Monday, March 15, 2010

City Facts about Assisi

is a town and comune of Italy in province of Perugia, in the Umbria region and on the western flank of Monte Subasio. It was the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare (Chiara d'Offreducci), the founder of the Poor Clares. Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows of the 19th century was also born in Assisi.
The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi (St. Francis) is a World Heritage Site. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253. The lower church has frescos by renowned late-medieval artists Cimabue and Giotto; in the upper church are frescos of scenes in the life of St. Francis previously ascribed to Giotto and now thought to be by artists of the circle of Pietro Cavallini of Rome.

City Facts about Siena

Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena. The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 169,000 international arrivals in 2008. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and palio.
Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900 BC to 400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina. The Etruscans were an advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill-forts. A Roman town called Saena Julia was founded at the site in the time of the Emperor Augustus. The first document mentioning it dates from AD 70. Some archaeologists assert it was controlled for a period by a Gaulish tribe called the Saenones.
Siena's cathedral, the Duomo, begun in the twelfth century, is one of the great examples of Italian romanesque architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. It is unusual for a Christian cathedral in that its axis runs north-south. This is because it was originally intended to be the largest cathedral in existence, with a north-south transept and an east-west aisle, as is usual. After the completion of the transept and the building of the east wall (which still exists and may be climbed by the public via an internal staircase) the money ran out and the rest of the cathedral was abandoned.
Over the centuries, Siena has had a rich tradition of arts and artists. The list of artists from the Sienese School include Duccio, and his student Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti and Martino di Bartolomeo. A number of well known works of Renaissance and High Renaissance art still remain in Siena galleries or decorate churches in Siena.

Impressions from the 2008 Chapman Choir Incantato Italy Tour: Singing for the Pope

Here are some impressions from the Papal Audience where the Chapman University Choir had front row seats as part of their 2008 Incantato Performance Tour. The singers from Orange, CA under the direction of Dr. Joseph Modica made themselves heard with the moving spiritual "Hark, I hear the harps eternal!" (arr. A. Parker) and received enthusiastic applause from thousands of people in the square and also the Pope himself. (Photo credit goes to Joe Modica and those he gave his camera to)

Incantato Performance Venue: St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina

St. Paul's Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Mdina, in Malta. It is built on the site where governor Publius was reported to have met Saint Paul following his shipwreck off the Maltese coast.
According to tradition, the first Cathedral of Malta was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God but, having fallen into ruin during the Muslim period, it was rebuilt following the Norman conquest and re-dedicated to St Paul. The old church was modified and enlarged several times. The building we can see today was designed by the architect Lorenzo Gafa, it was built between 1697 and 1702 to replace a ruined Norman cathedral destroyed by the 1693 earthquake on Malta. Despite this, several artifacts and edifices survived including the painting by the Calabrian artist Mattia Preti depicting the conversion of Saint Paul, a 15th century Tuscan painting of the Madonna and Child, and frescoes in the apse which illustrate Paul's shipwreck.
St. Paul's Cathedral is a fine structure, designed by architect Lorenzo Gafa. Its impressive façade wows visitors as they emerge from Mdina’s narrow streets. The cathedral's magnificent dome, with red-and-white stripes, dominates the skyline. The dome's interior has been decorated by a succession of painters; today’s decoration dates from the 1950s. The lavish interior of the cathedral is similar in many ways to the Cathedral of St. John in Valetta. There are great works by the Calabrian artist and knight Mattia Preti and a marble-inlaid floor with tombstones carrying the coats of arms and inscriptions of the bishops of Mdina and other members of the cathedral chapter. Surviving from the original Norman church is a monumental depiction of the conversion of St. Paul by Mattia Preti, between the apse and main altar. Also surviving from the old church are: the 15th-century Tuscan panel painting of the Madonna and Child; the baptismal font; the frescoes in the apse depicting St. Paul’s shipwreck; and the old portal, made of carved Irish bog wood, which now serves as a door to the vestry. The cathedral's museum has a collection of coins, silver plate, religious vestments and some woodcuts by the German artist Albert Dürer.

