By Ibarra C. Mateo
Alessandro Milani, general manager of the Philippine-Italian Association (PIA), described the prominent Italian intellectual giant and artist Leonardo da Vinci as “one of the most interesting and most mysterious figures in history.”
To commemorate the 500th death anniversary of Da Vinci, who died May 2, 1519 in France, the PIA and its sponsors are launching a raft of activities from Nov. 13 to 21, 2019 in various venues in Metro Manila.
Under the banner “Leonardo in Manila,” the focus of the series of events is the work of the renowned Italian artist Massimiliano Finazzer Flory. Since 2011, Flory has been investigating the life of Da Vinci and “the relevance of his genius to contemporary generations.”
“The versatile and interdisciplinary works of Leonardo brought him to render his investigations in different artistic forms: from theatre to cinema,” Milani told a small group of journalists and writers over Italian lunch.
The Philippine-Italian Association, the Embassy of Italy, and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines are behind the Leonardo in Manila project, which includes a play, a full-length film and a short movie.
The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) are collaborating with the PIA in mounting Leonardo in Manila.
The project also aims to spread knowledge about Da Vinci and “the relevance of his achievements in our contemporary world,” Milanni said.
The Oman Air, Rustan’s, and Hotel Jen Manila by Shangri-La, and EastWest Bank are also pitching in to stage the project.
Highlights of Leonardo in Manila include a play entitled “Being Leonardo da Vinci, an impossible interview” by Flory will be staged on Nov. 21, 2019, 7 pm at the CCP Little Theater.
In this play, Flory collaborates with Filipino actor, director, and screenplay writer Carlito Casaje to bring Da Vinci “to life on the stage.”
Being Leonardo da Vinci is a one-act play, which uses theater to present the Italian genius’ true life, art history, and science. Through the format of an impossible interview, Flory “physically” becomes Leonardo.
Dressed in period costumes and wearing make-up which reconstructs Da Vinci’s face, he performs in Renaissance language original texts written by Da Vinci himself, such as the famous “Trattato di pittura” (Painting Treaties).
Flory’s Da Vinci answers questions about his childhood, his civil and military activities, and how to become a ‘good painter” (bono pittore), and talks about the relationship between painting and science, painting and sculpture, painting and music.
He comments on “The Last Supper” and the figures of the apostles, replies to his enemies’ attacks, prophesies man’s flying, and finally offers maxims and aphorisms to live by in our times.
The play has toured in the US, Russia, Japan, France, Italy, and Switzerland.
A masterclass and short film screening of “Being Leonardo da Vinci, an impossible interview” will be held on Nov. 20, 2019 at the CCP Dream Theater at 2 pm.
“The masterclass will deal with the topic of interdisciplinarity through the conjugation of art and science, memory and imagination, tradition and technology, theater and cinema,” a press announcement said.
For more information, contact the Philippine-Italian Association through e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone (+632) 8-815-1310. Interested parties for the masterclass may contact the CCP Arts Education Department via email (email@example.com) or landline (+632) 8-832-1125 local 1604.
IMAGES COURTESY OF PIA