Showing posts with label Raffaella Carrà. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raffaella Carrà. Show all posts

7 May 2019

Raimondo Vianello - actor and TV host

Big-screen star who conquered television too

For many years, RaimondoVianello was  host of Sunday night sports show Pressing
For many years, Raimondo Vianello was
host of Sunday night sports show Pressing
Raimondo Vianello, who enjoyed a career that brought success on the big screen and small screen in equal measure, was born on this day in 1922 in Rome. 

Vianello first rose to fame in the 1950s through a satirical TV show in which he starred with the great commedia all’Italiana actor Ugo Tognazzi, which was eventually banned.

From television he moved into movies, appearing in no fewer than 79 films in the space of just 21 years, between 1947 and 1968, some with Tognazzi, but also alongside other stars such as Totò and Virna Lisi.

His notable successes included his portrayal alongside Raffaella Carrà of a hopeless secret agent in Mariano Laurenti’s 1966 film Il vostro superagente Flit - a parody of Our Man Flint, an American production that was in itself a parody of the James Bond movies - and Michele Lupo’s comedy Sette volte sette (Seven Times Seven) in 1968, in which he portrayed an inmate in a London prison.

Vianello’s ban from television in 1954 followed a sketch on he and Tognazzi’s popular show Un due tre, broadcast by the Italian state network Rai, in which they sent up an incident at La Scala opera house in Milan the night before, when the Italian president Giovanni Gronchi suffered an unfortunate accident, lowering himself to sit in a chair next to the French president Charles de Gaulle without noticing the chair had been moved.

Vianello (left) with Ugo Tognazzi in a sketch from their 1950s satirical TV show Un due tre
Vianello (left) with Ugo Tognazzi in a sketch from their
1950s satirical TV show Un due tre
Gronchi was not amused, however, and ordered the show to be cancelled. All was forgiven in time, though, and by the late 1960s Vianello was back on the small screen, this time in the company of his wife, the actress Sandra Mondaini.

Together, they hosted a series of Saturday shows on Rai which made them an extremely popular couple.

The next time Vianello left Rai, it was of his own volition, lured away to work on the commercial networks, which had become major players with the involvement of entrepreneur and future prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Vianello and Mondaini fronted quiz shows such as Zig Zag and Il gioco del 9 on Canale 5, and for eight years Raimondo was the host of Pressing, a Sunday night sports talk show on Italia 1. He also hosted the 1998 edition of the Sanremo Music Festival alongside Eva Herzigová and Veronica Pivetti.

But it was his best-known and longest-lasting TV programme, Casa Vianello, a sitcom which aired from 1988 to 2008 in Canale 5 and later Rete 4 in which he and Mondaini performed as fictionalised versions of themselves, based on light and never-vulgar humour. It became a show beloved among Italians of all ages.

Vianello and his wife Sandra Mondaini presented many different shows together, including a long-running sitcom
Vianello and his wife Sandra Mondaini presented many
different shows together, including a long-running sitcom
Born in Rome, the son of Guido Vianello, an Admiral in the Italian Navy of Venetian heritage, he was brought up in Pula in what is now Croatia but which then was in Italian-controlled Istria.

As a young man he joined Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic, the Fascist state established in northern Italy after the country’s surrender to the Allies in 1943. He served as a non-commissioned officer in the Bersaglieri corps. In 1945, he was captured by American troops and detained in the Coltano prison camp near Pisa.

After his long career, he died in 2010, a month short of what would have been his 88th birthday. His funeral took place at the in the Chiesa di Dio Padre in Milano Due, the new town within the Milan suburb of Segrate built by Berlusconi. After the funeral the body was transferred to Rome, to be buried in the family tomb at the Verano cemetery.

Pula's first century Colosseum is one of many Roman  relics in the former Italian city in Istria
Pula's first century Colosseum is one of many Roman
 relics in the former Italian city in Istria
Travel tip:

Pula is a seafront city on the tip of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula, known for its protected harbour, beach-lined coast and some of the most impressive Roman ruins outside Italy, including a first-century Roman amphitheatre, whose imposing outer walls are the best preserved after Rome’s Colosseum, and the Temple of Augustus. The Colosseum hosts the centrepiece of Pula’s annual calendar, the glitzy two-week film festival. The streets of Pula’s historic centre contain a historical jumble of Byzantine chapels, weather-beaten Venetian townhouses and grand Hapsburg palaces.

