Damiano Pietropaolo, writer and broadcaster
At the turn of the 12th century, an orphaned child king by the name of Frederick would sneak out from the Royal Palace and venture into the piazzas and markets of Palermo to play with local children. Young Frederick would grow up to be the most feared and revered of Holy Roman Emperors. He was of German and Sicilian stock, and embodied the conflict between the Germanic North and the Mediterranean south: a conflict that still plagues Europe today. History would remember him as a visionary in the transition of the Middle Ages into the modern world. In his own times, he was known as Stupor Mundi: “the Wonder of the World”. The latter is also the name of Damiano Pietropaolo’s latest work: a documentary on the life of Frederick II in the context of an increasingly fragile Europe.
Damiano Pietropaolo is an award winning writer/broadcaster, director, translator, and educator with an extensive background in senior management in the arts. In a career spanning over 30 years with CBC Radio, as documentary and drama producer as well as in management, he has garnered a number of national and international awards for his work, including the B’nai Brith award for human rights programming, three Gabriels as drama director, and World Medals and Silver Medals at the New York Festivals, also as director. His sound poem, A Red Rocket to the Old World, received a special mention at the Prix Italia, Venice, 2006. As head of Radio Arts & Entertainment at CBC Radio, Damiano revitalized literary programming and established partnerships between the public broadcaster and external collaborators such as theatres, publishers and other cultural institutions from across the country, and internationally.
His translations include selections from Italian Renaissance drama and dramatic theory (Sources of Dramatic Theory, Volume 1, Cambridge University Press, 1991); Ugo Betti’s The Queen and the Rebels (Pro Arte Productions, Toronto, 1997); The Fellini Radio Plays, translated and adapted for the stage from radio plays by Federico Fellini (Stratford Festival 2002). His play, Love Letters from the Empty Bed, adapted from Ovid’s Heroides, was presented at the Glenn Morris Studio Theatre and the Canadian Opera Company’s Bradshaw Amphitheatre (2012).
Damiano Pietropaolo also served as artistic consultant for the founding of Luminato, Toronto’s international festival of arts and creativity, and was adjunct professor and associate member at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (2000-2010).
His most recent documentary, The Wonder of the World, was broadcast by CBC Radio’s Ideas (2014). He lectures widely on contemporary fiction and film.
Presented by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Toronto in collaboration with CIMS Toronto.