Based on the eponymous book by Patricia King Haddad, La Giara is a true Philadelphia story of the composer’s family’s emigration from Sicily. La Giara is about longing for our past and for the cultures from which we originate. What makes La Giara a particularly compelling work is that it is both personal and universal. Dramatic and comedic songs express themes relevant to gender oppression and cultural losses that immigrant families transcended while adapting to a new world.
Composer, pianist, vocalist, recording artist and author Patricia King Haddad, from the Brazilian ensemble Minas, draws from her musical worlds where Jazz, Brazilian, and Italian styles merge with compositions that evoke melodies of Puccini, lyrics of Gilbert and Sullivan, the drive of Brazilian rhythms, swing of ragtime, and memorable songs of Musical Theater, creating a compelling and unique musical narrative.
Isn’t It Love, voted Best Love Song by New York’s York Theater Competition in 2018, is one of the musical gems from the show, along with the light-hearted A Little Pinch of This and That, contrasted by the dark and dramatic aria I Long For The Sun, in which Nunzio, the Sicilian patriarch (and composer’s grandfather), regrets and apologizes for his erratic and destructive behavior.
Nunzio thinks he wears the pantaloni in his family until he instigates an incident that prompts his wife and two daughters to disappear suddenly. Leaving behind their family bridal business in Philadelphia, they use aliases and take a cross-country train out west.
La Giara originates in Sicily in 1909 with young Nunzio Minissale’s imperious cutting in line at the town water fountain. When Nunzio breaks his aunt’s heirloom giara, it unleashes a lifetime curse that crosses the Atlantic to the New World. La Giara becomes a symbol of the family’s rupture and its eventual reunion, challenging three generations of Minissale women.
In this moving story, long-shattered relations are eventually healed by Nunzio’s grandchildren, who discover that La Giara, their symbolic container of traditions – some broken, some lost, some retained – has endured the cracks and damage caused by the patriarch of their troubled Sicilian family.
La Giara is performed with Patricia Haddad on piano, Orlando Haddad on guitar and percussion, Joe Soprani (accordion), Jim Stager (upright bass), Mark Linkins(mandolin). Video projections, designed by Brendan McGeehan and shadow puppets, by Roni DeFalco, will enhance and bring a visual component to the production.
Quoting one audience attendee at La Giara’s premiere in 2014: – “Words cannot describe how you impressed us with your La Giara, so vividly told with compassion and honesty. Tears came to my eyes and I felt uplifted and put through a wringer at the same time. What a wonderful, great body of creativity. We were immensely impressed and will not forget this incredible evening. What was a real treat for us was the great variety of storytelling through the lyrics and music. Slow and fast paces, classical and jazzy. We loved it as did everyone in the audience”.
Well-known as half of the Brazilian ensemble Minas, Haddad first stepped onstage at age seven to perform in various musical theater productions. After years of singing, acting and dancing, Patricia went on to focus her studies at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts as a voice major and later pursued a masters in Jazz Piano Performance at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Patricia and Brazilian composer Orlando Haddad share a music partnership that has evolved over several decades of performing, writing and recording 7 CDs of original music for Minas.
Saturday April 13, 2019
ONE NIGHT ONLY (Performed Every Two Years)
World Cafe Live, Downstairs
3025 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tickets: $30 plus fees
8:00PM with one intermission
Doors open at 6:30 PM
Books will be available for purchase, $10 only night of show
Groups of 10 or more receive 1 free book per ticket
Full service bar and dinner served a la carte
Parking is free on Saturdays under the Walnut Street Bridge – access via 31st and Chestnut.