Waterways are a feature of the environment created at Silvio Berlusconi's Milano Due complex
Waterways are a feature of the environment created at
Silvio Berlusconi's Milano Due complex
Travel tip:

The town of Milano Due was the project that launched Silvio Berlusconi as a media magnate. Built by Berlusconi's construction company Edilnord in the 1970s, it is a residential centre close to the Segrate area of suburban Milan conceived by Berlusconi as a place for families to live in a safe environment, a system of walkways ensuring that its residents could reach any part of the community without encountering any vehicular traffic.  The town features many parks and waterways and every house or apartment was connected to a cable television system run by another Berlusconi company,  TeleMilano, Italy's first private television channel. TeleMilano was the project from which the tycoon would eventually grow his national TV company, Mediaset.

More reading:

How Ugo Tognazzi became a star of commedia all'Italiana

Virna Lisi, the screen siren who turned her back on glamour roles

Pippo Baudo, the TV presenter who became the record-breaking face of Sanremo

Also on this day:

1917: The birth of Sistine Chapel Choir director Domenico Bartolucci

1976: The birth of rugby star Andrea lo Cicero

1983: The birth of Olympic archery champion Marco Galiazzo


25 January 2019

Noemi - singer-songwriter

Debut album topped Italian charts

Noemi - born Veronica Scopelliti in Rome - found fame after appearing on the Italian version of X-Factor
Noemi - born Veronica Scopelliti in Rome - found fame
after appearing on the Italian version of X-Factor
The singer-songwriter Noemi - real name Veronica Scopelliti - was born on Rome on this day in 1982. 

Noemi’s first album, Sulla Mia Pelle, released in 2009, sold more than 140,000 copies, topping the Italian album charts.

It followed her appearance in the second series of the Italian version of The X-Factor, the television talent show that was launched in the United Kingdom in 2004.

Although she did not win the competition, Noemi proved to be the most popular singer, finishing fifth overall.  Soon afterwards, she landed her first recording contract, with Sony Music, and released a single, Briciole, which reached number two in the Italian singles chart.

Heavily influenced by soul music, Noemi established immediately the style that has seen her nicknamed the ‘lioness of Italian pop’.

The cover of Noemi's debut EP, which sold more than 50,000 copies
The cover of Noemi's debut EP, which
sold more than 50,000 copies
The elder of two daughters of Armando and Stefania Scopelliti, Noemi - Veronica as she was then - had early experience of appearing in the spotlight - at 19 months she was chosen to model nappies in a TV commercial for Pampers.

She inherited her love for music from her father, who played guitar in a group, and began learning the piano at seven and the guitar at 11, soon writing her own pieces. She attended the De Merode Institute of the Collegio San Giuseppe, a Catholic school on Piazza di Spagna in the heart of Rome, and from there progressed to a degree in Drama, Arts, Music and Entertainment at the Università di Roma Tre - Rome’s third university.

Accompanying herself on guitar or at the piano, she began to appear at venues in Rome from the age of 21 onwards, even before she completed her studies, before successfully auditioning for X-Factor in 2008.

Soon after Briciole was released in April 2009, Sony Music produced her first EP, entitled simply Noemi, which sold more than 50,000 copies. She launched a promotional tour, which included an appearance at the concert Amiche per l'Abruzzo, organised by the top-selling Italian star Laura Pausini at the San Siro stadium in Milan to raise funds for victims of the Abruzzo earthquake, and at the Concerto per Viareggio organised by the popular male singer Zucchero to help the victims of a train derailment and explosion that killed 32 people in the seaside town in June, 2009.

Noemi's career has been encouraged by Laura Pausini, one of Italy's top stars
Noemi's career has been encouraged by
Laura Pausini, one of Italy's top stars
Her first album, Sulla mia pelle, was released in October of that year. A single from the album, L'amore si odia - a duet with Fiorella Mannoia - obtained a platinum disc.

