«Hugo Pratt? He is the most fascinating man I have ever met, a great story teller, full of imagination and tales, a little like Borges».
Ornella Vanoni speaks of her Pratt secret, on the occasion of the exhibition dedicated to the designer which has recently closed in Città di Castello, where displayed – among other works – were some designs from his private collection.
Ornella Vanoni, you maintained an intense intellectual and sympathetic relationship with Pratt: what is your personal memory? Did you find the area reserved for the watercolors that he dedicated to you adequate?
«Yes, for that matter the set-up of this beautiful show has given it the importance it should have».
You have collaborated with many musicians among the greatest in the world: is there someone with whom you would still like to work together?
«There are so many, but by now I will do only one other disc which will be my last and as for the rest, what has been done is done. Also because, in the meantime, everything has changed. Herbie Hancock is not the jazz musician he once was and it is not a coincidence that he plays at the Scala theatre directed by Lang Lang».
So, who are your next musical partners going to be?
«I will make a disc with Paolo Fresu, the best trumpet in Italy and one of the most important in the world, and with other musicians of sure talent like Roberto Cipelli (piano), Bebo Ferri (guitar), Piero Salvatori (cello), then I will make something with Saturnino, bass player for Jovanotti who I have been able to appreciate live and I consider to be a great rock musician: he feels the rhythms so much and with the cello he creates a perfect fusion».
Your raffish «Io sì» made the closed-minded Italy of that time jump…
«I sang the female songs like a man, and at that time it was incomprehensible that a woman could declare being in love just because she had nothing to do: I broke the mold. Caterina Caselli is right when she says that I, though adored by men, make songs for women as a woman who is never dominated».
On your rivalry with Mina, everything and more has been written about it: was this stretching things on the part of the media in an ever-divided country as it was for Coppi and Bartali?
«Maybe not exactly friends, even though there was a time when we would get together; we mutually esteem one another, we have never been enemies. Speaking of Coppi and Bartali: who was the one holding the cup out to whom in that famous photo? In my opinion it was Bartali who passed it to the super champion? ».
You conquered the Paris Olympics singing a strong suit by Edith Piaf, «Les amants d’un jour»: don’t you believe that the French know how to take advantage of the value of every one of their cultural points better, even speaking of contemporary music?
«If I were in France I would still be working like a madman: Italy is chauvinist and women, considered erotic objects, struggle more and more to impose themselves».
The most suggestive sensation from your visit to the Tiber Valley?
«I have never seen a Jesus whose face was so severe and judging as the one by Piero della Francesca at the Civic Museum in Sansepolcro: it is really true that Piero was a revolutionary artist».