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Italy bows list of New Year’s honorees

Cultural awards tap Morricone, Monicelli, Garinei, Ronconi

ROME — Oscar-nominated composer Ennio Morricone, octogenarian film director Mario Monicelli and veteran legit helmers Pietro Garinei and Luca Ronconi are among the arts figures singled out for recognition in the Italian Ministry for Culture’s New Year’s honors list.

The names of recipients of the Benemeriti della Cultura award for 2000 were announced Monday. The awards, which honor those who contribute to the promotion of Italian culture both nationally and abroad, will be presented during National Cultural Week next spring.

‘Heaven’ sent

A Golden Globe nominee this year for his score for Giuseppe Tornatore’s “The Legend of 1900,” Morricone received Academy Award nominations for his work on “Days of Heaven,” “The Mission,” “The Untouchables” and “Bugsy.” Most recently, he composed the score for Ricky Tognazzi’s forthcoming thriller, “Canone Inverso.”

Monicelli is considered the father of the commedia all’italiana. His best-known films include “Cops and Robbers,” “Big Deal on Madonna Street,” “The Great War” and “Girl With a Gun.” His latest feature was the 1999 comedy “Dirty Linen.”

Tuner topper

Together with his late partner Sandro Giovannini, theatrical impresario Pietro Garinei has been responsible for popularizing stage musicals with Italian audiences since the 1950s. This season, he transformed “Mrs. Doubtfire” into a hit musical named “Thank Goodness for Maria”; he is currently staging a return engagement of the sold-out revival production of “Rugantino,” a 1962 musical set in 18th century Rome.

One of Italy’s most distinguished legit directors, Ronconi has worked successfully in both modern and classical theater, staging acclaimed productions of works by Pirandello, Goldoni, Pasolini, Shakespeare, Shaw, Ibsen, Strindberg and O’Neill, among countless others. He is also a renowned opera director.

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