Once upon a time there was a princess, and she’s still here. Her name’s Odette, and by the lake at Villa Borghese, dressed in a floaty dress of white feathers, she invites children aged 3 to 8 to flee from the wicked Rothbart’s evil spell. But if you stroll past other memorable places in Rome, you might come across Sleeping Beauty or The Nutcracker. It all began some three years ago with The Magic Flute. The day after the performance, the protagonist of an aria in Mozart’s opera was wandering around Villa Torlonia: this was Isabella Leone’s first performance. With backing from the Calipso cultural association and professional actors Michela Barone, Giulia Faina and Simone Caredda, Isabella’s waking dream took shape in the form of the “Passeggiata fiabesca”. It’s a fun, educational activity that turns fairy tales, song recitals and ballets into ad hoc improvised adaptations, following plot lines previously agreed with the performers. Isabella Leone’s cultural luggage contains three skills areas which she adapts to each occasion. A science degree in the restoration and conservation of cultural heritage, ten years playing the piano, and her passion for acting. “A fairy tale is just a pretext for teaching children about Rome, its history and art and getting them used to opera music”. With Isabella you can see Rome from above, watching from the Orange Garden while Don Quijote, colander on head, fights with trees he’s mistaken for giants; discover St Dominic’s orange tree in Santa Sabina and look through the keyhole of the door to the Villa del Priorato di Malta to see the dome of St Peter’s perfectly framed at the end of the garden. Wondrous experiences that will remain in children’s memories. And adults too.
The story has been written by Maria Teresa Sammarco, writer.
Theatre shows become children’s stories in the park. Isabella Leone’s inventiveness, a pretext for art education.