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Italian Cultural Center and Istituto di Cultura Italiano of Chicago Present

Istituto di Cultura Italiano of Chicago

Meet Puppet Master Mimmo Cuticchio: Talk and Puppet Demonstration

October 27, 2018

In conjunction with performances of The Great Duel Between Orlando And Rinaldo for The Beautiful Angelica’s Sake, OPERA DEI PUPI, SICILIAN PUPPET THEATER at Illusion Theater

Italian Puppet Master Mimmo Cuticchio will interact with the audience and reveal the secrets of the performances and share the technical and practical knowledge of puppetry. Curated by Francesca Bortoletti, Associate Researcher at the University of Minnesota.



Italian “puparo” (puppeteer), hailing from Palermo, Sicily, Mimmo Cuticchio is the most important figure in the preservation and renewal of the tradition of the Opera dei Pupi in Italy. Described as one of the last true heirs of the Sicilian theatrical tradition of the Opera dei Pupi, Cuticchio is known in all the world for his extraordinary intuition for quality sound and extreme attention to detail. 

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Mimmo comes from a family of distinguished puppeteers. His father, Giacomo Cuticchio, opened his first theatre in Palermo and became a puppeteer in 1943. Mimmo learned the traditional style of puppeteering as a young boy working at his father's side, but by the time he had grown up, he chafed at the idea of doing the same show every evening, as his father refused him space for innovation, so he apprenticed to a puppet maker and learned to make his own theater. Over the years he maintained the tradition of the puppet theater, renewing it with continuous creative additions and enhancing it through artistic experimentation. 

In 1973, Mimmo opened the Teatro dei Pupi Santa Rosalia in Palermo and he is now passing on the tradition to his son, Giacomo. In 1977 Mimmo Cuticchio founded the Associazione Figli d’Arte Cuticchio, with the intention of safeguarding and handing down the artistic tradition of the Opera dei Pupi, and in 1997 he opened his workshop and the first School for Pupari e Cuntisti (puppeteers and story tellers) in order to ensure the future for the Opera dei Pupi and Cunto. 

Mimmo Cuticchio is not only a storyteller and puppeteer, but also an actor and a theatre director. He appeared in the film The Godfather Part III, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and he is one of the main characters in the documentary film Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy, written by John Turturro and Roman Paska, in which Turturro led his audience in an intimate journey to his maternal homeland of Sicily. 

The Great Duel Between Orlando And Rinaldo for The Beautiful Angelica’s Sake

Performance at Illusion Theater with live music
Saturday, October 27th, 7:30 PM
More info and reservations

A captivating entertainment for all ages, the Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis/St. Paul (ICC) presents The Great Duel Between Orlando and Rinaldo for the Beautiful Angelica’s Sake by the Italian theatre company Associazione Figli d’Arte Cuticchio in the Twin Cities. This is a rare opportunity to see a performance of the Sicilian Opera dei Pupi, led by master puppeteer Mimmo Cuticchio, one of the last heirs of this theater form, outside of Italy. An understanding of the Italian language is not required to enjoy this amazing show WITH LIVE MUSIC.

Matinée for the schools with recorded music at Illusion Theater  
October 24 and 25, 10am
Free for schools. Also open to the general public. Donations will benefit the Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis / St. Paul and the Illusion Theater. Reservations online at or by phone at 612-339-4944.

Talk I Figli d’Arte Cuticchio, Tradition and Innovation in Contemporary Sicilian Puppet Theater by Michael Wyatt (Stanford University) Center for Early Modern History, University of Minnesota
October 26, 12:15pm. Free event. 
Michael Wyatt, leading specialist of Italian early modern literature at Stanford, will introduce the audience to the discovery of the magical world of Opera dei Pupi and the uniqueness of Cuticchio’s theater. 

This event is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Italy, the French and Italian Department of the University of Minnesota. 

FREE — Reservations recommended.

9:30am: Refreshments
10 - 11am: Talk and demonstration

Contact Open Eye at or 612-874-6338 for accessibility information, including ASL reservation.

Please be aware that ongoing construction on 35W and surrounding streets and bridges will affect your route to Open Eye. Please allow extra time getting to the theatre. We recommend using map apps to navigate to the theatre, following posted detour signs, and consulting MNDOT for current projects at