A sequence of poetry, prose and music on the theme of southern Europe, with readings by Alexandra Gilbreath and John Rowe.
Mezzogiorno is the land of lemon trees as well as the Mafia; it's the land of poverty and of plenty; of Giuseppe di Lampedusa as well as Leoncavallo. For centuries, Europe's beautiful south has held the Western imagination captive; so join Alexandra Gilbreath and John Rowe as they explore a region where Aeneas rubs shoulders with the Vespa.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Carlo Levi translated by Frances Frenaye
The Cemetery, From Christ Stopped at Eboli read by John Rowe
Virgil translated by Robert Fitzgerald
From The Aeneid read by John Rowe and Alexandra Gilbreath
From Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi Matera - translated by Frances Frenaye
From Midnight in Sicily read by John Rowe
Giuseppe di Lampedusa translated by Archibald Colquhoun
From The Leopard read by Alexandra Gilbreath
Salvatore Quasimodo translated by Jack Bevan
And your dress is white read by John Rowe
Elio Vittorini translated by Alane Salierno Mason
From Conversations in Sicily read by John Rowe
Elena Ferrante translated by Ann Goldstein
From My Brilliant Friend read by Alexandra Gilbreath
Leonardo Sciascia translated by Adrienne Foulke
From To Each His Own read by John Rowe
W H Auden
Good-bye to the Mezzogiorno read by John Rowe
A land of lemon trees, blue sea and and pulverising sunshine but also a land of ruined civilisations, sickness, and the Mafia. If you were making a map of the Mezzogiorno you would probably include Calabria, Campania, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Puglia, Molise and Sicily – but something would still be missing. Mezzogiorno is more than a matter of geography – it’s a question of history and sensibility. It’s a kind of Camelot where the past lies buried in the present; where sharp sensuality is matched by a vivid sense of mortality; and where the pagan meets the Catholic…. its boundaries following the traditional fault line between the rich North and the poor South in Italy.
This week’s edition of Words and Music is devoted to an exploration of the Mezzogiorno with the help of some of Italy’s most brilliant writers and musicians and with some who, although not born there, have fallen under its spell. The cast includes Leonardo Sciascia, Elio Vittorini, Giuseppe di Lampedusa, Carlo Levi and W H Auden as well as Bellini, Leoncavallo, Alessandro Scarlatti and Gesualdo, so book yourself an early summer holiday and take off for the beautiful, multi-faceted South with the actors, John Rowe and Alexandra Gilbreath.