Invitation to Travel

Review by Raffaella Giancristofaro

Thursday 16 June 2022

On 21 September 2021 many Italian artists gather at the Verona Arena to testify the gratitude and affection for Franco Battiato and the lasting relevance of his work, about four months after his death. The production is by International Music and Arts by Francesco Cattini, Stefano Senardi, Pino “Pinaxa” Pischetola and Carlo Guaitoli, who takes care of the audio recording of the concert (a record release on two CDs or in a box of four vinyls) and, together to the Milanese Except by Pepsy Romanoff and Maurizio Vassallo, a film of the same title: Invitation to travel – Concert for Franco Battiato by Pepsy Romanoff.

On stage there are the musicians who accompanied Battiato on the last tour: Angelo Privitera (keyboards and programming), Osvaldo Di Dio and Antonello D’Urso (guitars), Andrea Torresani (bass), Giordano Colombo (drums). But almost every piece is performed by the Bruno Bartoletti Philharmonic of the Italian Opera directed by Carlo Guaitoli, a long-time collaborator of Battiato.

The cleanliness of the sound, the very high quality and refinement of the arrangements, sometimes almost philological, others free to reinterpret the pieces, and the real proximity to Battiato di Guaitoli and many of the artists who succeed each other on stage Travel invitation something different and more precious than the standard of tribute concerts. Also because, thanks to the wide and varied spectrum, including personal data, of interpreters called, through their interpretations and emotions more or less leaked, a full-bodied extract of an impressive production parades. And at the same time the reverence or the confidence, the modesty or the joy, the small uncertainties and tensions of each one in taking possession of a fleeting moment of posthumous connection with the “master” are revealed from time to time. As in the case of Paola Turci, very touched by “Piccola patria” or by those who send greetings and thanks to heaven after having finished singing.

What is striking is the centrality given to orchestral performances and interpretations, the precedence given to the key with which each artist immerses himself in the many universes of Battiato, rather than to the images projected on the led walls. Above all, the discography’s potential to prolong its terrestrial presence, both when it is interpreted philologically (especially in the full-bodied prefinal segment taken from “La voce del padrone”) and when it is reinterpreted in an original key (Extra-Smooth) while maintaining the same momentum, be it sacred hymn, dance piece, intimate poetry.

Each contribution has its own specific value, its own quality that allows us to read the artist through a creation that is not one’s own. With small surprises, including those of less media presence, such as Roberto Cacciapaglia who warns the audience before the instrumental performance of “Ocean of silence”, the intensity of Luca Madonia, the spirituality of Juri Camisasca, the precise melody of Fabio Cinti .

Already author of the photography of The Lack by Masbedo and (together with subject and screenplay) by The Vanya earthquake – Looking for Chekhov by Vinicio Marchioni, and director, among others, of Vasco all in one night LiveKom015, Tintoretto – A rebel in VeniceAnd I do $ odocumentary on the production of the record of the same name by the Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta, Romanoff (pseudonym of Giuseppedomingo Romano) is an excellence in the direction of music videos (his also the 33 rpm series Italian Masters for Sky Arte).

From the beginning with Sonia Bergamasco and Cristina Baggio, who interpret Travel invitation, the film is appreciated for an almost “sartorial” montage, (by Davide Olivastri, Livia Di Lucia and Giulia Loche) which cuts the dead time between the departure of an artist and the entry of the next, in a continuum which despite the consistent duration (155 minutes) keeps pace and attention high. Thanks to a team of ten machine operators and their combined use of steadycam and cranes, the viewer perceives the proximity with the orchestral players without losing the sense of context, an arena that is involved but not investigated in detail; the action is always among the instruments, in the heart of the performance. With the solemnity of a rite of memory and also the lightness of a party. In the words of Giovanni Caccamo, Travel invitation it is “a great collective prayer of souls for Franco Battiato”.

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Invitation to Travel – Concert for Franco Battiato