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The Festival di Sanremo has been for about forty years THE Event in Italy. In popularity, I think I cannot be blamed if I say that for some years it's been as popular as the Superbowl in the United States. And I'm not kidding. Usually the Festival took place every year during the last week of February. Now since some years ago it takes place the first week of March, always in Sanremo, a small town in Northwestern Italy. The Festival di Sanremo is a song contest where singers must sing NEW songs in Italian (Italian dialects are also admitted even if it's a rare case). During the competition two winners are declared: a winner for the New Artists contest (where the participants usually are unknown or almost unknown singers) and a winner for the Champions contest (where the participants are famous singers). This Festival has made the history of Italian pop music. So many Italian singers "were born" at the Sanremo Festival: Andrea Bocelli, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti, Nek, Giorgia, Irene Grandi, and so on. Moreover some of the most beautiful Italian songs have been performed there. On the other hand, it's true that during the latest editions the Festival has lost something in popularity and in the way of supporting new artists. But this does not cancel what the Festival has done for a lot of years. This is the story, then if you want to believe a Swiss, it's your choice.
The Italian entry at the Eurovision Song Contest is usually sung by the
winner of "Festival della Canzone Italiana" (Italian song Contest) also
know as "Festival di Sanremo" (Sanremo's Festival). This contest is
considered to be the "father" of the E.S.C. and in the past has had
among its entrants some Italian Music important names, well known all
over Europe, such as Umberto Tozzi (1987, 1991), Laura Pausini
(1993-94), Eros Ramazzotti (1984-86) and Zucchero (1982-83, 1984-85).
The final (broadcast to many European countries) is generally watched
by about 20 million people in Italy.
Italy has won Eurovision twice thanks to Gigliola Cinquetti who sang "Non ho l'età " (1964) and Toto Cutugno who sang "Insieme 1992" (Together 1992) - in 1990. For the past two years Italy hasn't entered Eurovision and so far there isn't any news about the 1996 Competition. Actually, the E.S.C. is not well known in Italy, and RAI - the Public Television Broadcasting Corporation- usually only broadcasts it late in the evening.
The 46th Festival della Canzone Italiana will take place in Sanremo (Riviera Ligure) from the 20th to 24th February and will be broadcast live on RAIUNO (EUTELSAT "HOT BIRD 1" EST - 11.366 V) every day at about 20.30 CET (after the news). Pippo Baudo will be the presenter, together with Valeria Mazza and Sabrina Ferilli. The songs will be performed live accompanied by a full orchestra, each entrant with a nominated conductor. Foreign guests will be Tina Turner, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Take That, East 17, Bon Jovi, Blur, Enya, Cher, Pat Metheny, Simply Red and Bruce Springsteen.
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