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Comenius project. Echo of Voices of Europe. Theatre. Music. Dance. Comenius project. Theatre. L’aria del continente. O’ miedico de pazze . The comparison. Echo of Voices of Europe. Comenius project. O' Miedico de pazze. Three-act comedy by Edoardo Scarpetta. Plot.

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Comenius project

Echo of Voices of Europe





Comenius project


L’aria del continente

O’ miedico de pazze

The comparison

Echo of Voices of Europe


Comenius project

O' Miedico de pazze

Three-act comedy by Edoardo Scarpetta



E. Scarpetta

Echo of Voices of Europe



Comenius project

Felice Sciosciammocca

Ciccino, his nephew

Michelino, Ciccino’s friend

Raffaele, actor

Don Carlo, Pensione Stella’s owner

Errico, musician

Luigi, writer

The Captain

Peppino, waiter of the Cafè

Concetta, Felice's wife

Amalia, Don Carlo’s sister

Rosina, Amalia’s daughter

Margherita, Felice and Concetta’s daughter



Customers of the Cafè

O’ Miedico de pazze

Echo of Voices of Europe


The plot

Comenius project

O’ Miedico de pazze

The story, written in Naples in the first years in 900, tells about a 30-year-old young man called Ciccino, who loves the gambling and the beautiful women. The money to live are given him by his uncle, Felice Sciosciammocca, man that in his country is well known from everybody for the nomination of gentleman. Felice, believing that his nephew is a good doctor, gives him monthly a lot of money to allow him continuing his studies and his experiments. But unfortunately, Ciccino spends all the money with his friends in poker and settebello. Suddenly, Ciccino receives a letter from his uncle who announces him a visit to check at which point are its studies. Ciccino, despaired for the letter, helped by the trusted friend Michelino, prepares an astute trap to his uncle. In fact it decides to make appear to his uncle the pension in which it lives a great clinic and the customers of the pension the crazy persons that he cares. The uncle, who goes visit also the pension-clinic, beleives that normal people like Raffaele, tragic actor,or Enrico,famous musician, are violent crazy persons to which the poor Felice always answers affirmatively to not instigate their follies. And it’s for this reason that Felice accepts to go around the Europe with Enrico looking for glory, that he fights with the guns against and old captain of the army and that he accepts a promise of marriage with the widow Amalia, looking for a husband for her daughter Rosina, obviously instigating the jealousies of his wife Concetta, who asks the divorce after having seen the amazing scene among Felice and Amalia. But at the end, after a lot of misunderstandings among all the characters of the comedy, thanks to Luigi, journalist as well as writer of novellas, who unmasks the trap, Felice discovers the deception of the nephew resolving every misunderstanding.

Echo of Voices of Europe


Edoardo Scarpetta

Comenius project

Born in Naples in 1853 and dead in the same city in 1925, Edoardo Scarpetta was one of the greatest representatives of the Napolitan dialect tradition. Original text written by Scarpetta was the famous one “Miseria e nobiltà” (1888), while the rest of Scarpetta’s plentiful production was constituted by adaptations of French scripts, but also Italian not dialect (‘Na Santarella, 1889; ‘O miedico de pazzi, 1908). Actors and playwrights were also his children S.Maria (Naples 1890 - Rome 1949) and Vincent (Naples 1876-1952). This last began since 12 years old in “Miseria e Nobiltà” written by the father, in a part thought just for him.

O’ Miedico de pazze

Echo of Voices of Europe


Comenius project

L'aria del continente

Three-act comedy by Nino Martoglio


A.Musco (Main Actor)



Angelo Musco was born in Catania in 1871. Fourteenth child of a storekeeper, he was forced to work in young age. Since he was 12 years old he performed in his first experience of actor in a Neapolitan company.

In 1899 he entered the company of Giovanni Grasso and at the end of the show he parodied the tragedy interpreted by Grasso and with two pirouettes and few jokes he dried the tears succeeding in conquering the public more than with the voice, with grimaces and game of legs. Between 1915 and 1917 his fortune started and became a popular actor, very appreciated by the criticism to the point that the greatest Sicilian writers like Pirandello, Capuana and Martoglio, wrote for him.

His theory of the theatrical interpretation was: "The comedy is the cloth and the actor is the tailor, who cuts, trasforms and recomposes it.. “Among his great successes we can find “S.Giovannni decollato”, “L’aria del Continente” written by Martoglio, “La Patente”, “Pensaci Giacomino”, “Il berretto a sonagli”, “Liolà” by Pirandello and “Cavaliere Pedagna” by Capuana. More over, he stars in eleven cinema-films. He suddenly died in Milan on the 6th October 1937.


