Sastri, a Neapolitan DOC, is also an actress… a formidable one. She won the Best Actress David di Donatello Award (the Italian Oscars) for her role in Nanni Loy’s Mi manda Picone, and again for Giuseppe Bertolucci’s Segreti segreti; one year she was even nominated for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. She gave a stunning performance in Filumena Marturano which toured Italy for two years with Luca De Filippo, and has played both Electra and Medea. She has also been in countless television dramas including two of Eduardo De Filippo’s plays, starring the great maestro himself, when she was just out of her teens.
This wealth of experience is brought to every song, songs that she grew up with, sung in her native Neapolitan language, often with an underlying melancholic tone even in the sunniest moments. She sings as an actress, and moves with a sensuality which belies her sixty years. The smoky-quality to her voice – literally, she is a dedicated smoker – is both sultry and dangerous. Sastri is a true theatre animal, capable of pulling even the most reluctant spectator into her world, whether she is in Italy or in Japan, as her 2005 disc Live in Japan, demonstrates.
She seduces, but gives the impression that she might just shove you away if you get too close. She is arrogant, she is fun, she is aloof, she is vulnerable, she is unpredictable: a multifaceted performer who dominates the stage, giving her all during her recitals/concerts/cabaret… and her audiences love her.
In a rare visit to Milan, Sastri brings the latest creation that she has written and directed: Linapolina. The title begins and ends with her name, and hiding in the centre is the word ‘Napoli’.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.