Viva La Pappa Col Pomodoro
Hurray for tomato soup - (Lina Wertmüller-Nino Rota) – Rita Pavone - 1965
The song Viva la pappa col pomodoro was the highlight of the rich sound track that Nino Rota had composed for the television series Il giornalino di Gian Burrasca, directed by Lina Wertmüller for the National Program (the current Rai Uno channel). Eight episodes were aired between 1964 and early 1965. It was adapted from a novel by Vamba (aka Luigi Bertelli) published in 1912 (after it appeared in episodes in the magazine Il Giornalino della Domenica), which rapidly became a children's literature classic.
Rita Pavone was chosen to interpret the restless little boy Giannino Stoppani and gave her best in that challenging role.The cast consisted of popular, Italian television actors and actresses: Bice Valori, Ivo Garrani, Elsa Merlini, Sergio Tofano, Milena Vukotic, Arnoldo Foà and Paolo Ferrari. Rota proved to be perfectly at ease as the composer of the songs (arranged by Luis Bacalov), which counterpointed the unfolding of the story. He was especially skillful in writing Viva la pappa col pomodoro, chosen as the theme song of the series and which told the story of an attempted revolt against the school authorities of the college that Gian Burrasca attended.
For the long instrumental introduction of the song (and also for the long, central solo) Rota requested and was granted that Anton Karas be involved in the recording as a virtuoso of the zither – a sort of table cythara popular in Bavaria and Austria. Karas had become known to the public (and Rota surely had heard and appreciated his performances) as the performer of The Harry Lime Theme, an instrumental composed for the soundtrack to the 1949 film The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed. The unique pairing of Rita Pavone's young voice and effervescent interpretation with the very peculiar timbre of Karas's instrument was fundamental to the extraordinary success of the song, which became extremely popular, and not only with teenagers, for whom it had been undoubtedly written.