Figlio di un giornalista ex garibaldino nel 1899 a soli 19 anni fondò un settimanale umoristico e satirico scritto totalmente in dialetto siciliano, il “D’Artagnan”, dove pubblicò tutte le sue poesie, riunite in seguito gran parte nella raccolta “Centona”, che vennero apprezzate per il verismo descrittivo delle bellezze siciliane.Di lì a poco si dedicò con maggiore attenzione al teatro: nel 1901 creò la compagnia drammatica siciliana con l’intento di rendere famoso a livello nazionale il teatro dialettico siciliano. Dalla stagione 1907-1908 diventa direttore della formazione capitanata da Angelo Musco, con il quale instaura una proficua collaborazione artistica, sia lanciando autori nuovi (il ventunenne Rosso di San Secondo, con la sua Madre del 1908) sia con molte commedie da lui scritte, tra le quali le più famose sono S.Giovanni decollato (1908) e L’aria del continente (1910). Nel 1910 fondò a Roma il “Teatro Minimo” presso il Teatro Metastasio, curando la regia di numerosi atti unici e soprattutto portando sulla scena le prime opere teatrali di Luigi Pirandello già famoso come novelliere e scrittore. Insieme a Luigi Pirandello scrisse “A Vilanza” (La bilancia), e”Cappiddazzu paga tuttu”. Nel dicembre 1918 fondò l’ultima sua compagine teatrale, la compagnia del teatro mediterraneo, attiva fino al 1920.

Dal 1913 e per due anni si dedicò anche al cinema, producendo e dirigendo 4 pellicole, oggi purtroppo andate tutte perdute, il Romanzo con Carmine Gallone e Soava Gallone, l’avventuroso Capitan Blanco tratto dal suo dramma Il Palio,Teresa Raquin tratto dall’omonimo romanzo di Émile Zola, ma soprattutto quella al quale restò legata la sua notorietà, il celebre “Sperduti nel buio”, dal dramma di Roberto Bracco, la prima opera realista del neorealismo.Tutta la sua opera è caratterizzata, oltre che dal verismo e dalla bellezza dei paesaggi, anche da una forte contrapposizione tra ricchezza e povertà. La sua fama si mantenne pressoché intatta fino alla fine degli anni ’30, con molte sue commedie trasposte anche sul grande schermo.Scomparve tragicamente a soli 51 anni a Catania.


The story takes place in a Sicilian village in the first years of 1900. The wealthy bachelor Don Cola Duscio comes back from Rome where he has had an operation. He comes back from the capital with a large dose of "continental veneer" and also with a dancer, the coquettish Milla Milord, sporting-and-claiming an even larger dose of "Continental Veneer". She shows off her snobbish manners and her new culture together with her disdain for the old-fashioned ways (especially jealousy) of people in the village. The scandal in the village acquires enormous proprotions. Friends and acquaintances start visiting the Duscio home regularly in the hope of chatting up the beautiful "foreigner". The bad-tempered and suspicious Marastella, Cola's sister, asks the police to investigate on the dancer's past. In the meantime, it turns out that Milla is causing heaps and heaps of trouble, including trying to start an affair with Marastella's husband. Cola suddenly realises what a fool he was and gets furious with rage, while his sister deals a severe blow to the girl by calling police officers to reveal her true identity of Sicilian native. At this point the unlucky girl has no other choice left but to run away.


The comparison: Characters and structure in the two comedies



The structure

The structure in both comedies is similar to that of the comedies of Plauto:

  • Situation at the beginning (calm)
  • An external element breaks the initial state of calm (The sciantosa lady)
  • The natural order is restored (thanks to the help of Cola’s sister)
  • Situation at the beginning (calm)
  • An external element breaks the initial state of calm (The uncle’s visit)
  • The natural order is restored (thanks to the help of Luigi the writer)

The characters

  • The “stolto” (fool) : Cola
  • The family (in which the main character is the protagonist’s sister, Marastella)
  • The “Sciantosa” (the coquettish lady who breaks the initial calm
  • The two lovers (the protagonist’s niece and the engineer)
  • The “stolto” (fool) : The uncle
  • The family (The uncle’s wife)
  • The accomplice (Ciccino’s friend who prepares the trap)




The historical description

The origins

The dance




The origins

Italian folk dance has an ancient history, dating back to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Preserved under volcanic ash in the ruins of Pompeii were friezes of dancers that inspired movements used to create Italian folk dances. During the Renaissance, which started in Italy in the 14th century, dance became more elegant in movement as well as dress; was used to celebrate, worship and heal; demonstrated power and royalty (or culture and heritage, for peasants) and was especially helpful in capturing the eye of the opposite sex. Today Italian folk dances are performed at festivals, weddings and celebrations to reflect and remind us of our past.


