Where is Sardinia?
The Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong had recorded over 700 reservations before closing access to the website – something that previously had never happened. This ‘sold out’ really makes us proud.
The show registered a full house. There were people from all over the world in the audience, though, as you didn’t expect, a prevalence of them were Chinese. I recognised British, Americans, Australians, and evidently Italians, some of them having come from Beijing for the occasion. And dozens of Sardinians, moved and happy.
The surprise that we prepared was the dancers, not mentioned in the programme. They appeared first on stage and started the show. The two young dancers, Rita Ladu and Giuseppe Rendini, came from ITC, the ‘Technical Commercial Institute’ of Nuoro, which had prepared a welcome day for the University of Hong Kong delegation that visited Sardinia last October. Talented and professional, they managed to warm up the audience. The presenter of the event was Nicole Garbellini, the actress who interpreted Grazia Deledda in the shows we staged in 2014. The tenors were impeccable, the perfect acoustics exalting their ‘state of grace’ voices. Something I had never witnessed before. Gianmario Cucca’s performance (sa boche) was moving, clean, with variations of tone, intensity and notes that amazed everyone. Nino Chessa (su bassu), Gabriele Mereu (su contra, baritone) and Enrico Poddie (sa mesuboche, first tenor) were equally very good. Each of them instilled a special emphasis in their singing, which was the result of wonderful harmony, at times touching. The first part was centred on these songs:
Saludosos Nugoresos, Saluti Nuoresi – Nuorese Greetings
1. Saludu a Grazia Deledda, Saluto a Grazia Deledda – Goodbye to Grazia Deledda
2. Sa Femina Onesta, La Donna Onesta – The Honest Woman
3. Gosos de Su Redentore, Lodi del Redentore – Praises to our Lord the Redeemer
4. Muttos, Versi – Verses
After the applause, Nicole gave the word to Paolo Piquereddu, the former Director General of ISRE, who briefly introduced Sardinia and invited the public to visit the beauties of our island.
There was then another entrance by the dancers, this time with a passu turrau, a dance of great elegance.
In the second part, the tenors reached an even higher quality of performance, showing a passion that really draws the attention of the audience. The absolute silence respected by more than 500 people was really impressive.
Pasca ‘e Nadale in Allegria, Feste in Allegria – Happy Feasts
5. Coro Anninno’ Anninno, Cuore Ninna Nanna – Sweetheart Lullaby
6. Celeste Tesoro (Gosos De Pasca ‘e Nadale), Celeste Tesoro (Lodi Di Natale) – My Celestial Treasure
7. Muttos a S’Andira –Verses
8. Su Dillu – The Dance
Finally, the dancers came again with an uncontrollable Dillu. They dragged some people from the audience onto the stage, while others joined spontaneously as the audience was clapping.
What to say? Besides feeling emotional – and deservedly proud for having worked hard in 2014 to launch Sardinia in Hong Kong and Macao, for having made contacts and created a link that will herald many positive developments – there is a contrasting sense of great bitterness. The real absent parties of the evening were the Sardinian institutions. The Italian Cultural Institute of HK and Macao did a great job of helping us in 2014, believing in our ideas, and organising this event. But then, everything has fallen on the shoulders of Beyond Thirty-Nine, on the group of passionate people who have invested time, energy and of course money to make this ‘cultural landing’ possible, and in such great style. The Sardinian Institutions have shown once again how far they are from understanding the right approach to take when addressing markets of unmatchable interest. Culture opens any door and immediately it determines a high and diversifying competition advantage. Sardinia’s cultural and artistic heritage is of immediate interest: it attracts people, it surprises and fascinates them.
As Sardinians, we have in our hands all the right cards to play in today’s complex markets: amazing cards. With our small group of people (by the way, I am the only Sardinian among them, so give praise where praise is due to my colleagues and friends who believe in this project and help me) we have shown how to organise a presentation of Sardinia (incidentally, as of today, February 8th, no contribution toward what was done in 2014 –for which were promised some very partial reimbursements – has been received. Nothing. Not even a penny).
I’d like to emphasise one thing. All the protagonists of this event were, for my specific choice, young boys. The youngest, Nino Chessa, turned seventeen here in Hong Kong. Seventeen years old! And they were all, including the dancers, passionately skilled and professional. Wonderful youngsters, who serve as an example. It is for these youngsters that we have to work, for all the Sardinian youngsters abandoned to themselves, without viable perspectives and without a future. For the youngsters, guiltily forgotten by their own institutions. Where was Sardinia last night? That Sardinia’s mouth is filled with empty words, when it would be so easy to give value to the Sardinian people’s inclination towards beauty, their passion for handicrafts, for unique products, for culture and bewildering beauties. Where were the Giants of Monte e’ Prama? Where was our heritage?
Must it be left to the four crazy, yet enthusiastic people of Beyond Thirty-Nine to open Asia up to Sardinia, to explain to the Asians where Sardinia is located and how it can be reached? We must take back our pride in being Sardinian, because this is the only way to escape not only decline but also oblivion, to which we are condemned. A transversal class of incompetent people is destroying the future of these wonderful young people and clipping the wings to any initiative that has value for the future. We must rebuild our destiny, starting with culture. When will we figure it out?
My special thanks go to the ‘Italian Institute of Culture in Hong Kong and Macao’ and to its Director Matteo Fazzi, who believes, one of the few who hear among many deaf people, in this Sardinia project; to the Cultural Association Grazia Deledda, to its President Tore Ladu and to its Master Gianpaolo Selloni: they helped to bring these tenors to an incredible level of professionalism and seriousness; to the ITC Institute and to its Manager Pierina Masuri: they so warmly welcomed us in Nuoro in October and prepared these magnificent dancers.
As Beyond Thirty-Nine, we are proud of what has been done.
As a Sardinian – and one from Nuoro – I must confess, I’m getting very angry.