Noemi has subsequently released four more studio albums - RossoNoemi, Made in London, Cuore d’artista and La luna - a live album RossoLive, and 15 singles, five of which sold more than 50,000 copies each.

She has appeared in five editions of the Sanremo Music Festival, between 2010 and 2018, finishing third once and fourth twice. Per tutta la vita, which she sang on her Sanremo debut, was her second number one single, following on from L’amore si odia.  Her total record sales add up to more than 750,000.

In 2013, together with Raffaella Carrà , Piero Pelù and Riccardo Cocciante, Noemi was hired as a coach of the first edition of The Voice of Italy, broadcast on Rai Due.

Inspired by singers such as Aretha Franklin, Robert Johnson, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Erykah Badu and James Brown, Noemi is comfortable with soul, blues. R&B and rock, her voice characterised by a distinctively scratchy and deeply powerful sound.

Pausini, Umberto Tozzi and Vasco Rossi, all important figures in the Italian music industry, are among her admirers.

In 2018, Noemi married Gabriele Greco, the bassist and double bass player in her band, in Rome in the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Lucina, following a 10-year romance.

The Collegio San Giuseppe is just off Rome's famous Piazza di Spagna
The Collegio San Giuseppe is just off
Rome's famous Piazza di Spagna
Travel tip:

The Collegio San Giuseppe-Istituto de Mérode is a Catholic school of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, located at via San Sebastianello 1, at the corner of Piazza di Spagna, in the rione Campo Marzio.  The Brothers of the Christian Schools was founded by Jean-Baptiste de La Salle in the 17th century. The Collegio San Giuseppe was founded in 1850 in Palazzo Poli at the Trevi Fountain. It was relocated to its current location in 1885. In addition to Noemi, its alumni include the journalist Pietro Calabrese and Giovanni Malagò, the current president of the Italian National Olympic Committee.

The Basilica of San Lorenzo in Lucina can be found  a short distance from the Palazzo Montecitorio
The Basilica of San Lorenzo in Lucina can be found
a short distance from the Palazzo Montecitorio 
Travel tip:

The Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence in Lucina, where Noemi was married, is located in Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina in the Rione Colonna, not far from the Palazzo Montecitorio - the seat of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian parliament - and Via del Corso.  Originally built in the fourth century, the church was reconstructed in the 12th century and again in the 17th, when the lateral isles were replaced by Baroque chapels, among them one designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for the Portuguese doctor Gabriele Fonseca, who was physician to Pope Innocent X (1644-55). Guido Reni's Christ on the Cross is visible above the high altar.  Among those interred in the basilica are the opera composer Bernardo Pasquini and the French Baroque painter Nicolas Poussin, who spent most of his working life in Rome.

More reading:

How Laura Pausini became one of Italy's all-time biggest female stars

Still rocking at 63 - the enduring appeal of Zucchero

The X-Factor victory that launched Marco Mengoni

Also on this day:

1348: The Friuli Earthquake

1755: The birth of the physician Paolo Mascagni

1866: The birth of operatic baritone Antonio Scotti


18 June 2017

Raffaella Carrà - entertainer and TV presenter

Much-loved star with long and varied career

Raffaella Carrà has been one of the most  popular entertainers on Italian TV for 35 years
Raffaella Carrà has been one of the most
popular entertainers on Italian TV for 35 years
Raffaella Carrà, the singer, dancer, television presenter, and actress often simply known as la Carrà or Raffaella, was born in Bologna on this day in 1943.

Carrà has become a familiar face on Italian TV screens as the host of many variety shows and, more recently, as a judge on the talent show The Voice of Italy.

She has also enjoyed a recording career spanning 45 years and was a film actress for the best part of 25 years, having made her debut at the age of nine.  Her best-known screen role outside Italy was alongside Frank Sinatra in the hit American wartime drama, Von Ryan’s Express.

Carrà was born Raffaella Maria Roberta Pelloni. Shew grew up in the Adriatic resort of Bellaria-Igea Marina, just north of Rimini, where her father ran a bar and her maternal grandfather an ice cream parlour.  At the age of eight, she won a place at the National Dance Academy in Rome and from there moved to the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografie, Italy’s oldest film school.

