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|The Sicilian marionette theater Opera dei Pupi|
|Region||Europe and North America|
The Opera dei Pupi (Opera of the Puppets; Sicilian: Òpira rî pupi) is a marionette theatrical representation of Frankish romantic poems such as The Song of Roland or Orlando furioso that is one of the characteristic cultural traditions of Sicily. The sides of donkey carts are decorated with intricate, painted scenes; these same tales are enacted in traditional puppet theaters featuring hand-made marionettes of wood.
The opera of the puppets and the Sicilian tradition of cantastorîas (singers of tales) are rooted in the Provençal troubadour tradition in Sicily during the reign of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the first half of the 13th century. A great place to see this marionette art is the puppet theatres of Palermo, Sicily.
Today, there are only a few troupes that maintain the tradition. They often perform for tourists. However, there are no longer the great historical families of marionnettists, such as the Greco of Palermo; the Canino of Cinisi and Alcamo; Crimi, Trombetta and Napoli of Catania, Pennisi and Macri of Acireale, Profeta of Licata, Gargano and Grasso of Agrigento.
Anyway, you can admire the richest collection of marionettes at the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette Antonio Pasqualino, and at the Museo Etnografico Siciliano Giuseppe Pitrè in Palermo. Other beautiful marionettes are on display at the Museo Civico Vagliasindi in Randazzo. The Center for Puppetry Arts, in Atlanta GA, also has a display of marionettes in this style.
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