Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 10, 1444 H
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Building bridges between Western, Arabic cultures


An Italian art couple with exemplary theatrical background and a passion for travelling are making it big in Oman. They have a special love for the Arab world and its traditions, having cultivated their own ways to donate joy to others through dancing and playing with culture.

Dr Luca Moretti and Lucia Oliva, the loving art couple who have made Opera and theatre meet contemporary art in Oman through many events. Both help connect theatre and Renaissance art all over the Arabian Gulf. Through their theatrical career they have exported Italian classical traditions. Due credit must go to the couple who proudly brought such invaluable painting of Renaissance Italian Masters like Tiziano, Tintoretto and others to the Gulf.

Ludica Antiqua, an event company, which they created performed on many occasions in the Middle East and the Gulf since 2001. The company helps cooperate with theatres and groups around the world and focuses on creating bridges among different cultures.

The first event was the opening of Lucia’s solo exhibition at Bait Al Zubair Museum in 2017, when they built a special dance choreography and performed the music of La Traviata in traditional clothes. The Muscat Design Festival in 2018 saw them as protagonists, when they brought their artistic spirit to involve students of the Scientific College of Design in a peculiar art workshop that ended with a funny group musical game on the notes of a super famous opera aria.

They organised original ‘Opera style’ shows last November at Bait Al Zubair Museum, with a ‘unique musical fairytale scene’, including waltzes, polkas and other dances of the 19th century. Their historical costume themed choreography and dancing which they created and performed was highly appreciated.

The period costume events are always story or legends inspired and themed which many times took inspiration from ‘One Thousand and One Nights’. On other occasions, they created plots starting from real episodes and stories which were themed on imaginary fantastic journey through times and places, aiming to build bridges between Western and Arabic cultures.

The reaction of the audience was so enthusiastic that many projects planned earlier this year had to be put off due to COVID-19. They had scheduled period dance classes workshops at Bait Al Zubair, shows at the exhibition centre on the occasion of congresses and events. Now, all events have been rescheduled for next year.

Lucia, a renowned international fine artist, is also a professor of criminal law who used to teach at University of Genoa (UniGe). She graduated with ‘magna cum laude’ as the best student of her course. At the age of 18 she won an important drawing contest, prevailing on many renowned and professional cartoonists, and the following year she was commissioned to create her winning character of the contest in a 3D huge solid shape to be brought on parade during Carnival celebrations and then to publish a book for children.

At University she met her ‘Prince Charming’ and future husband Luca Moretti, brilliant lawyer at the beginning of his career. He too had a passion for dancing, history and creating social events. During holiday in Venice in 2001 at Carnival season and dreaming to dance at candlelit in a noble mansion like in fairy tales, they found themselves invited by chance to one of those exclusive parties at Palazzo delle Prigioni, one of the most beautiful stately homes in San Marco Square.


“The atmosphere was so romantic that you could not understand whether that was fairytale or reality,” recollects Luca. The launching of Ludica Antiqua involved many other professional artists from musicians, opera singers, actors and dancers and not only charming grand balls in Venice were a usual appointment but Italy, Europe and the entire world became their stage.

Among the top professional artists involved in Ludica Antiqua's events, just to name a few, maestro Francesco Gardella (Orchestra conductor), Tiziana Ducati (Soprano), Pippo Veneziano (Tenor), Davide Piaggio (Tenor), Carlo Truzzi (Shadow artist), Giovanni Anchisi Magicus (Magician) and others. Their first performance in the Gulf was at the inauguration of Mercato Shopping Mall in Dubai. Later, shows in Qatar, Jordan and Bahrain saw their company protagonist of many prestigious events.

The climax was the yearly Italian Festivals of Culture in Bahrain which included a series of themed events, such as the Italian Grand ball, historical lectures and dance workshops.

Stories about their art life on the environmentally friendly island of Alicudi north of Sicily (Unesco heritage), was chosen by them and other international artists to experiment a sustainable lifestyle. Here Lucia has her art studio. On this special sustainable lifestyle island many other artists from different countries chose to live and work.

The couple have duplicated Alicudi Island here in Qantab village where they have been resident since September last and named their home as ‘LuLu’ from their first names. “As far as all the ordinary and normal season is concerned, nothing has been scheduled due to COVID-19, not only for them but for all theatre companies and we hope Corona will soon be defeated,” they conclude.


Liju Cherian @cherianmathiker







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