The dance

The traditional dance known as the Tarantella (small tarantula) is thought to have been an early remedy for a tarantula bite (you dance until you sweat the poison out of your system). Performed not as a solo, but as a community activity, it usually starts with dancers holding hands in a circle and sliding their feet sideways to rotate the circle. Variations of this dance can be found in at least seven different regions of southern Italy, where it is most common. Danced to tambourines played by the dancers, the Tarantella is a lively, improvised aerobic dance for men and women alike. The tempo is either 3/8 or 6/8 and can quicken depending on the mood of the musicians.

Tarantella TechniqueMen and women perform the same step for the Tarantella, which requires that you constantly switch feet. With both arms outstretched above you, hop twice on one foot with your other leg reaching forward. As you hop, tap the ground with your pointed, extended foot.A complete circle is frequently formed around an individual or couple dancing this step. For variety, you can also do-si-do (circle your partner, returning to your starting point). Joined by hand (in the air or by your side) or with arms around waists, dancers in the circle do not hop, but instead grapevine in an alternating clockwise/counter-clockwise pattern.

Do you want to dance the Tarantella with us? Follow these simple steps...


Sicilian TarantellaSets of two couples. Men next to each other facing their partners. Meter 6/8, counted as 1, 2




Short pants to the knee, in black or brown velvet; white

shirt without neck; long white stockings; black shoes;

short vest in black or brown velvet; red handkerchief

to the neck; band of red wool to the life.


1) Costumes of the party

Skirts in red brocade, green, white, yellow to the height

of the calf, white stockings, long underpantses, underskirt

with end, white blouse with elegant   bodice in black

smooth velvet, small apron, shawl of wool black embroidered

and tambourine 

2) Costumes for job

A very simpler and practical costumes .


Johann W. von Goethe (1749-1832) - a German novelist, playwright, courtier, and natural philosopher - describes the dance as "Three girls, one with a tambourine (with bells on it) and castanets are used by the other two. The two girls with the castanets execute the steps. The girls steps are not distinctive or even graceful, basically they step in time and spin around in place using the castanets, when one tires, she trades places with the tambourine Girl" (They do this for fun for hours, 20-40 hours at times.)"

Curt Sachs, in his book "World History of the Dance", describes the couples' version of this dance.2 "The dancer, kneels in adoration of his female partner. As she dances for him, he, as though sated, speedily forsakes her again; how with a thousand turns and tricks he now holds aloof and now rushes upon her. His gambols and capers are grotesque (sloppy) and yet charming, light and tender. His bearing is yet proud and resolute, now querulous and elaborate. Leg's and arms, even the fingers, strumming the tambourine (hers), and above all the "glance", ardent, languishing, suddenly bold and shameless, reinforce the expression of the posture. The girl comes out of her corner, now wayward, now willing. Her smile is eloquent, her eyes are drunken. She swings her skirt; she picks up the corner as if to gather things in it; or she raises the arm so that the hand hangs down loosely over her head as though from a hook, while the other hand presses against her heart. Now she is the axis in which the male rotates."



Characteristic metallic popular instruments, ofstrange form and of particular sound; also called scacciapensieri


Container in clay of varied colors,marks the time acting from low


Usually played by artisans the mandolin it is a solist instrument from the very melodious sound


The Tataratà is a dance with swords in quick steps,repeated and rhythmical movements performed by characters playing the role of representatives of ancient arab courts.

On the fourth Sunday in May, the Taratata includes costumes, cavalcades, and battles reinacting those between the Normans and Arabs in Casteltermini in the province of Agrigento.Representatives of the four most important social groups in town take part in this dance.

Take a look at the photo gallery

For more informations visit the website

music in the oral sicilian tradition

Music in the oral sicilian tradition

POPULAR MUSIC TODAY The most part of the popular cultures has changed very much in the last century: the press and the massmedia have allowed the access to the city culture; In such a way, many phenomena a time to the margins of popular music had a great importance. Shortly, the aim of popular music has quiltly changed over the last post-war period, and the lines that separate it from the other types of music are made less clean. In any case, like world-wide phenomenon, also changing itself, it does not disappear.




















