Singer and actress Chiara De Palo was born in Florence, but moved to Livorno with her family in 1986. She studied singing at the prestigious Fiesole Music School from the age of 5, and later studied theatre, training as a physical theatre performer.
For the last ten years Chiara has lived in London where she has found a highly stimulating environment for her work as an actress. She admits that when she went there initially for a short stay with a friend, she already knew that she was unlikely to return to Italy. And she hasn't looked back since.
Chiara has had many varied roles over the past ten years, including that of Billy Holiday in the musical by Stefano Benni, Misterioso, about the life of Thelonius Monk, at the Camden People's Theatre (2006), a one-woman performance at the Edinburgh Festival of The Voice of Things ('Le Parti Pris des Choses') by French poet Francis Ponge (2007), and recently a role (as Mephistopheles' assistant) in the acclaimed Terry Gilliam production of Berlioz' The Damnation of Faust at the English National Opera (2011), a production which also toured in Belgium and Sicily. She also played the Courtesan in another English National Opera production by a film director - Lucrezia Borgia by Mike Figgis (2011), and she has worked with Italian writer Dacia Maraini, and played the main role in Marco Paolini's U238
Talking about her experience with Terry Gilliam, she remembers how surprised she was at how friendly and informal he was to work with.
Although London is a huge city where competition for actors and performers is fierce, Chiara feels there are more opportunities, and that talented people receive the attention they deserve.
Curiously, despite her move away from Italy, she often finds that she is working with fellow Livornese actors and musicians, or in Livorno itself, as for her performance in February with the Andrea Colli Trio at the Teatro Goldoni, and a forthcoming concert on 31st March 2014 at the Mascagni music school.
I asked her what she misses about Livorno? Well, really not very much, except for the Italian climate and that glorious Livornese light...