Performances at ‘Prato è Spettacolo’

Prato’s Cathedral in Piazza del Duomo, where the concert stage is set up

Even as August draws to a close, the summer festivities still continue with the 4th edition of “Prato è Spettacolo” (Prato is Entertainment.” From August 30 to September 4, extend the season of sunshine with nearly a week of concerts in Tuscany’s capital.

Right in front of Prato’s  distinctive green and white striped marble Romanesque cathedral,  Piazza del Duomo becomes a concert venue beginning August 30.  The festival brings a rotation of artists known throughout the region. Caparezza kicks off the festival at Piazza Duomo, offering an energetic rap set list of songs from his latest album “Prisoner 709.” An artist frequently featured on the Italian charts, Caparezza is certain to give a notable performance, making a pit stop in Prato as he continues to tour throughout the country. No stranger to Prato, Caparezza previously performed at the summer festival in 2015, and visitors can purchase tickets for his return beginning at €28.

The following evening, The Darkness descends on the stage of Piazza Duomo with hard rock headbangers after the sun sets. First rising to fame in the early 2000s, the British heavy metal band offer an electric grunge sound reminiscent of decades past for one night in Prato. Standing tickets begin at €25, while tickets with reserved seats cost €35.

The new month begins with a triple-header performance; on September 1, Einstürzende Neubauten, dEUS, and Blonde Redhead unite on stage, merging their music for the first time. This combination guarantees that the beats of the charged rock melodies will emanate throughout the piazza for the five-hour performance. Standing entrance tickets go for €35 and seated admission costs €40.

Fresh off a show in Effetto Venezia, the Zen Circus takes to the Tuscan stage nearly a month later on September 2.  Following their performance, A Toys Orchestra contradicts their Italian origins with their trademark English-language melodies, bringing hits from their most recent album “LUB DUB” to Tuscany. Tickets for the dual-concert range from €20 to €28.

Finally, on September 3, audiences can see Cristiano De André: a confirmed guest despite issues with his vocal cords. Following a diagnosis in June that led to nearly two months of rest, the artists is back and committed to perform. In the wake of a quick recovery period, De André will do what he does best, offering his singer-songwriting prowess and violin instrumentals in addition to interpreting the compositions of his father, Fabrizio De André  (ticket €28) .

The performances also include a special event in the usually-restricted Sala Garibaldi. At 6 pm on September 2, Roberto Angelini and Rodrigo D’Erasmo create a “Way to Blue” tribute to songwriter Nick Drake. Seventy years after Drake’s birth, the homage pays respect to the artist’s talent in an intimate manner. Audiences can watch the show and enter the former theatre for €18.

Classical music is not overlooked either:  in Prato’s Piazza del Duomo on September 4 (9 pm), the Camerata Strumentale “Città di Prato” conducted by Jonathan Webb will dedicate an evening to the works of composer-conductor Leonard Bernsteine (1918-1990) in addition to performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

During “Prato è Spettacolo,” a space for children (La Piazza dei Piccoli) has been created in Piazza Santa Maria in Cestello so kids can play, listen to book readings and participate in art and music workshops.

A festival that’s hosted everyone from rock legends to Italian hit makers, this year’s Prato concert series is certain to continue the momentum of previous years and prove that just because the Italian vacation month has concluded, the fun doesn’t have to stop.

For more info, visit the event’s web site.

(anna staropoli)