Isabella Rossellini in conversation with Yasmine Ergas

06 June 2018 / 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Fifty years after 1968, Yasmine Ergas and Isabella Rossellini reflect on this tumultuous moment in Italian life, culture, and politics. Exchanging personal stories alongside photographs and documents from the women’s movement, these two life-long friends will reflect on the legacy of this important chapter in Italian history. The conversation will conclude with a question-and-answer period with the audience.

$15; free for CIMA members.



Program schedule:

6:00pm – doors open for registration and Alberto Savinio exhibition viewing

6:20pm – conversation program begins, followed by Q&A

7:30pm – conversation program ends, exhibition viewing

8:00pm – doors close


Isabella Rossellini is an actress, filmmaker, author, and model. She has a keen interest in animals and wildlife conservation; she recently completed a 50-city tour with a monologue based on her award-winning series of shorts, Green PornoSeduce Me, and Mammas. She is also completing her Masters in Animal Behavior and Conservation at Hunter College. Her book about raising heritage chickens at her farm in Long Island, which is run in association with the Peconic Land Trust, has just been published by Abrams.

Yasmine Ergas is a lawyer and sociologist. The founding director of the Specialization in Gender & Public Policy at Columbia University, she is also the co-founder and co-chair of Columbia University Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Council, Senior Advisor to the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and a member of the University’s Committee on Global Thought. She recently co-edited Reassembling Motherhood: Procreation and Care in a Globalized World (Columbia University Press, 2017).


Alberto Savinio’s “Les chants de la mi-mort”

21 June 2018 / 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

At ISSUE Project Room: 22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201

U.S. premiere of Alberto Savinio’s “Les chants de la mi-mort” with new work by Nick Hallett

Thursday, June 21st, ISSUE Project Room, in partnership with CIMA, presents an evening of experimental opera curated by Lauren Rosati. The program features the first American re-staging of Alberto Savinio’s 1914 avant-garde operetta Les chants de la mi-mort (Songs of the Half-Dead) and the New York City concert premiere of the latest scene in composer-vocalist Nick Hallett’s serial opera, To Music. The performances take place prior to the final weekend of CIMA’s critically acclaimed Alberto Savinio exhibition.


Originally staged in the offices of Apollinaire’s review Les Soirées des Paris on May 21st, 1914, where it was performed in French and Italian, Savinio’s Les chants de la mi-mort centers around a family drama during the period of the nineteenth-century Italian Risorgimento. Savinio intended this intermedia work, which combined music, literature, theatre, set design, and costumes, as a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk: a total work of art. The operetta’s characters (among them “a mad king” and “the bald man”) and scenic descriptions (including a tower, an equestrian statue, and cannon) inspired the metaphysical paintings of de Chirico. The dramatic text, as well as the piano score, incorporate noises and lighting effects—the sound of artillery fire, the flashing beam of a lighthouse—which are hallmarks of early Italian Futurist theater. The theme of this dissonant, absurdist operetta has very little to do with the Risorgimento itself; rather, its subject matter and mood pertains to Savinio’s conception of “half-death”: a state suspended between dream and reality, requiring an expansion of one’s faculties of perception to understand the world. While documentation of the original costumes and sets has been lost, and there is no information on the relationship between the music and libretto, this modern reconstruction of Les chants de la mi-mort relies on extant materials and primary sources to reimagine the production for new audiences.

The operetta will be presented in two acts: first, a dramatic reading of the libretto by mezzo-soprano Lucy Dhegrae and baritone Mario Diaz-Moresco, with an original video by Reid Farrington and a score of noises by percussionist Clara Warnaar; and second, a premiere performance of the original score by the pianist Kathleen Supové, with vocals by Dhegrae and Diaz-Moresco and additional percussion by Warnaar. The whole production runs 40-50 minutes.

In line with CIMA’s mission to present contemporary artists alongside the work of modern Italian artists, and in the spirit of inter-generational creative dialogue, this evening’s presentation of Savinio’s 1914 opera will also include the New York City concert premiere of the latest scene in composer-vocalist Nick Hallett’s opera-in-process, To Music, a dark comedy that looks at the nature of inspiration and originality through the cautionary tale of a fictional composer’s behavior on social media—a portrait of the artist on Facebook.

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