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Rita Charbonnier ::: Biography

This is an informal biography. You can download more specific information from the page For Press.

I’m Italian. I was born in Vicenza, in the north of the country, and I live in Rome. I started to read when I was four years old and at the age of five I received my first copy of Pinocchio as a present; at eight I used a type-writer to produce a little local newspaper for the area, or rather for our block, that I found the courage to sell and that a few people even found the courage to buy. I also played the piano from a very young age, using a faultless technique that you can admire in the photo.

After high school I went to drama school in Syracuse, in Sicily. In fact, when I went for the admission interview, I didn’t want to be an actress; I was actually thinking of being a playwright or director. However, someone told me that performing on stage for a short period would be a useful thing for me to do. The short period lasted nearly fifteen years.

Con Nino Manfredi in Parole d’amore… paroleI worked with various prestigious Italian theatre companies; acting and singing on the stage, and on occasions I also played the piano. I had an important role in a musical with Nino Manfredi, one of the most prominent actors in the “commedia all’italiana” film genre (photo on the left, by Tommaso Le Pera). I also took part in various comedy television programmes.

I then went to New York for a few months, where I followed courses at the HB Studio and featured in a musical at the NYU. In the photo below (click to enlarge) I am on the right dressed in black.

But I didn’t like being on tour. As there are no fixed theatre companies in Italy, the only way to act in the theatre is to be constantly on the move, sometimes in a new city every day. However, above all, I had begun to live with the uncomfortable feeling that my artistic life lacked something important. So I started to stick a laptop into my suitcase (it was the 90’s, when laptops were more like tabletops) and I began to jot down my thoughts, wherever I found myself, and to cherish vague plans of writing.

I started working for a theatre review. The first article I wrote was about women directors, playwrights and composers: did they have to struggle more than men to make themselves heard? And why? It was then that I first wanted to tell the story of Nannerl, Mozart’s sister. I only knew that she had been a child prodigy, like him, and that at a certain point she sank into oblivion.

That was 1996. Ten years later, my novel Mozart’s Sister was published in Europe, Canada and America.

 

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