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UNESCO: Italy candidate Italian opera as an intangible heritage of humanity

Last month in Rome during an online meeting chaired by Franco Bernabè, the Board of Directors of the UNESCO Italian National Commission approved an Italian application to be submitted to the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage for the 2023 cycle: “The Art of the Italian Opera Singing”.

Intangible cultural heritage is the set of oral traditions, expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festivities, knowledge and practices which concern the relationship between man- nature and man-universe.

The candidacy of the Italian opera is the result of a long work undertaken by Service II – UNESCO Office of the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Directorate General for Entertainment. It recognizes the requests of the “Committee for the Safeguarding of the Art of Italian Lyric Singing” which were joined, among other things, by the Teatro Alla Scala Foundation in Milan, the Accademia Nazionale Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Association of Italian Theaters of Tradition and Assoliric.

The decision followed a careful examination of the proposed nominations that included, in addition to the chosen one, also the one entitled “The Italian Espresso Coffee between culture, ritual, sociality and literature in the emblematic communities from Venice to Naples”, a dossier that has been much appreciated by the members of the Board.

With the candidacy of Italian opera singing, Italy aims to recognize one of its most authentic and original cultural expressions”, commented the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini. The art of opera singing has historically played a function of social aggregation through the sharing of musical and literary skills and the use of natural or traditionally delimited acoustic spaces, in which it is not necessary to use technological instruments for the reproduction of the voice thanks to the power of the voice of the singers themselves.


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