Her film career was never more than modestly successful. Although she has a long list of credits, she was cast mainly in small parts. Her most successful years were the 1960s, when she had more prominent roles in Mario Monicelli’s I compagnoni – the companions – which was a hit in Italy, and in Von Ryan’s Express, in which she played the part of the mistress of a German officer, which raised her profile with international audiences.

Carrà opposite Gian Maria Volontè in the 1963 film  Il terrorista, directed by Gianfranco De Bosio
Carrà opposite Gian Maria Volontè in the 1963 film
Il terrorista, directed by Gianfranco De Bosio
It was at the suggestion of one of her directors, Dante Guardamagna, that she changed her name.  Carrà, in fact, was his choice, after the Futurist artist Carlo Carrà, who was a particular favourite of his.

She frequently appeared in the gossip columns, which excitedly reported an affair with Sinatra at around the time Von Ryan’s Express was being shot, and a longer relationship with the Juventus footballer Gino Stacchini, her partner for eight years.

Carrà also enjoyed some success in Italian TV dramas but it was her move into variety shows in the 1970s that would catapult her to bigger fame.  An uninhibited and daring dancer, she pushed the limits of what was acceptable on Italian TV screens at the time, achieving notoriety for a while as the first showgirl to reveal her belly button on camera, in the show Canzonissima, which attracting serious criticism from the Catholic Church, who felt it bordered in indecency.

Carrà became famous as a singer and dancer
Carrà became famous as a singer and dancer
Nonetheless, her career took off, both as a dancer and a singer, in Italy and in Spain, where she was almost as popular as in her home country.  The sensual Tuca tuca, written as a song and dance presentation by her long-term collaborator and boyfriend Gianni Boncompagni, gave her a first hit and others followed, including Chissa Se Va, A far l’amore comincia tu, and Tanti auguri, which was probably her most successful. 

She even had a hit in the United Kingdom, a difficult market for singers from Europe, with Do It, Do It Again. Years later, a video of the single featured in an episode of the sci-fi series Doctor Who.

Her move from performer to TV host came in the 1980s, when as the presenter of daytime TV show Pronto, Raffaella? for RAI, a game show in which viewers could speak to her directly by telephone, she displayed an ability to relate both to the celebrities who appeared as studio guests and ordinary members of the public.

More shows for RAI followed, her success bringing a move to the Fininvest channels owned by Silvio Berlusconi and a return to RAI, where in the mid-90s she became the host of the huge hit, Carràmba! Que Sorpresa, which reunited long-separated friends and relatives.

Carrà sometimes presented the television coverage of the Sanremo music competition and was Italy’s jury spokesman on their return to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, which ended the country’s 13-year absence.

She became the face of the Italian national lottery for many years, because her shows, starting with Canzonissima and continuing with Fantastico, Carràmba! Che Sorpresa and Carràmba! Che Fortuna would incorporate the lottery draw.

More recently, she presented Forte forte forte – a talent show on which she worked with long-time romantic partner Sergio Jacopo – as well The Voice of Italy.

Her Italian career ran in parallel with similar success in variety shows in Spain, who chose her to front a gala night in 2016 celebrating 60 years of Spanish public television.

The harbour area at Bellaria-Igea Marina
The harbour area at Bellaria-Igea Marina
Travel tip:

Bellaria-Igea Marina is a popular resort about 14km (9 miles) from Rimini and 35km (22 miles) from Ravenna in Emilia-Romagna.  As well as extensive sandy beaches it has a charming harbour area on the site of the fishing village it once was. It began to develop as resort in the early 20th century, with many tree-lined avenues running parallel with the shore. Interesting features include the Red House, the summer residence of the writer Alfredo Panzini, in the Via Panzini, and the ‘shell house’ in Via Nicolò Zeno, the entire walls of which are covered in shells attached by the owner.

Travel tip:

The Centro sperimentale di cinematografia, established in Rome in 1935, is the oldest film school in Western Europe. It is located close to the Cinecittà studios. Classes are limited to only six students, who train using classic 35mm equipment. Many of Italy’s finest actors and directors are former students.