An art passed down from father to son.
Salvo is a master puppeteer-maker, a storyteller and voice of the theatre of the Opera dei Pupi. Salvo is first of all a craftsman. From his father he learnt the art of puppet construction. His small laboratory is an epic crowd of swords, Paladins, Saracens, Orlandos and Bradamantes.
We travel as you do to enrich our lives and we know it’s all about local culture, its people and their stories. In these pages we’ll introduce you a few Sicilian and friends who make our experiences memorable encounters.
I grew up in my father’s workshop and the puppets were my toys
My father was the 3rd son of a poor family and my grandmother used to leave him at Puppet Master Francesco Sclafani’s workshop when she went to work. He was 7 years old when watching, and asking and learning he started this craft. And me, I grew up in my father’s workshop and the puppets were my toys. Luciano, my 22years old child and Francesco, 13, work with me in my theatre company.
L’OPERA DEI PUPI
The Sicilian Puppet Theatre dates back to the end of the 18th century and it’s a theatrical representation of epic and French Romantic Poems as The Song of Roland. It was very popular in Sicily and the puppets were taken as symbols of the desire for revenge and justice of low social classes. Their codes of conduct were sense of honor, chivalry, defence of justice and faith, the need to excel etc. 320 episodes per year, one every evening from the birth of Carlo Magno to the death of the Paladins. Each episode 2h30! Then the television came. Today few puppet makers continue this art passed down from father to son.
Step inside Salvatore’s workshop and see how his expert hands give a Sicilian puppet life. He gives them life twice indeed. When he works the wood and metal to shape them and again when he makes the puppets draw their swords, kneel down, and gives them voice with his deep epic voice. A powerful performance you won’t forget!
Shaping the armour for Bradamante and Ruggero 25 days to make a puppet. The puppet maker builds his own tools too as the pinna e martieddu (the pen that hits the hammer)
Salvo and Orlando, a 13-kilos puppet crafted by his father
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