Now that that most bafflingly Italian of bad habits, the pop music festival that yearly takes mercilessly place in Sanremo, an otherwise normal town a few miles from the French border on the Liguria coast, is over, we're happy to report that a nice smattering of classical music was indeed present, among all the bad Italian pop.
First of all, the emcee for the 5 (yes, five) nights of TV marathon, was Katia Ricciarelli's ex hubby, oldie TV guy Pippo Baudo (the one who kicked some loggionista a$$ once upon a time at la Scala, when his wife was roundly booed -- too bad Angela Gheorghiu wasn't there for Roberto Alagna when it was his turn to taste the loggione's bitter medicine). Then, among the various lam3rs in the "jury", we spotted Eleonora Abbagnato, prima ballerina of Paris Opera, a luminous presence among the trashiest of teh trashy.
And, to make matters worse, last night a band of musicians/comedians, a sort of Weird Al Yankovic outfit, only not as funny (wouldn't take much, really), appeared on stage and played a rock version (that sounded essentially like a MIDI) of Largo Al Factotum.
Speaking of foreign bodies (literally) appearing in the middle of Sanremo's kitschy heart, Ben Harper -- who's married to that great-actress-who-also-looks-like-a-banana, Laura Dern, creating a couple that is almost unprecedented in modern times for its coolness -- was in Sanremo, too. He gave an example of what Henri Duparc might have written, had he been a bluesman married to a Hollywood Queen of the Indies.