Salomone “Moni” Ovadia, who was born in 1946 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, is an Italian actor, dramatist, playwright, composer and singer.
Soon after his birth, his family moved to Milan.
His family is of Jewish descent, steeped for generations in Yiddish and Central European culture, which profoundly influences his work as a man and as an artist seeking constantly to rekindle and re-interpret the artistic, literary, religious and musical heritage of the central European Jews.
Ovadia graduated in Political Science at the University of Milan. While completing his university studies, he embarked on his artistic career as musician and singer.
In 1972 he founded the “Gruppo Folk Internazionale” (“International Folk Group”), which later became the “Ensemble Havadià”.
By 1984 he was working with the “Franco Parenti” Theatre in Milan.
In 1994 he created the Theater Orchestra, and began to work at CRT Artificio in Milan. Since then, his performances have received much praise from the critics and a growing following amongst the viewing public.
Between 2004 and 2008 Ovadia was Artistic Director of the prestigious “Mittelfest” in Cividale del Friuli.
In 1996, he was awarded the special UBU Prize for experimentation in theatre and music. But this was just the first of a long series of awards, including the Franco Enriquez Prize for civil commitment, the Govi Award from the city of Genoa, the De Sica Prize for theatre and, most recently, the prestigious Musatti Award in 2010.
On Italy’s Radio 2, Ovadia hosted “Note Spettinate” (“Ruffled Notes”) in 1994, which he co-authored with Mara Cantoni, and “Uomini e Profeti” (“Men and Prophets”), a broadcast discussing spirituality on Radio 3. In the cinema, he worked with Nanni Moretti in “Caro Diario” (“Dear Diary”) and with Mario Monicelli in “Facciamo Paradiso” (“Let’s Make Heaven”).
In the autumn of 2005, Ovadia was awarded an honorary degree in Literature by the University of Pavia, and a second honorary degree in Communication Sciences by the University for Overseas Students in Siena.
His books include L’ebreo che ride (“The Jew who Laughed”) (Einaudi, 1998), Contro l’idolatria (“Against Idolatry”) (Einaudi, 2005), Lavoratori di tutto il mondo ridete (“Workers of the World, Laugh”) (Einaudi, 2007), Il conto dell’ultima cena (“The Bill for the Last Supper”) (Einaudi, 2010).