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Sicilian splendour - an evening of events celebrating the culture of Sicily at the British Museum

Exhibition preview

ON July 22, 2016, the British Museum is hosting Sicilian Splendour, an evening of events celebrating the culture of Sicily, past and present through music, drama, workshops and poetry performances.

These events are inspired by the current British Museum exhibition, Sicily: culture and conquest, sponsored by Julius Baer and open until August 14.

The exhibition is the first major show in the UK to explore over 4000 years of history on the island of Sicily. It focuses on what made both the Greek and the Norman periods so successful by displaying the astonishingly rich material culture of those eras and exploring the stories that these objects tell.

As part of Sicilian Splendour, the British Museum is hosting an event in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute. Luca Zingaretti, well known for his role as Inspector Montalbano, will perform La Sirena. This performance at the British Museum and another at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, to coincide with the Ashmolean’s exhibition, Storms, War and Shipwrecks, are Luca Zingaretti’s first live performances in the United Kingdom. The performance is free but booking is essential and available here.


Music performance by Le Tre Sorelle (The Three Sisters) – 6pm to 7pm and 7.30 pm to 8.30pm, Great Court.

Enjoy a Sicilian repertoire of live music by this all-female Southern Italian trio, including ancient chants and devotional songs, as well waltzes, lullabies and tarantellas, all accompanied by traditional instruments and narration.

Sicilian Opera dei Pupi – 6.10pm to 6.30pm, 7.10pm to 7.30pm and 8pm to 8.20pm, Room 18b.

Be delighted and inspired by this special puppet theatre show by expert puppeteer Cesare Maschi of Bus King Theatre Company, and student of the acclaimed master of Sicilian puppetry, Mimmo Cuticchio.

Infiorata flower carpet workshop – 6pm to 8.30pm, Great Court.

Take part in creating a traditional Sicilian-inspired flower carpet mosaic with artist Anna Saunders.

Myths of an island: Sicily and the Aeneid – 6.35pm to 6.55pm and 7.35pm to 7.55pm, Room 17.

Discover Aeneas’ wanderings through Sicily in an imaginative retelling of an ancient story, conveyed through performance art by NMT Automatics.

Live poetry by Gabriele Tinti – 6pm to 6.30pm and 7pm to 7.30pm, Room 17.

Hear poetry inspired by the diverse culture, history and mythology of Sicily by renowned Italian poet Gabriele Tinti and performed by actor Anatol Yusef.

Storytelling: Demeter and Persephone – 6pm to 6.30pm and 7.30pm to 8pm, Room 22.

Discover the myth of Demeter and Persephone in this special storytelling performance for audiences of all ages by Xanthe Gresham-Knight of the Crick Crack Club.

Luca Zingaretti performs La Sirena – 7.30pm to 8.30pm, BP Lecture Theatre.

Enjoy a special performance by actor Luca Zingaretti (Il commissario Montalbano/Inspector Montalbano) based on the book Lighea by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Presented in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, London.

Free, but booking is essential. Limited tickets available from 5.30pm from the BP Lecture Theatre on the evening.

Food and drink

A Sicilian-themed menu of food and drink will be available to buy in the Great Court to complement the evening, as well as a special sommelier-led Sicilian wine tasting.

The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG