Dame Vera Lynn peacefully passed away at her home in Sussex on June 18th 2020 surrounded by close family aged 103. She had remembered this year in May, just before the 75th anniversary of VE Day “the brave boys and what they sacrificed for us. They left their families and homes to fight for our freedom and many lost their lives trying to protect us and our liberties”. During her last interview, Dame Vera described her bond with the Allied troops who gave or risked their lives for their country – with her own war effort making her name as enduring as that of Sir Winston Churchill.
Celebrities and politicians lined up to pay tribute to Dame Vera, a humanitarian and beloved entertainer.
Dame Vera Lynn was one of the greatest ever British popular singers, not just because of her immaculate voice, warm, sincere, instantly recognisable and musically flawless. She will be remembered just as affectionately for her vital work in the Second World War and for her own Charitable Foundations in the 75 years since. A link with more certain times has been irrevocably broken.’ Said author and lyricist Sir Tim Rice. Born in east London on March 20th, 1917 Vera Lynn became known as the “forces’ sweetheart” during WWII, often performing at high personal risk for troops around the world including India, Egypt and Burma, and with songs that gave them hope that they would see home again.
Vera Lynn remained mostly in London until 1944 but then she made her famous tour of Burma to entertain the troops. She was stirred into action in her twenties, when she learned that few entertainers went to Burma, where the men of the Fourteenth had called themselves the Forgotten Army. Her four-month tour began in a Sunderland flying boat. She was then transferred to smaller aircrafts until arriving on the road from Rangoon to Mandalay in an old battered car.
Describing the experience later, she said it was ‘the trip of a lifetime’ and the smell that continued to haunt her most was the gangrene pervading the field hospitals where she spent hours talking with soldiers.
During that time she flew 25,000 miles and through her songs and talking to them about home she persuaded them that they were not forgotten. Vera Lynn was awarded the Burma Star in 1985 in honour of her contribution.
From year 1935 she was singing on radio with the famous Joe Loss Band. By 1937 she started to sing with the Ambrose Orchestra, which played in West End nightclubs including the Cafe Royal and the Mayfair, remaining until 1940.
At the outbreak of war she was just 21 years old and her career was just starting to bloom having already appeared on early, experimental television with the Ambrose Orchestra as well as producing regular broadcasts by radio.
Many years later she recounted that at that time on the outbreak of war one of her first thoughts was, ‘There goes entertainment – and my career with it’. It seemed to me then that entertainment would be the last thing people were going to worry about once the bombs started falling, but it turned out not to be the case at all.
In 1940 Vera Lynn went solo. The following year she married Harry Lewis, a clarinet and saxophone player who also became her manager. Vera Lynn had already been awarded the title “Forces Sweetheart” in 1939. The competition included Judy Garland, Dinah Shore and Deanna Durbin who were all from the United States.
Vera Lynn was the overwhelming choice, helped by her new but catchy and sentimental song she had begun singing that year, We’ll Meet Again.
By November 1941 she was given her own regular radio programme, Sincerely Yours, which was broadcast after the Sunday evening nine o’clock news, a peak time which had much of the world listening in case the Prime Minister made an announcement.
She took over one of the largest and most intent audiences, jesting in an interview in later years: ‘Churchill was my opening act.’
The popularity of this music and words programme and her own standing soared, when thousands of servicemen wrote song requests to her. However, that popularity came at a surprising low point in the war when MPs and BBC governors attacked her programme and others like it as having a bad effect on “morale”.
A month after Sincerely Yours was launched, the BBC board of governors read: ‘Sincerely Yours deplored. But popularity noted.’ MPs had also complained about the BBC’s musical output of ‘sentimental, sloppy muck’. Without mentioning Dame Vera, the BBC introduced a new policy eliminating ‘crooning, sentimental numbers, drivelling words, slush and so on’. Sincerely Yours was taken off the air and a new programme featuring a military band, male voice choir and an unknown tenor replaced it, but lasted only a few weeks sinking into oblivion. By early 1943 Dame Vera was back again. People came to know her songs like well-loved hymns, including We’ll Meet Again, I’ll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings.
She was quoted as saying: ‘My songs reminded the boys of what they were really fighting for, precious personal things, rather than ideologies and theories.
She retired from the stage and microphone to bring up her daughter Virginia at their home in Sussex when the war was over. But, with a vast following across the world she was soon back at work with her own television show in the 1950’s as well as back to radio broadcasts. She placed the first British record to top the US hit parade, selling more than 12 million copies to then tour throughout the world, to the US, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Her work did not end when the war was over – throughout her life, she remained an outspoken supporter of military veterans.
She said: ‘I have never been terribly ambitious. I never wanted to be a Judy Garland or anything, and I wouldn’t change the way I used to sing. If work came along I liked, I would do it. If it interfered with home life for too long or took me away, I wouldn’t.
Even though Vera Lynn was quite modest, she continued to receive honours including a DBE in 1975, following an OBE in 1969, Show Business Personality of 1975, the Freedom of the City of London in 1978 and the Variety Club International’s Humanitarian Award in 1985. In 2016 she was ‘surprisingly honoured’ to be made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to entertainment and charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Together with 14 gold discs she published her autobiography Vocal Refrain in 1975 and a picture book called We’ll Meet Again in 1991. Vera Lynn was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the age of 101 by the 2018 Classic Brit Awards, which her daughter Virginia collected on her behalf. A statement from Dame Vera was read at the ceremony.
It said: ‘I never imagined when a small child growing up in East Ham that I would be able to travel around the world as I have done, and seen and experienced so many interesting places and to meet so many interesting people.’
In June 2019, she marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day by recording a voice message which was played to a Royal British Legion cruise organised to commemorate the occasion. She told the 250 heroes on board: ‘Hello boys, Vera Lynn here. I wish you and your carers a memorable trip to Normandy. It will be nostalgic and sure to bring back lots of memories. Rest assured we will never forget all you did for us. I’m sending you all my best wishes for the trip.
Queen Elizabeth II recently referred to one of Dame Vera’s wartime songs during her rare TV speech as she told Britain – with its 66 million people separated from family and friends during the coronavirus pandemic “We will meet again”. This song became a lockdown anthem as it once again entered the singles charts with profits going to the NHS charity and poignantly she performed the song virtually just six weeks ago. The veteran singer was beamed as a hologram to stand next to Katherine Jenkins at an empty Royal Albert Hall to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to score a top 40 album in the UK charts last May.
Her songs inspired a spirit of optimism and she spent her career fostering nostalgia which, during the war, was just what people felt they needed. More recently, her words became a source of comfort to many during the coronavirus pandemic.
Singer Katherine Jenkins commented “It was she who chose the sentiments of her songs – she knew instinctively what people needed to hear, how to rally the morale and her spirit and strength created the soundtrack of a generation. Her voice brought comfort to millions in their darkest hours, her songs filled the nation’s hearts with hope, and her emotive performances, whether home or abroad, then or now, helped to get us through. “There will never be another Dame Vera Lynn. Forces’ Sweetheart and our sweetheart. An icon. A legend. An inspiration. My mentor and my friend. I will miss you greatly and I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.

Source ©My Country magazine – July 2020 (pages 6-7)

The magnificent Museum Real Bosco e Museo di Capodimonte opened June 9th with an informative Press Conference presented by the Director Sylvain Bellenger and attended by the My Country team. He welcomed the press outdoors within one of the sites courtyards and everyone wore masks. During the recent months of forced closure, the Museum continued working to produce various conferences online and the Farnese Collection has been reconstructed including a new lighting system. The Director Bellenger, together with Staff and various associations clearly expressed total passion and energy regarding the reopening presenting a promising array of future programmes.

The association Amici di Capodimonte Onlus presented the theatrical programme Il Teatro dei Burattini – of puppet shows (not only for children!) held within the Park Real Bosco – zona Belvedere – scheduled through June and on Saturdays 4th and 11th of July at 11.30 pm and 12.30 pm. Events are without charge but booking is necessary by contacting: info@amicidicapodimonte.org

Leave your full names and telephone numbers together with the desired time and date.

Future schedules involve a selection of street artists, Musicapodimonte musical events and Luglio Musicale Napoletano Neapolitan music tributes followed by outdoor Cinema screenings on show during September.
Capodimonte will also host over 30 fantastic events taking part in the latest thirteenth edition of the International Festival of Theatre – NTFI20 Napoli Teatro Festival Italia. This year’s Festival has scheduled over 130 events running from July 1st to July 31st to be held through Naples, Salerno and Santa Maria Capua Vetere. For details visit the website https://napoliteatrofestival.it/. Events will be held at Capodimonte (Courtyard from Porta Piccola entrance and at the Casino and Fagianeria entrance from Porta Miano) and 35 shows at the Royal Palace Palazzo Reale di Napoli (Courtyards and Garden). Each ticket purchased for events taking place throughout both sites will receive a free entrance ticket to visit the site – valid until August 31st 2020.

Sylvain Bellenger also reaffirmed that entrance to the Park Real Bosco will continue to be free of charge. The Park and Museum fully respects all anti-Covid-19 safety measures to ensure the well-being of all visitors including one-way circuits, regulated entrance with limited numbers and reservation online for tickets using https://coopculture.it/.

Contact numbers: 848 800 288 / +39 06 399 67050 (from mobiles and abroad)
Current ticket fees: Standard admission including exhibitions – € 8; ages 18 to
25 yrs – € 2; Under 18’s and Artecard holders – FREE. Tickets are valid for oneday – giving visitors the possibility to enter and exit the museum until closing time.
The Museum is open from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm except Wednesdays.


Santiago Calatrava was highlighted in our last February edition presenting the exhibition Nella Luce di Napoli.
The opening dates have now been extended to next January. The multi-talented Spanish artist (painter, architect, engineer) displays forty years of creativity with more than 400 works including sculptures, designs, ceramics and models of his most-famous architectural projects. Calatrava’s works also include the 2016 Oculus project created for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and situated at the Ground Zero site of New York. He was also assigned the Golden Award by the AIA American Institute of Architects and held an exhibition at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Source ©My Country magazine – July 2020 (page 11)


The exhibition Napoli Napoli. Di lava, porcellana e musica is promoted by the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte in collaboration with Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli and curated by Sylvain Bellenger. This spectacular exhibition is the third act of a trilogy designed to evolve the museum’s Permanent Collection following the exhibitions “Carta Bianca. Capodimonte Imaginaire” and “Depositi di Capodimonte. Storie ancora da scrivere” (fully highlighted by My Country magazine).

The Royal Apartments boast 18 halls of which have become a unique setting and a multi-sensory journey placed in 18thcentury Napoli created by the artist Hubert le Gall. Each hall follows a different theme ranging from sacred music, politics and succession of dynasties, the Grand Tour, ironic wigs and to the art of embroidery and sewing including paintings, musical instruments, furnishings, more than 100 costumes and 500 porcelain artefacts.
Precious porcelains are staged together with intricate costumes taken directly from the dressmaker’s workshop of the theatre Teatro di San Carlo selected by Giusi Giustino.
The exhibition represents those fascinating times when the arts were considered as a celebration and splendour was a cornerstone of the new Bourbon reign.

Source ©My Country magazine – July 2020 (page 11)


JULY 1st to 31st – 13th edition

The International Festival of Theatre NTFI was established back in 2007 and produces shows and events promoting Naples throughout the world. This year’s 13th edition programme involves over 130 events taking place throughout Naples and various regions including Salerno, Caserta, Benevento and Avellino.

NAPOLI Circolo Canottieri Napoli via Molosiglio 1 / MANN – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli Piazza Museo, 19 / Maschio Angioino – Cortile via V. Emanuele III / Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte via Miano, 2 (SEE PAGES 10/11)* Cortile della Reggia (Entrance from Porta Piccola) * Casino della Regina (Entrance from Porta Miano) * Fagianeria (Entrance from Porta Miano) Palazzo Fondi via Medina, 24 / Palazzo Reale piazza del Plebiscito, 1 * Cortile d’onore (Entrance from piazza del Plebiscito) * Cortile delle carrozze (Entrance from piazza Trieste e Trento) * Giardino romantico (Entrance from via San Carlo) Rione De Gasperi via C. De Meis, 120 / Rione Sanità piazzetta San Severo a Capodimonte / Spiaggia delle Monache via Posillipo, 357 (Entrance from Bagno Sirena 357, via Posillipo) Teatro di San Carlo piazza Trieste e Trento

REGIONS Anfiteatro Campano piazza I Ottobre – Santa Maria Capua Vetere (Caserta) Complesso Monumentale di Santa Chiara via Regina Margherita, 3 – Solofra (Avellino) Duomo di Salerno piazza Alifano, 1 (Salerno) Teatro Ghirelli – Cortile viale Antonio Gramsci (Salerno) Teatro Naturale di Pietrelcina locality Pantaniello, Cammino del Rosario (Benevento)

It’s possible to purchase tickets directly from the main ticket office situated in Palazzo Reale. Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm CASA DEL FESTIVAL – PALAZZO REALE 1, PIAZZA DEL PLEBISCITO. Mail to: biglietteria@napoliteatrofestival.it
Ticket Office: +39 344 045 6788 Infopoint +39 344 045 4626 www.napoliteatrofestival.it. Tickets are divided into various categories: International and National tickets, dance section, literature section, music section, observatory section, special projects, sportopera, workshop and young adults section tickets. After Festival Events are scheduled giving access to the gardens of the Royal Palace Palazzo Reale – Purchase on-site € 3. Reduction for holders of Museum tickets (& viceversa) including: Museo Filangieri, Museo del Tesoro di San Gennaro, Castel Sant’Elmo, Museo di Capodimonte, Museo Nazionale Pietrarsa, Complesso Donnaregina e Museo Diocesano, Complesso San Severo al Pendino, Pio Monte della Misercordia.

STANDARD TICKET FEES: Full Standard – € 8 Under 30’s – € 5

Source ©My Country magazine – July 2020 (page 13)


JULY 23rd to 31st

The prestigious theatre Teatro San Carlo has scheduled a series of three fantastic concerts REGIONE LIRICA to be held on-stage in the magnificent Piazza del Plebiscito and transmitted in Eurovision.

July 23rd to July 26th
TOSCA, Giacomo Puccini
three acts directed by Juraj Valcuha
Starring: Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov and Ludovic Tezier
Orchestra/Chorus “Voci Bianche del Teatro di San Carlo

July 28th to July 31st
AIDA, Giuseppe Verdi
directed by Michele Mariotti.
Starring: Anna Pirozzi, Jonas Kaufmann, Anita Rachvelishvili, Claudio Sgura, Roberto Tagliavini
Orchestra/Chorus “Teatro San Carlo

July 30th
IX SINFONIA O p. 125 Corale, Ludwig van Beethoven
directed by Juraj Valcuha
Starring: Maria Agresta, Daniela Barcellona, Antonio Poli, Roberto Tagliavini
Orchestra/ Chorus “Teatro San Carlo

Authorised tickets are a vailable online www.teatrosancarlo.it or www.vivaticket.it (Call centre: 892234) OR Teatro San Carlo Theatre

Ticket Office:
via San Carlo 98/f – Open Mondays to Saturdays from 10 am to 9 pm.
Tel.: +39 081 7972331
Mail: biglietteria@teatrosancarlo.it

Source ©My Country magazine – July 2020 (page 13)


Fondazione William Walton
The enchanted gardens Giardini La Mortella were created by Sir William Walton and Lady Susanna Walton. The original plan was designed around the suggestive volcanic promontory by the renowned British landscape architect Russell Page who worked together with Lady Walton during the 1950’s.
The botanic gardens are situated on the isle of Ischia, Naples boasting 2 hectares of rare plant and flower collections from the Mediterranean and over the world together with trees, ponds, streams, fountains, tropical greenhouses, Nymphaeum and William’s rock.
Sir William Walton was a British composer who arrived to Ischia shortly after marrying Susanna in 1949 when the land was purchased situated in an area known as “Le Mortelle” due to myrtle bushes present throughout volcanic rocks and so giving the name to the property “La Mortella”. Lady Walton worked over 50 years with dedication to create a refuge for William to compose in isolated peace. When William passed away in 1983 she decided to open the grounds to the public by 1991. She formed two foundations in his name – the Fondazione William Walton in Italy and the William Walton Trust in Britain, aiming not only to promote her husband’s love and knowledge of music but also to maintain the beautiful grounds and gardens. To Lady Susanna Walton, La Mortella has proven to be a mission of a lifetime, a monument to the life and works of William and a poignant reminder of the great love they experience together.

The Garden is open to the public from June 16th to October 31st, 2020. Open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 7 pm. Last admission by 6 pm.
At least two hours are recommended for the visit. The garden is also accessible to disabled visitors. Guided Tours for groups are available in Italian and English by appointment only +39 081 990118. All visitors receive a map of the gardens including a suggested itinerary and the main attractions.

Giardini La Mortella – 45, Via Francesco Calise 80075 Forio, Ischia
(NA) phone: +39 081 986220 mail: info@lamortella.org

Source ©My Country magazine – July 2020 / May 2019 (page 14)


The latest Shuttle Bus service with two routes connecting the Vomero area of central Naples to Miseno and the Lucrino Cumana train station to Capo Miseno will be available until August 31st 2020.
EAV already offers different itineraries throughout the Phlegraean area called “Archeobus”.

Departure from Piazza Muzii:
8:00 – 9:00 – 10.00 – 11.00 am

Departure from Miseno:
3:00 – 4:00 – 5:00 – 6:00 pm

ANM Stops: P.zza Muzii – P.zza Arenella – Via Piscicelli – Via Altamura – Via Rossini – Vico Acitillo – Via Gemito – Via Cilea – Via Piave – Viale Traiano – Loggetta – Via Terracina – Tangenziale – Miseno

Daily service hourly from 10:15 am to 7:15 pm
ITINERARY: Miseno – Piscina Mirabilis – Castello di Baia – Baia – Lucrino – Return
One ticket (biglietto unico) will be available from June 27th for return trips valid by bus and train.


Source ©My Country magazine – July 2020 (page 14)


Latest on Covid-19 (Campania, Napoli)

Face Mask Regulations
The Campania region declared the obligatory use of protective face masks starting from April 10th 2020.
Well, after two long months these regulations are easing but regarding outdoor use only. In fact, masks are no longer obligatory (but optional) for outdoor use starting from June 22nd 2020. As for wherever social distancing of at least 1 metre proves impossible and for indoor use – such as public transport, shops, supermarkets etc., use will still be necessary until further notice.
Social distancing is still required. Stay Safe!

The epidemiologist Doc. Angelo D’Argenzio recently commented: “I believe as a technician that it would be preferable to continue to use protective face masks even without obligation, to maintain social distancing and avoid any gatherings. This is an appeal to each personal conscience and the respect for others. It will only be when the Campania region results with zero infections for at least two consecutive weeks that we can start the next phase, but cautiously. Cases are still registering throughout the world and so this situation must be faced until we create an effective vaccine. Our behaviour must change until then as Covid-19 has shown an extremely high contagious index and is fully capable of spreading rapidly. We must continue to be carefully aware“.

The regional president Vincenzo De Luca commented as he presented the latest ordinance: Even though it is no longer mandatory to wear masks on the streets caution will still be necessary however in all closed areas.
This does NOT mean we can “party” every day and that it’s all over… De Luca has in fact gained a great number of fans and social followers during these last few months – thanks to his critical, frequently comical but at the same time clearly annoyed comments duringthe Lockdown stage. De Luca was also frequently portrayed as a Superhero!
The Campania region is currently focusing on smart working and the resumption of normal working activities – obviously in compliance with all anti-Covid safety standards.
Changes are also on the way regarding contact/group sports but as for restrictions regarding the so-called “Movida – By Night” situation, the ordinance will be revised on June 30th.

Milo Manara is an artist that has frequently been highlighted by My Country magazine. His latest works are dedicated to “Lockdown Heroes” to produce charity funding to help hospitals situated in Naples, Milan and Padua. The project consisting of 25 illustrations designed by Manara was created in collaboration with Comicon (Comic Festival) and Feltrinelli Comics.

I cannot say exactly how I started this series of watercolours,” commented Manara, “it was not at all programmed as I simply found myself drawing the first image. I remember the dismay and disbelief of the looming catastrophe that made it impossible to continue my routine work as I just couldn’t concentrate.
It was International Women’s Day – March 8th and I was trying to find an image for the occasion but the emergency news overlapped any inspiration. Doctors and Nurses were facing a virus that they knew nothing of, often without any adequate protection as the wards filled and intensive care facilities proved insufficient. It seemed quite natural after more than fifty years spent celebrating women’s beauty and seduction to also celebrate their other virtues. Together with all health workers many other people continued to work throughout the emergency stages exposing themselves to risk including supermarket cashiers, hospital cleaners, pharmacists and police and military forces amongst others. Giving tribute to women workers at a time like this isn’t just being kind but it means affirming life against death, hope against anguish, beauty against sadness and love against hatred.
Today, we need this even more than ever. I designed them one-by-one to simply thank them… or perhaps even hoping that we will remember them all when this is all over” …

LOCKDOWN HEROES will be on-sale in Bookshops from July 30th and is already available by pre-order.
Lafeltrinelli.it, Ibs.it, shop.comicon.it/milo-manara, Amazon.it, Hoepli.it, Webster.it


Source ©My Country magazine – July 2020 (page 5)