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Assunta Spina with Live Score

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alastair Cole


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The project comprises of the creation new live score for the 1915 Italian Silent Film, Assunta Spina (Director: Bertini, Francessca), and the subsequent performance of the new score as a live event in combination with further short film screenings, round table discussions and storytelling around the theme of ‘invisible women’. The score was commissioned by the Glasgow Film Festival 2018, and composed and performed for live screenings at the Film Festival, and across Scotland and England over 2018/2019. The project has received financial support from the Glasgow Film Festival, PRS for Music Foundation, the Mazzini Garibaldi Foundation, the Italian Cultural Institute, Edinburgh, and Film Hub Scotland - part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network and funded by BFI and Creative Scotland. The research project is led by Dr Alastair Cole (Newcastle University) and produced by Shona Thompson (A Kind of Seeing), and the live score has been co-written and performed by Alastair Cole, Elena Zini, Simone Caffari, Tim De Feu, Moreno Coco and Alessandro Parlato (aka The Badwills). Research Aims: - The new live score engages the traditional southern Italian folk music repertoire of tammurriata, tarantella, and pizzica, and asks audiences to reconsider the 1915 ‘diva era’ silent film through the prism of the traditional stories and female voices of the newly arranged traditional songs, and newly composed music that make up the score. - The project aims to interrogate, through practice, the capacity of a traditional folk music repertoire to engage with, and reimagine, early silent cinema. This includes the exploration of narrative links between traditional song and film, and attempting to understand the capacity to give an internal voice to silent cinema characters through traditional song. - It further aims to interrogate the film and music’s combined ability to create a live cinematic experience that engages Scottish and English audiences with the critical focus of the film, on the position of the subjugation of the female voice, and female roles in the history of cinema. The project also aims to inform new potential co-teaching within music and film in the school of arts and culture at Newcastle University in 2019/20. Release and performances: The inaugural screenings and live performances of the score were sell out performances at the 2018 Glasgow Film Festival, at Summerhall (Edinburgh) and the opening of the Opening of the Dunoon Film Festival 2018. A Glasgow University roundtable seminar held following these performances in May 2018. Future performances for 2019 include the 2019 Dundee Women’s Festival, at the Dundee Centre for Contemporary Art (DCA), Dundee; Performances at Eden Court, Inverness; West Side Cinema, Stromness, Orkney; Lyth Arts Centre, Lyth (all March 2019) and Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle (May 2019).

Publication metadata

Performer(s)/Choreographer(s): Cole A, Zini E, Caffari S, Coco M, De-Feu T, Parlato A

Publication type: Performance

Publication status: Published

Venue: Glasgow Film Theatre (Glasgow)

Location: Scotland

Year: 2018


Notes: Original performance in Glasgow on March 2nd was delayed to May 9th because of a snow storm. Link to Live Recording of Score (From Summerhall, Edinburgh): Links to events of 2018 performances: Reviews/Previews: