Celebrate  Christmas Italian Style with I Giullari di Piazza's 

 'LA CANTATA DEI PASTORI'  (The Shepherd's CantataBased on the Traditional Southern Italian Play Written by Andrea Perrucci in the 17th century and still performed annually in the environs of Naples. 


The musical version has been adapted and directed by Alessandra Belloni and enacted by masked commedia dell'arte characters, puppets, devils, and the Archangel Gabriel on stilts. Music afrranged by John La Barbera and directed by Susan EBerenz.  Narrated in English by La BEfana - Good Witch of Christmas  - played by Max Mc Guire – featuring the Neapolitan Singer Actor Giuseppe de Falco in the role of Pulcinella & Alessandra Belloni in the role of Mary

Friday December 16, Saturday December 17, at 8:00pm Sunday December 18 at 5:00pm – special Winter Solstice performances December 21 & 22  at 8:00 PM

Tickets: $25     

Alex Ross, The New York Times
"A musical play presented by the traditional Italian group I Giullari di Piazza (is) a rarity among Christmas programs; it somehow manages to be both riotously entertaining and   curiously haunting, even profound......a vibrant and uproarious performance."

Jon Pareles The New York Times

The music, directed by John La Barbera, is folkish, aiming for vitality above precision and often achieving both. The adaptation, by the troupe's director, Alessandra Belloni, is geared for action rather than quiet piety; in a climactic battle, Miss Belloni as Maria beat a large drum and sang out while the Angel Gabriel  took on the dragon. Giuseppe de Falco as Razzullo (and Vincenzo Corrao as the birdlike Sarchiapone)  shared slapstick duties.


Alessandra Belloni
 - as Mary, mezzo-soprano, percussion
Susan Eberenz - flute, piccolo, recorders
Wilson Montuori- classical and renaissance guitar, mandolin
Mara Gerety - violinist as the Devil
Vinnie Scialla percussion and drumset

Giuseppe De Falco - Neapolitan singer/actor as the commedia dell'arte character Razzullo
Max McGuire  - La Befana
Mark Mindek - stilt 
dancer as Archangel Gabriel
Enrico Granafei - as a devil and a fisherman
James Karcher - sword fighter, principal devil
Francesca Silvano - dancer, shepherdess, devil
Peter de Geronimo 
- shepherd, devil
Luca Focella – little Devil , shepherd

and special children's participation as shepherds and angels.

I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA, renowened Italian music/theater/dance company, in residence at Cathedral of St John the Divine will present their traditional Southern Italian "La Cantata dei Pastori," (The Shepherd's Cantata) a musical holiday delight for people of all ages, at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue.


Join La Befana, the Good Witch of Christmas, Mary and Joseph, the Archangel Gabriel, Devils, Demons, and the commedia dell'arte characters who enact this beloved story of the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, and the triumph of good over evil.  

The music - tarantellas, villanellas and pastorales - comes from traditional sources, with original music by John La Barbera and directed by Susan Eberenz . Adaptation and stage direction are by Alessandra Belloni.   Songs are sung in Italian and old Neapolitan dialect; costuming and music instrumentation is traditional Southern Italian; narration is in English.   The play ends with a singing by the Company of the oldest known Neapolitan Christmas song.

The play is set during Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, during which the Devil has dispatched demons to stop the birth of Jesus.    Along the way, the holy couple's escapades are entwined with the hapless commedia dell'arte character called Razzullo, a comic mischievous Neapolitan scribe who is always hungry and looking for something to eat.   The demons, in the meanwhile, conjure up tempests, dragons, and do all they can to stop the birth, but all are under the protection of the Archangel Gabriel (played here, in traditional style, by Mark Mindek, well known stilt dancer who has appeared in Metropolitan Opera productions, Disney Films and special events around the world.).   The holy couple experiences funny, outrageous, and dangerous adventures before they finally reach Bethlehem and Good triumphs over Evil!    


 I GIULLARI HAS MASTERD THE IMPROVISAITONAL COMMEDIA DELL;ARTE STYLE, and this production is rich with “lazzi” and funny improvised skits among the actors led by Pulcinella, combined with grotesque masks, outrageous props and effects.

As the boat and tempest scene , the mocking funeral of Pulcinella and sward fights among the devil and the Archangel on stilts .

"La Cantata dei Pastori" is still performed annual during the Christmas season in the environs of Naples.   Written by Andrea Perrucci during the height of commedia dell'arte popularity in Italy, it combines commedia characteristics with those of the Italian medieval sacra rappresentazione.   These elements are fused in settings which borrow from a third genre, the Italian pastoral drama.

The play's author, Andrea Perrucci, used the pseudonym of Dt. Casimiro Ruggiero Ugone when he wrote "La Cantata dei Pastori."   This Sicilian-born but Neapolitan-bred poet and dramatist, who had a reputation in Naples as a stage director,  was educated by the Jesuits and received a doctorate in letters.

La Cantata dei Pastori Pulcinella / Razzullo by Alessandra Belloni. Performed Live on December 12, 2016, Theater For The New City, NYC



La Cantata dei Pastori  Befana / Marenaresca / Tempest


Excerpt from La Cantata dei Pastori  Befana / Marenaresca / Tempest by Alessandra Belloni.

Performed Live on December 12, 2016, Theater For The New City, NYC



La Cantata dei Pastori Cuncti Simus


La Cantata dei Pastori Cuncti Simus by Alessandra Belloni. Performed Live on December 12, 2016, Theater For The New City, NYC


 La Cantata dei Pastori Mattacino


La Cantata dei Pastori Mattacino by Alessandra Belloni. Performed Live on December 12, 2016, Theater For The New City, NYC


La Cantata dei Pastori Quanno Nascette Ninno


La Cantata dei Pastori Quanno Nascette Ninno by Alessandra Belloni. Performed Live onDecember 12, 2016, Theater For The New City, NYC


La Cantata dei Pastori Nativity Scene


La Cantata dei Pastori Nativity Scene by Alessandra Belloni. Performed Live on December 12, 2016, Theater For The New City, NYC

Alessandra Belloni - Remo Artist &
Artistic Director, founder I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA
Artist in residence at Cathedral of St John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Ave. NY NY 10025
tel 646 322-4637

December 16 & 17

8:00 PM

December 18

 5:00 PM

December 21 and 22

 8:00 PM

Click here to buy tickets to My Wife in a Chador via

Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 254-1109
Fax: (212) 979-6570


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