Home / Author Archives: Briana Palma

Author Archives: Briana Palma

Briana Palma is a writer and editor who splits her time between Boston and Dublin, Ireland. Her work focuses on travel, art and lifestyle, and as an Italian-American, she especially enjoys writing about all things Italy. Briana's work has appeared in a number of print and digital publications, including Italy Magazine, the Sunday Business Post Magazine, Outsider and U.S. Airways. For more information, visit www.brianapalma.com.

Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’ opera classic re-imagined at Boston Lyric Opera


Giuseppe Verdi’s “La traviata” is one of the most performed operas in the world, yet it hasn’t appeared on a Boston Lyric Opera stage for more than a decade. That is, until this October, when the renowned company will stage a production of the classic work, interpreted by some of the country’s rising stars of opera. Five performances will take place from October 10 to 19 at the Shubert Theatre, which will be transformed into the world of Violetta, a French courtesan who risks everything for true love. Not only will patrons enjoy one of the greatest operas of all ...

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‘Sax Doctor’ Emilio Lyons

Emilio Lyons repairing a saxophone (photo courtesy fetch.com)

Day in and day out, for 55 years, he could be found at Rayburn Musical Instrument Store, just steps from Symphony Hall. There, at his workbench, Emilio Lyons spent his time repairing saxophones and clarinets for everyone from unknown students to the world’s biggest stars. Somewhere along the way, his careful, meticulous work even earned him the moniker ‘The Sax Doctor’ and a Lifetime Achievement Award from DownBeat Magazine. Still, when Emilio, now 79, arrived in the United States as a 17-year-old immigrant from the small town of Castelcivita in Salerno, he could have hardly imagined the path that lay ...

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Radio broadcaster Ron Della Chiesa


For decades, people in the Boston area and beyond have welcomed Ron Della Chiesa into their homes — every Saturday at 8 p.m. to be exact. That’s when they turn their radios — and now, their Internet browsers — to 99.5, to listen in as he broadcasts live from Symphony Hall, transmitting the “electric” atmosphere inside the building through radio waves and out to the world. “I try to bring the enthusiasm of a sporting event into what I do on the radio,” he says, adding that a great performance by the Symphony Orchestra or Pops is, for him, much ...

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Under the Tuscan Sun with Frances Mayes


Frances Mayes is best known for her memoirs about life as an expatriate in Tuscany, including, of course, Under the Tuscan Sun, the wildly popular book that tells her story of buying and renovating an abandoned villa in the town of Cortona. After publishing six more books about Italy, among other work, Mayes is back with Under Magnolia, a new autobiography about her childhood in the American South. We caught up with her to talk about her love for Tuscany, her newest book and why she’s recently ventured into the world of wine. Of all the regions in Italy, why ...

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Abstract artist Ellen Rolli


Ellen Rolli and her husband had just returned from a two-week vacation in Italy, where they split their time between the cities of Florence and Venice. It wasn't intended as a work trip for Rolli, who is a painter, but when she returned to her South End studio, it just happened – images of Italy appeared on her canvases.

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Renée Ricciardi: Capturing Italy’s beekeeping community


Last August, Renée Ricciardi bought a one-way ticket to Italy, packed a suitcase and her camera gear, and traveled across the Atlantic with one goal in mind: photographing bees. For most people, it would be an odd reason to visit Italy, but for Ricciardi, it fit perfectly. The project united her photography studies – she graduated from Massachusetts College of Art just a few months prior – with her beekeeping hobby and love for Italy. The idea to undertake such work came together organically over the period of a couple years. In 2011, just as Ricciardi started beekeeping in her ...

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Hitting the Right Note: Federico Cortese on his 15 years with the BYSO

Federico Cortese conducting Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras in October 2012 at Symphony Hall. Photo by Michael J. Lutch

Over the last 15 years, under the leadership of Federico Cortese, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra has grown tremendously. The list of accomplishments includes new ensembles, record numbers of applicants, a community outreach program, overseas tours and exciting partnerships. For Cortese, though, it’s all just part of the job. “I can talk for a long time of all the things that we have created and improved and strengthened — but I think that that’s what one needs to do,” he says, humbly. “I’m happy because we have all worked very hard and the institution has grown, as an institution is ...

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Boston Ballet’s Petra Conti and Eris Nezha


The couple moved to Boston in November, leaving the ballet company of Milan's famous Teatro alla Scala to join Boston Ballet as principal dancers.

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Through a daughter’s eyes: A conversation with Marina Viola

Marina Viola (photo courtesy daringtodo.com

“I don’t even consider myself a writer,” Marina Viola told me over the phone in November, just weeks before she set off to Italy for another round of speaking engagements to promote her book, “Mio padre è stato anche Beppe Viola.” Despite her humble attitude, there’s no denying that Marina has earned her writer’s badge, at least in my mind. After all, she spent two years working on her memoir at home in Cambridge, finding time to write whenever she wasn’t occupied with her duties as a full-time mom of three, including caring for her eldest son, who has autism ...

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Folk artist Ralph Fasanella returns to Lawrence


During his career as a painter, Ralph Fasanella (1914-1997) was fascinated by the struggle the working class endured both before his time and during his life. For three years in the 1970s, Fasanella lived in Lawrence while he transformed huge canvases into colorful scenes of the city’s industrial past. Now for the first time, eight of these works have been gathered from around the East Coast for the special exhibition, “Fasanella’s Lawrence,” which is on display at Lawrence Heritage State Park Gallery through Dec. 16. The paintings are some of the most significant in the history of the American labor ...

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Milan’s marionette theater comes to Boston


Marionette theater has thrived in and around the capital of Lombardy for nearly 200 years, in no small part due to the renowned company Carlo Colla & Figli. Now, audiences in Boston will be able to experience this great Italian tradition when the company brings “Sleeping Beauty” to the Paramount Center from Nov. 13 to 17 as part of the Year of Italian Culture in the United States. Led by Eugenio Monti Colla — the latest in a long line of Collas to work in marionette theater — the production filters the fairytale through the Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, which was ...

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The Art of Food and Drink at The International Poster Gallery


Italian food and drink is often on display along Newbury Street, but starting October 1 you’ll be able to see it in a new light. The International Poster Gallery is hosting an exhibition dedicated to cuisine that is entitled Posters a la Carte: The Art of Food and Drink, on display through November 22. The new exhibit presents the development of the food and drink industry through posters, covering the period from the Belle Époque to the 1960s and including iconic brands from around the globe, including the likes of Barilla and Campari. For gallery owner Jim Lapides, the decision ...

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