, kicking, judo, karate and you name it. They’re nice, ordinary guys, they do business and smile, chat and shake hands and like to be photographed, outside the ring. But once they’re in the ring, the hidden beast surfaces, feeding on your blood and the crowd’s roars at the smashing sound of fists hitting your face and breaking your nose. You eventually give up and the fight is over. Winner or loser, it doesn’t make any difference since there’s no money to win, but a sort of inner relief. Yes, because finally you felt alive, away from the supermarket aisle wanderer, from the cubicle dweller, from the diaper changer. And tomorrow is Monday, a week away from another peaceful Sunday afternoon.

Fight Club – the movie, with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

processing ORANGES – in Entre Rios

Entre Rios, which literally means Between Rivers, the Paraná and Uruguay rivers in this specific case, is a mainly agricultural province of Argentina. Land is flat and rich, Summers are hot and Winters never too cold, the ideal climate for growing citrus orchards like juicy and sweet oranges.

STEALING a SMILE

 

He was having a coffee at a window table, I walked down the street and saw him. What a flash, I thought I could have loved him till the end of time. But he wasn’t sitting alone, who cares, I needed to take a photo of him. I entered the place, loud, crowded, too lit, not my favorite, but the prince was there. Keeping my arm at belly level and covering the camera with my fist I approached at slow pace, like looking for somebody. He was talking to the person in front of him, not caring of others. But when I was about to shoot he gently lift his head, turned and saw me.

He smiled, I trembled and missed the shot. He nodded, and got back to his conversation.

MANY STROKES palm tree

 

Let’s say you’re traveling in a bus at sunset time along a dirt road, heading back to your hotel in Luxor. And you’re getting bored. So, you handle your camera to a friend and tell him: Shot a pic. click. Done, better than a watercolor, or a pastel like someone sees it. (photo by Valerio Griffa).

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