Incantato Performance Venue: Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere

Incantato Tours sends singers to hidden gems - like the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome. Have a closer look at this venue:

The Basilica of Our Lady's in Trastevere (Italian: Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere) is a titular minor basilica, one of the oldest churches in Rome, perhaps the first in which mass was openly celebrated. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s AD. The inscription on the episcopal chair states that it is the first church dedicated to the Mother of God, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. In its foundation it is certainly one of the oldest churches in the city. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I. (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, an asylum for retired soldiers. The area was given over to Christian use by the Emperor Septimius Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers. In 340 Pope Julius I. (337-352) rebuilt the titulus Callixti on a larger scale, and it became the titulus Iulii commemorating his patronage, one of the original twenty-five parishes in Rome; indeed it may be the first church in which Mass was celebrated openly. It underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries. In 1140-43 the church was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II. Innocent II. razed the church, along with the recently completed tomb of his former rival Pope Anacletus II., to the ground, and arranged for his own burial on the spot formerly occupied by that tomb. The present nave preserves its original (pre-12th century) basilica plan and stands on the earlier foundations. The 22 granite columns with Ionic and Corinthian capitals that separate the nave from the aisles came from the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, as did the lintel of the entrance door.
The picture is from the official website of the church. And here is a video taken during the 2008 Incantato Performance Tour for the Chapman University Choirs directed by Dr. Joseph Modica at Santa Maria in Trastevere which was attended by around 800 guests from all over the world.

Incantato Performance Venue: Santa Maria Assunta Church in Calvi dell'Umbria

Calvi dell'Umbria is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Terni in the Italian region Umbria, located about 80 km south of Perugia and about 20 km southwest of Terni. The area was inhabited in Roman times, but developed as an urban center only in the High Middle Ages. Calvi was a fief of the Orsini and then of the Anguillara families. The main attractions are the church of Santa Maria, with an elegant Late Renaissance baptisal font, and the church of Sant'Antonio. In the neighborhood are the remains of a convent erected by St. Francis in the early 13th century.

The picture is from the official website of the town.

Incantato Performance Venue: St. George’s Basilica, Ta’ Pinu, in Gozo

Incantato Tours is proud to present this great venue: St. George’s Basilica, Ta’ Pinu, in Gozo.

The basilica was built in a neo-romantic style which means that the designer rejected or abandoned the use of the devices of avant-garde modernism and followed an older tradition. This is a national shrine and a center of pilgrimages for both the Gozitans and the Maltese as it is told on several accounts that the voice of Mary has been heard from inside. The present church was started in 1920 and consecrated in 1931.

Incantato Performance Venue: St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valetta

St John’s Co-Cathedral is a gem of Baroque art and architecture. It was built as the temple of the Knights of St. John. The severe exterior of the Cathedral, built immediately after the ending of the Great Siege of 1565, is reminiscent of a military fort The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art. This church is till this very day an important shrine and a sacred place of worship. The Church was designed by the Maltese military architect Glormu Cassar who designed several of the more prominent buildings in Valletta.
The painting depicting The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608) by Caravaggio (1571-1610) is the most famous work in the church. Considered one of Caravaggio's masterpieces and the only painting signed by the painter, the canvas is displayed in the Oratory for which it was painted. Restored in the late 1990's in Florence, this painting is one of Caravaggio's most impressive uses of the chiaroscuro style for which he is most famous with a circle of light illuminating the scene of St John's beheading at the request of Salome. The oratory also houses Caravaggio's St Jerome III (1607–1608).

The 2008 Incantato Italy Tour for the CSULB Chamber Choir

CSULB Chamber Choir Italy Tour from Eric Kim on Vimeo.
CSULB Chamber Choir Italy Incantato Tour Promotional Video