Guitar(sound locators);


Mariolo(ngannalarruni, marranzano)

Tammurinu tammureddu;



Castagnette(scattagnetti , nacchere);


The popular sicilian instruments represent one essential member in the execution of popular music; The most used instruments are:


  • Friscalettu (flauto di canna);
  • Ciaramedda (zampogna);
  • Bummulu;
Music is simple, made up of one short strofa (commonly of four verses) repeated many times over with various words. The use of the antifona is diffused in all Europe. The rhythm is sometimes linked to the versification. Instrumental popular music stretches ritmically to being repetitive. Much popular music is made up of a monoacoustic not accompanied melody.
Executed by members of the community lacking in a specialistic musical formation, popular music often is tied to the cycles of the seasons, key event in the personal life and practical activity like the religious one, the job, the cure of the children. Popular music can be called music of the lower classes. When it passes from an executor to the other, a popular song stretches to modify itself as a result of creative participations or to imperfections of the memory. Popular music generally endures the influence of the near cultural centers (city, courts, monasteries) but it is also that one which the ethnic community acknowledges most. In general terms it blooms outside institutions like the school and the Church.
It is music that has been transmitted orally, diffused through the execution and not with the notation, learned to ear. The names of its authors are not know, or however forgotten.
The love, the faith, the stoicism, the religion, the plant, the happiness, the satira civil and political, the resentful, full principles of bile, are the wide range of the feelings that the people sing in its songs. The Love: The songs speak about the many feelings of the human mind; first of all it is the love: the sicialian lover sang its admiration for the beauty of the woman with valuable metaphors; the woman is a rare diamond, precious stone palace, navigating boat vessel; it from the trecce of gold, from the fine forehead, arches prevails them the eyelash, corals the lips; beautiful more than the sun and the moon… The Pain: “I canti della vicaria”tells the suffering of the condemned, with the flood of the affections that irrompe, with the feeling of the lost freedom; the desperation is to the taken ones with the pain, the life in fight with the dead women.
The Sicily is considered from always the crib of the popular italian song, rich of “stornelli”,”serenate”,”ninne nanne”, songs and games of boys,”satire”, “mottetti”and sacred and profane legends. Between the “ninne nanne” they find “canzonette” for Jesus true and own Child christmas that represents a ring between the “ninne nanne” and the popular religious songs. As far as the dances they are survivors that wedding one, “chiavu”, “lu diavulecchiu”, “puliciusa” and, between the others, “fasola”, once represented and sang (as “tarantella”). Typical instruments are “mariolu” or “marranzanu” or “ngannalaruni”, “azzarinu” “friscalettu”,”tammurinu”(the large drum),”ciaranedda” and “circhettu”.

The canzuna is called strambottu in Caltanissetta, sturnettu to the Etna, in S.Agata is said barcarole, duffle-coat; it is said to the furnarisca, the countrywoman, the vicariota, the carrittera because sung to the way of imprisoned, of the peasants, the weavers, the carrettieri that sang many.The meter of “the canzuna siciliana” with eight lines of endecasillables and alternated rhymes. The “ciuri”are songs of two or three lines,popular among the jails; Arie or Ariette, was sung with accompanyment of guitars;The “Storii” are legends;”Jocura” are childish games.”Le Orationi” are short sacred legends,sung in the evening in the streets or in front of the houses of devout people by blind singers,celebrating the saints venerated by people;”Le Diesille”are songs aimed at remembering the spirits of defuncts;


One of the ways in order to examine the function of the popular songs is defining the function, in the society. One of the types more famous than popular music is the danced one, the song that, in a succession of strofe, narrates one history centered on an only main event. Their textes tells about unfortunate loves, crimes, history of war and tragedies. An other type of novellistic song is the epic, that heroic figure tells the enterprises of one or the conflict between Christians and Muslims. An other example of epic songs narrated to you, is the sicilian “Pupi”. A big group is then the rituals “canti calendariali” that they accompany reguarding special events of personal life or to cycles of the year. Another kind of popular music includes the songs concerning tragic events, like a war or a disease. Among the other types of popular songs, beyond to those of love or generically of entertainment, and the march songs, diffused among the soldiers centuries ago, are the childish songs, they includes the “ninne nanne”, the songs to play games and the “conte”, beyond to the “filastrocche” which have didactic aim. Another type there is also of religious popular songs: namly hymns singing in the country churches and belongig which a part of oral tradition.

The song developed among peasant poets of countries and disowned villages, became the song of everybody; the people rewarded their merit, handing on this melody, with learning it, passing it from mouth is… gradually they changed. In a short time, the commerce, the communications, the pilgrimages, the wars, the great religious festivities, diffused the songs that were adopted, embellished, received, modified, accordin to the habits and the character of the people. Often it happened that some songs exceeded the borders of the island assuming other dialectal shapes. In the popular songs, the sicialian has documented their life every day, the daily life of the people; they are become an historical and philosophical, moral and religious document.
At the beginning it was the melos… therefore we could say of the sicialian popular song of oral tradition. People have created and recognized an own melody on which adapted the poetry inherited from the fathers, the language speech melted docilely with the rhytm of its music. The sicialian people, listened to the nomos Greek, the maqam Arabic, the bizantinian hymn, the courtly song of the Trovatori, the poliphony of sixteenth and seventeeth centuries, a mixture of styles from which it is difficult to trace the beginning of sicialian popular music.